Boris Johnson visited China last week in a campaign to promote London and entice over a few more Chinese students. With his customary extemporaneous, Boris tempted Chinese audiences with Harry Potter and London’s ‘Communist’ bike scheme. Never one to go under-the-top, he pitched London as an “incredibly diverse, cosmopolitan, multi-cultural, polychromatic, polymorphous city”.
Johnson also joked about the times he and George Osborne has sung songs after banquets, in an apparent reference to their days as members of the infamous Oxford University Bullingdon Club. The Chancellor is also visiting China this week as part of a trade mission with other Government ministers.
At the mayor’s headquarters, Johnson asked Wang, “Obviously I’m delighted to hear that you were at Oxford. Did you enjoy your time at Oxford?”
To which Wang replied, “It was a very pleasant time for me and I learned a lot. Every night we would have a banquet session and at the end we would all sing songs. It was a very happy time.”
Johnson then told Wang, “We used to do that. The Chancellor and I used to do that too.”
A second year PPEist was unimpressed by Johnson’s reference to his time in Oxford, telling Cherwell, “If that’s something he decided to bring up with the Mayor of Beijing I’m not too impressed. Why couldn’t he have just talked about the Olympics, without yet again referencing his alma mater?
The London Mayor did not just discuss Oxford, however. At Peking University, students were treated to a Harry Potter pitch, when Johnson said, “Who was Harry Potter’s first girlfriend? Who is the first person he kisses? That’s right, Cho Chang, who is a Chinese overseas student at Hogwarts school. Ladies and gents I rest my case.”
Maxim Stolyarov, an OUCA member from Hertford, said, “Mr Johnson is one of the most popular leaders in the Conservative Party. He is doing great job in cheerleading for London.”
Yet Megan Eldridge, a Geography student, was altogether less fulsome in her praise. “He’s not a genuine person. He uses his whole persona to make him seem less threatening, when in actual fact he is very manipulative.”
Josh Butler, a Classics student at Regent’s Park, plumped for another Boris trademark, saying, “Boris Johnson? He has great hair. I’m really jealous of his hair.”