[DEBATE] : Blair says nothing, makes £237,000 for speech in China; average production worker earns £1,214 per year
tintinyana at gmail.com
Thu Nov 8 17:38:34 GMT 2007
*Chinese press pans 'money-raking' Blair*
*Haroon Siddique and agencies*
*Thursday November 8, 2007*
Tony Blair has been panned by the Chinese media after he was allegedly paid
$500,000 (£237,000) for a speech that revealed "nothing new".
The British former prime minister made a three-hour trip to a luxury housing
estate in China's southern province of Guangdong, during which he delivered
a speech that left newspaper commentators far fom impressed.
The China Youth daily, which is affiliated to the Communist party's youth
league, said Mr Blair was forthcoming with pleasantries and clichés without
offering any insight.
"Like reports made by some local officials, there was nothing new in his
views ... so was the speech worth the large sums of money paid out by local
officials and businesses?" it questioned.
The paper said China was quickly becoming a "gold-digging" market for
international celebrities, and said it was time to be more discerning.
"We should exercise less ostentatiousness and vanity ... [and] learn more
new and genuine knowledge - especially when we are using even a penny of
taxpayers' money," it said.
A 2005 survey found the average salary of a production worker in China was
The criticism came after Mr Blair reportedly earned £300,000 in his first
week of a North American speaking tour last month, during which he
apparently recycled the same jokes on a number of occasions.
The sponsor of Mr Blair's China trip, the Guangda real estate group, offered
him a house worth 38m yuan (£2.4m), according to the Guangzhou Daily.
The newspaper did not say whether he accepted the property, but described Mr
Blair's visit to Dongguan as another of his "money-raking" trips that had
also taken him to Beijing and Hong Kong.
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