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Sucking up to Chinese is just wrong

All hail our new alien overlords! Okay, that may be a tad far-fetched but the plans for the new China trade hub outside Athlone put me in mind of something you'd see illustrating a pulp sci-fi novel from the 1950s.

Vast exhibition halls covering an area greater than the Liffey Valley and Blanchardstown shopping complexes combined and all topped off with a 'China Tower' which soars 90m taller than the Spire? Sure why not add in a launch facility for spacecraft and disguise the whole thing as a volcano while you're at it.

Call me cynical but the chances of such an elaborate scheme ever being built are, I'd wager, about as likely as the Chinese government embracing democracy and adopting the proportional representation system while they're at it. There seems to be something about the midlands which inspires such flights of fancy. Remember the plans to set up a Las Vegas-style theme park in Tipperary?

However, apart from the fantasy convention centre in Westmeath, the way this country seems intent on sucking up to China is quite alarming. Okay, so they're the coming world superpower and could probably close down America if they called in all their debts but nobody does obsequious subservience quite like Paddy and we're building up a really good grovel on this one.



vile

Inviting the country's deputy leader here and failing to mention the unpleasantness regarding, oh, democracy, human rights abuses, the backing of vile regimes in Africa and the Middle East and the lack of personal freedoms we take for granted was one thing.

But then we had Enda Kenny swanning off there, tugging his forelock and asking if there was e'er a chance of a few aul jobs boss. Demeaning doesn't come into it.

If you were a conspiracy theorist you might think that the Chinese see pliable, gullible Ireland as an ideal base to expand into Europe as part of their plan for global domination.

This week it also emerged that several Irish schools are to include classes in Mandarin as part of transition year studies.

Best of luck with that, given that most Irish teenagers can barely master reading, writing and speaking basic English such has been the pernicious influence of text-speak in the past decade.

Not that they'd have to worry about using Mandarin on text, Twitter or Facebook mind, as the Chinese government won't permit such potentially disruptive social media to operate in their country.

Ah yes, such nice people to be licking up to after our relationship with Europe has soured. When will we ever learn?

- GEORGE BYRNE


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