Hop o' My Thumb

Last week China's president Hu Jintao visited Croatia. It was only for 24 hours, but Croats were understandably proud. A man who represents a nation of 1,3 billion people takes the time to come to a country with a population that's smaller than Jinan, China's 15th largest city. Hu Jintao spoke friendly words to his Croatian colleague Mesić: "Croatia is China's biggest trading partner in South Eastern Europe". Partner is a peculiar word in this, as Croatia imports 53 times more from China than China imports from Croatia. Damn it! If only those Chinese would like Cedevita or Napolitanke... Croatia would experience an incredible economic boom.
Mesić apparently didn't have the Chinese much to offer. He invited them to invest in Pleso airport and Ploče harbour, both equally moribund, desolate and unwelcoming to visitors or cargo. I think efforts to attract more Chinese tourists to Croatia are smarter. Of the 12 million Chinese that visit Europe per year only 6.000 come to Croatia, 0,05 percent. That is not much.
It was interesting to see how this visit is different from Hu Jintao's visits to Western European countries. In Croatia not a word was said about Tibet, the Dalai Lama or human rights in general. Instead, Taiwanese were classified as "separatists". Unusual language if you know that Croatia separated itself from Yugoslavia (with justification, I must add) and recognized Kosovo as an independent country. (I see know that Firefox doesn't know Kosovo yet. It wants me to choose between Kosher, Kossuth, Oxford, Kosygin and Kovacs. Obviously a pro-Hungarian spell checker.)
The minimalism of Croatian-Chinese relations was aptly summarized by the Chinese ambassador to Croatia, when he spoke the already legendary words: "The relation between China and Croatia is an example of a relation between a big and a small country".

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