A 61-year-old British diplomat has become something of a hero in China after diving into a river to save a drowning student while local Chinese looked on.
The woman had been left flailing in the water for some time before her rescue by Stephen Ellison, the British consul-general in Chongqing, or Chungking, a vast megalopolis of over 30 million people in China’s south-west, according to the South China Morning Post.
“Look, it’s this foreigner who jumped into the river,” bystanders can be heard saying in the video footage of the rescue.
“So many young people were around and they didn’t.”
Ellison had wasted no time in going to help the woman, leaping into the water fully clothed with his watch and mobile phone still on him, and the British mission extended his thanks to the people who helped him after he intervened, throwing in a lifebuoy after him and assisting him once he was back on dry land.
“When Ellison went ashore, people took good care of him,” the mission said in a statement posted to Weibo.
“They brought him hot coffee to warm him up, and gave him clothes to change into. He really appreciates it.”
Very proud of Stephen Ellison, our new Consul General in Chongqing, China, for saving a student from drowning at the weekend. His bravery and commitment demonstrates the very best of British diplomats around the world. https://t.co/UOKkWl1Sil
— Dominic Raab (@DominicRaab) November 16, 2020
Ellison’s heroics notwithstanding, Sino-British relations have become somewhat strained in recent months as it became clear that Beijing had been peddling disinformation on the Wuhan virus and the regime cracked down on democracy and civil liberties in the former British crown colony of Hong Kong.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson had, as Mayor of London, been an enthusiastic proponent of David Cameron’s policy of attempting to curry favour with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), taken up with alacrity by his successor Theresa May and initially by Johnson himself as premier — causing a rift with the United States, Australia, and other allies when he appeared determined to involve Chinese tech giant Huawei in Britain’s 5G infrastructure.
The Johnson administration now appears to be taking a more realist stance towards the communist power, and new MI5 intelligence chief Ken McCallum recently identified it as the major long-term threat facing Britain in his first public address.
“Russian intelligence services [are] providing bursts of bad weather while China is changing the climate,” he warned.
Communist China swoons for China Joe! https://t.co/TKgYLOnsdF
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) November 7, 2020