The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, just made his first official visit to Denmark. (The last time he was here, was during the huge conference on global opvarmning, ’global warming’, which was hosted in Copenhagen, December 2009.)
Greeted by dronning Margrethe (Queen Margrethe II) at the airport, Hu and his enormous retinue (including several Chinese minsters) arrived Friday, and left Denmark again yesterday, headed for a meeting in Mexico.
Danish journalists have been busy pressing camera buttons the last couple of days, as reports on Hu’s visit made it to the front page of most aviser [aVEEsor] (newspapers), and got prominent coverage in fjernsynet [FYANseehneth] (’the’ tv). In a time of financial crisis in Europe (and North America and Japan?), China is increasingly seen as the market that is going to save Denmark’s økonomi [uh-kon-oh-MEE]. Before the crisis, Danish politicians usually critized China for their handling of human rights and minorities (Tibetans and Muslims). This time around, most of the talk was about samarbejde [SAMar-bye-deh], ’cooperation’. The Danes want Chinese investments, while the Chinese want the Danes to teach them how to make ”green technology” such as vindmøller (windmills).
Kina [KEE-na] (China) has fascinated Danes for centuries. The great Danish master of eventyr (fairy stories), the 19th century H.C. Andersen, created a kind of imaginary China for his story ”Nattergalen” (The Nigthingale): A land with a noble kejser (emperor) and a lot of delicate art and beautiful gardens. It’s fun to find out that Andersen is what most Chinese associate with Denmark! Essentially, we still have this idea of China as a fairytale country, and at the same time, the Chinese think of Denmark as a fairytale country…
So, besides signing business agreements worth billions of Danish kroner, and launching a Chinese cultural institute, Hu also took his time to visit the one attraction that just may have been the real reason he chose to fly all the way to the tiny kingdom of Denmark: The statue of H.C. Andersen’s Den lille havfrue (The Little Mermaid) in Copenhagen.