May to give Chinese president gift with environmental message


Theresa May is to present Chinese President Xi Jinping with a box-set of the BBC's blockbuster documentary series Blue Planet II with a personal message from the show's presenter Sir David Attenborough.

Blue Planet II was a massive hit in China, with at least 80 million viewers believed to have tuned in to its remarkable scenes of natural wonders beneath the waves.

So many Chinese fans streamed the programmes online that it was reported to have slowed down the internet across the country.

Blue Planet II
Sir David Attenborough's Blue Planet II was watched by tens of millions in China (Lisa Labinjoh/Joe Platko/BBC)

It is not known what Sir David said in his written message to the Chinese president.

But he used the series to deliver an impassioned plea for action to stop the poisoning of the oceans.

In 2015 we introduced the 5p charge on plastic carrier bags, we now see 9bn fewer bags being used. It's making a real difference. We want to do the same with single use plastics. Nobody who watched #BluePlanet2 will doubt the need for us to do something - and we will. #Marr

-- Theresa May (@theresa_may) January 7, 2018

And his programmes were cited by Mrs May as she unveiled a 25-year environment plan including measures to tackle the scourge of plastic pollution.

On the first day of her visit to China, the Prime Minister visited the banks of the Yangtze River in the city of Wuhan to discuss an environmental project removing vast numbers of tiny fragments of plastic from the water.

Prime Minister Theresa May looks out over the Yangtze River in the Chinese city of Wuhan during her China tour (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Prime Minister Theresa May looks out over the Yangtze River in the Chinese city of Wuhan (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

And the environment is set to be on the agenda for her talks with Mr Xi in Beijing on Thursday.