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Queen calls for unity in Christmas message

2018-12-26

Source: China Daily    Published: 2018-12-26


In her annual Christmas message, Queen Elizabeth II appealed for people to show more respect to those with opposing views.


The queen, who has been on the throne for 66 years, did not specifically mention "Brexit", but it was implied.


The UK monarch has been historically neutral on politics in her country, but with just three months to go before Britain is due to leave the European Union, there are deep political divisions.


"Even with the most deeply held differences, treating the other person with respect and as a fellow human being is always a good first step toward greater understanding," the 92-year-old queen said in her annual Christmas message, adding that peace on earth and goodwill to all is needed as much as ever.


Wang Peng, an associate research fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China, said that the queen is the symbol of national unity. With the UK facing increasing political divisions and turbulence, her message will give positive influence, even if it won't substantively make changes to the current situation.


Limited impact


Tian Dewen, a researcher of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that the monarch is just a symbol of the country, and what she said would have limited impact on the country's domestic issues.


The queen's address came after a stormy month in which UK Prime Minister Theresa May barely survived a leadership challenge attempt staged by her conservative party's hard-liners.


May's entire Brexit strategy is also in danger. She postponed a parliament vote on the deal to avert obvious defeat. It has been rescheduled for the week of Jan 14, but opposition remains strong across the political spectrum.


British lawmakers headed off for a holiday break on Dec 20 with visions of Brexit dancing in their heads-and a big decision to make. Parliament closed for a 17-day Christmas recess, without deciding whether to approve the government's EU divorce deal.


Wang Peng is an associate research fellow of the Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.

Key Words: Britain's queen   annual Christmas message   political divison   Wang Peng  

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