Beijing on Tuesday praised a British diplomat who was filmed diving into a river in southern China to rescue a drowning student, a rare warm human rights moment between two countries.
The British mission in the southwestern city of Chongqing announced Monday that Consul General Stephen Ellison took action over the weekend to rescue a woman who fell into a river that runs through a nearby tourist town.
The video on Chinese social media, viewed more than 170 million times in China, shows Ellison taking off his shoes and jumping in to rescue the woman who was floating face down.
“I think he should be commended for his bravery. I want to give him a big thumbs up,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a routine meeting on Tuesday.
We are all very proud of our Chongqing Consul General Stephen Ellison, who plunged into a river on Saturday to rescue a drowning student and get her to safety. pic.twitter.com/OOgXqsK5oe
– Great Britain in China ???????? (@ukinchina) November 16, 2020
Ellison’s actions were also praised by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who tweeted: “His bravery and commitment show the best of British diplomats around the world.”
The 61-year-old former engineer was recently appointed to the role of the southern metropolis after years of service in the main embassy in Beijing and is an accomplished triathlete according to local media reports.
The praise comes at a time of mounting tension in UK-China relations, as the UK has frequently criticized China for its human rights record on issues such as Hong Kong and Xinjiang, and banned Huawei from its domestic 5G networks.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)