David Cameron denied any "moral superiority" in his dealings with China and then proceeded to lecture Beijing on learning from Britain's way of doing things.
"Free trade is in our DNA," he proclaimed proudly as if China's leaders would be unaware of Britain's history.
Victorian Britain adopted free trade when it was the workshop of the world, railing against import barriers that prevented it from overwhelming fledgling industries in other countries.
However, free trade had its limits too, such as when Britain banned cotton manufactures from India and flooded the Indian market with British-produced goods.
Free trade was the slogan that justified the opium wars - how dare China raise the health and welfare of its citizens as a reason to prevent its import from colonial India?
The opium wars have not been forgotten by China any more than the country's domination and humiliation at the hands of the colonial powers have been.
Remember that Hong Kong was only returned to Chinese sovereignty in July 1997 after a century under British colonial control.
Democracy was non-existent under colonial rule and yet it became the battle cry of British politicians even before the ink dried on the transfer of sovereignty document.
Britain's ruling class - landowners, industrialists and financiers - has never initiated any political reform at home.
Every single right that we have - and their scope must never be underestimated - was won through bitter struggle in the teeth of determined opposition by those who saw themselves as our legitimate masters.
And reform is not a one-way street. The past 40 years have seen a succession of parliamentary attempts to whittle away trade union freedoms and, more recently, limitations on other civil rights.
Yet Cameron had the gall to cite Britain's parliamentary system as worthy of emulation, referring to the knockabout bear garden of Prime Minister's questions as a form of scrutiny that forces leaders to listen to criticism and adapt their policies in response.
After the backstairs stitch-up that brought about the current governing coalition, pushing through policies that neither constituent party advocated in its general election manifesto, a little modesty might have been preferable.
The Prime Minister could have stepped aside and invited Business Secretary Vince Cable to explain to Chinese students how to finance university education.
British students voted for Cable's Liberal Democrats in great numbers in May in response to their pledge to oppose any rise in tuition fees.
They are now voting to double them or, "in exceptional circumstances, to treble them."
Given the scale of this deceit, will the coalition press ahead with its proposal to allow dishonest MPs to be recalled on the basis of a petition signed by 10 per cent of their constituents?
The Morning Star does not believe that Liu Xiaobo should be in jail for "inciting subversion of state power." Equally, it sees the decision of Norwegian political nominees to give him the Nobel peace prize as transparent in its intentions.
It is an attempt to set a global human rights hierarchy, with the US and its European allies at the top, lecturing the world while turning a blind eye to their own failings and those of their allies.
China is not alone in rejecting the bias and unjustified superiority of western powers, including Britain.
Building a new international order requires an end to old colonialist attitudes, especially hypocrisy.
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