With landmark UK embassy planned for East London, China rides the river of history full circle

The new diplomatic mission will occupy the former Royal Mint, near the site of London’s original Chinatown by the Thames

Beijing announced on May 18 it was leaving its premises in Portland Place in the West End after 150 years and moving its diplomatic representation to the iconic former Royal Mint.

Situated in front of the Tower of London, on the teeming crossroad to Tower Bridge over the River Thames, the huge palace – built in 1810 – and its surrounding offices have remained empty since the last gold sovereign was struck there in 1975.

“I am confident that after the renovation, the new premises of the Chinese Embassy will become a new landmark in London and a new face of China in the new era,” said Ambassador Liu Xiaoming when the move was announced.

At the moment there is not much to see. The buildings are hidden behind a six-metre wall and hoarding with a pair of huge red lips announcing a new shopping centre on the 2.2-hectare site.


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