Charles launches legal action over China journal

BRITAIN’S Prince Charles last night launched a legal action over the publication of extracts from a private journal in which he branded Chinese diplomats “appalling old waxworks”.

In a rare move by a member of the British Royal Family, he is suing Associated Newspapers, owners of the Mail on Sunday, for breach of copyright and confidence.

The journal - entitled The Handover of Hong Kong, or The Great Chinese Takeaway - contained the prince’s views on the 1997 transfer of Hong Kong to the Chinese.

Charles’s top aide, Michael Peat, said the breach had been made clear to the newspaper.

“This is a matter of principle. Like anybody else, the Prince of Wales is entitled to write a private journal without extracts being published,” he said.

“This journal was copied and passed to the Mail on Sunday without permission.

“We have made this clear to the Mail on Sunday on five occasions, both orally and in writing.

“Nevertheless, the Mail on Sunday proceeded to publish these extracts despite the knowledge that it was a breach of the Prince of Wales’s copyright and confidence.”

As well as describing a group of Chinese at a ceremony with then-president Jiang Zemin as “appalling old waxworks”, the journal said one display was an “awful Soviet-style” performance, with “goose-stepping” soldiers carrying out a “ridiculous rigmarole”.

The Mail on Sunday said the public had a right to know his views on “matters of great public interest”.

A spokesman said in a statement: “This was not a private journal.

“It was widely distributed and viewed, as Clarence House confirmed to us, as a historic document intended for eventual publication.”

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