UK diplomat who saved Chinese woman given traditional banner

Helen Davidson in Taipei
·1-min read
<span>Photograph: British Consulate In Chongqing/Reuters</span>
Photograph: British Consulate In Chongqing/Reuters

A British diplomat who rescued a Chinese woman from a river earlier this month has been presented with a red velvet banner as a way of thanks.

Stephen Ellison, the consul-general in Chongqing, was hailed as a hero after footage went viral of him jumping into a river to save a 24-year-old university student. The woman had slipped on rocks and fallen in, and video shot by bystanders showed her struggling in the water before passing under a bridge and emerging facedown.

Ellison removed his shoes and jumped in to retrieve her. He was thrown a lifering, which he used to drag him and the student to the river’s edge.

Ellison was presented with a jinqi, a crimson velvet banner with gold tassles traditionally given in gratitude. It bore the words “jumping into the water to save people, righteous and courageous”.

“This is the first banner I have ever received in my life, it is of great significance to me,” Ellison said in a post on the consulate’s social media account on Friday.

He later said the Chongqing University student, who is from Wuhan, was shaken by the experience and recovered slowly, but was extremely grateful and had invited him to dinner with her family.