Xi thrills crowds in surprise outing

Comment on this story
IOL pic feb25 china file Xi Jinping Reuters Chinese President Xi Jinping. File picture: Reuters

Beijing - Chinese President Xi Jinping shocked locals by visiting courtyard homes and chatting with pedestrians near a popular shopping street on Tuesday, drawing praise from social media users for his unusual public diplomacy.

Unscripted interactions between politicians and the public are uncommon in a country where even leaders' birthdays or family backgrounds are often closely held secrets.

A shaky video of Xi's visit posted online shows locals applauding him as he nears. He then stops to ask residents how long they've lived in the neighbourhood before ambling away.

Photos posted online by Chinese media show Xi mobbed by people holding cameras and cellphones as he stands in a narrow alley grinning.

The central Beijing shopping street, frequented by young Chinese and tourists alike, is lined with stands selling popular street snacks like octopus balls and red bean cakes, as well as clothing and souvenir stores.

Xi's few forays into ordinary public settings have attracted widespread praise from the Chinese public.

Xi shocked patrons of a steamed bun eatery in December when he paid for his own food, carried his own tray and happily chatted with customers.

Choking smog has been at a high for the past few days in Beijing, and many netizens expressed approval that the president was exposing himself to the same toxic air as everyone else without even donning a mask.

“The Party must always join hands with the people,” one user wrote in a widely shared posting. “Breathe the same air and share the same fate.” - Reuters

sign up

Comment Guidelines

  1. Please read our comment guidelines.
  2. Login and register, if you haven’ t already.
  3. Write your comment in the block below and click (Post As)
  4. Has a comment offended you? Hover your mouse over the comment and wait until a small triangle appears on the right-hand side. Click triangle () and select "Flag as inappropriate". Our moderators will take action if need be.

  5. Verified email addresses: All users on Independent Media news sites are now required to have a verified email address before being allowed to comment on articles. You are only required to verify your email address once to have full access to commenting on articles. For more information please read our comment guidelines