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Beijing bun shop gets China's president as diner

By Associated Press

POSTED:
LAST UPDATED: 05:35 a.m. HST, Dec 29, 2013


BEIJING >> Chinese President Xi Jinping dropped in unexpectedly at a traditional Beijing bun shop, where he queued up, ordered and paid for a simple lunch of buns stuffed with pork and onions, green vegetables, and stewed pig livers and intestines.

Such visits are extremely rare -- if not unheard of -- for top Chinese leaders, who are usually surrounded by heavy security and are not known for mingling with the public other than at scheduled events.

After spotting Xi on Saturday, fellow diners took photos of the president and shared them on China's social media. State media reposted the photos on their microblog accounts, and the official Xinhua News Agency reported about Xi's lunch on its Chinese-language news site.

"Had it not been for the photos, it would be incredulous to believe Xi, as a dignified president and party chief, should eat at a bun shop," author Wu Xiqi wrote in an editorial carried by the ruling Communist Party's official news site. "Xi's act has subverted the traditional image of Chinese officials, ushering a warm, people-first gust of wind that is very touching indeed."

On Sunday, the store welcomed long lines of Chinese, some posing for photos in the room where Xi was and others wanting to order what he had bought. A group from southern Guangdong province who were visiting Beijing had gone to have a look after hearing about Xi's visit online.

The manager of the Qing-Feng Steamed Dumpling Shop, who gave only her family name, He, said that Xi and a small entourage arrived at the no-frills eatery in western Beijing at around noon Saturday without prior notification. She said that Xi paid 21 yuan ($3.40) for his lunch.

"There was no special security measure during his stay," the manager said. "Customers could freely enter and leave the restaurant, and many took photos with him."

In one photo, a chef posed with Xi, who continued eating his meal as the picture was taken.

Installed as China's president in March, Xi has sought to portray himself as being in touch with regular people, but has done so with scheduled visits to factories and homes.

In April, a Hong Kong newspaper reported that Xi had taken a cab ride in Beijing -- also highly unusual for a top leader -- but the excitement soon dissipated when state media denied the report.

Though a socialist country in name, China has a deep-rooted hierarchal system that accords privileges to one's official ranking. In recent years, members of the Chinese public have applauded Western leaders for their regular-person style to vent their disapproval of Chinese officials' aloofness.

Some commentators have noted that Xi's team has been savvy in building his image.







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false wrote:
Next Stop Zippy's, Obama !!!
on December 28,2013 | 10:34PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Yup, only local fare shops Obama goes to are shaved ice and pancake places, otherwise it's places like Alan Wong's. Wow, think of the traffic tie-up if he does Roy's in Hawaii Kai!!!! In that conservative stronghold (Sam Slom's) realm, he would be soundly booed. Probably why he hasn't gone there.
on December 29,2013 | 06:31AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Obama would feel more comfortable at Denny's, I think.
on December 29,2013 | 06:54AM
mitt_grund wrote:
Xi Jinping does kind of break the mold of the last few generations of CCP leaders. But then again he also married one of China's most popular singers. Would be like Obama marrying Beyoncé.

Understand his daughter Xi Mingze, age 20, attends Ivy League Harvard University under a pseudonym. Shouldn't be too hard to find her. She'll probably be the one with the entourage of Chinese security guards keeping a discreet distance, a la the Obama sisters.


on December 29,2013 | 06:48AM
Sandybeach wrote:
A manapua break is always in order. Pick up a box on the way to the office in the morning. Ono...man that's living large. Coworkers will love you. Fast food, Chinese style. A box of malasadas works too. Treat a friend to a dim sum lunch.
on December 29,2013 | 07:49AM
nitpikker wrote:
give me a break! he's probably trying to ride the coat-tails of pope francis. trying to be more people-oriented and show a humbler side. BUT! one or two escapades may be news in china but won't change his image to the western world.
on December 29,2013 | 07:57AM
false wrote:
Hey, if bozo Obama can pick up a shave ice at Matsumoto's, why not Xi getting dumplings at some country shop?
on December 29,2013 | 01:34PM
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