Mickey and music headline LA itinerary

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 April, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 April, 1999, 12:00am

Half an hour with Mr Mickey Mouse Inc and excerpts from the revolutionary opera The Red Lantern were to be the highlights of Premier Zhu's first day in the United States.

The Chinese Consulate in Los Angeles said Mr Zhu would spend his first morning meeting Californian leaders, including Governor Gray Davis and city Mayor Richard Riordan.

Both would call at the Premier's suite on the 30th floor of the exclusive Century Plaza Hotel, which used to be one of the favourite haunts of former president Ronald Reagan.

This would be followed by a reception and luncheon with the city's political and business elite.

In the afternoon, Mr Zhu was scheduled to spend 30 minutes each with Walt Disney chief executive Michael Eisner; socialite and old friend of China Caroline Ahmanson; and Chinese entrepreneur Yang Yuqiu, a senior executive with a company specialising in bridges.

A source close to the Zhu party said the Premier would express appreciation for Disney's interest in building a theme park in China.

But he would not touch on the relative merits of Hong Kong and Shanghai for being the site of China's first Disneyland.

The evening would be spent with representatives of the Chinese community at a lavish banquet at the Universal Hilton Hotel.

A local music troupe would perform Chinese and Western music, including Beijing opera, Mr Zhu's favourite.

Among pieces to be featured would be The Red Lantern, first made popular during the Cultural Revolution.

Local police said no large-scale protests were expected during Mr Zhu's brief stay in Los Angeles.

Security arrangements at his hotel remained normal yesterday, with no signs of any extra deployment of security guards.

But Chinese newspapers in Los Angeles said a pro-Taiwan independence group might stage protests outside the hotel.