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  • Dec 26, 2014
  • Updated: 7:16pm
Xi Jinping

President Xi buys meal at Beijing bun shop

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 5:04am
UPDATED : Sunday, 29 December, 2013, 6:39am

Xi Jinping's campaign to keep the Communist Party in touch with the people saw the president himself standing in a restaurant queue to buy pork buns yesterday.

A supposedly impromptu visit to the Beijing branch of the Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop chain saw Xi standing in line to order his own 21 yuan (HK$26.60) meal of six steamed pork buns, a cold vegetable dish and a bowl of pig-liver-and-intestines soup - all traditional northern dishes - and pay for them out of his own pocket, according to a report in The Beijing News.

The appearance seemed to some commentators to be straight out of the public relations playbook of visiting Western officials, who often attract public attention to themselves by dining at casual eateries.

Some commentators on Sina Weibo compared it to the ancient emperors' practice of venturing undercover beyond the Forbidden City.

Others cast doubt on the event's spontaneity.

"This must be a show and all the diners actors and actresses," one internet user said, commenting on pictures posted on the internet that quickly went viral - with an added boost from state news agency Xinhua, party mouthpiece the People's Daily and other state media outlets.

Such spontaneous visits by top party officials are rare but not unheard of. Former premier Wen Jiabao , for instance, shared dumplings with coal miners ahead of the Lunar New Year in 2005.

Xi has been determined to portray himself as a man of the people since taking office.

"Xi is trying to bridge the gulf between the much- maligned Communist Party cadres and the masses," said Zhang Lifan , a Beijing-based historian.

In June, Xi launched a year-long "mass line" campaign - party jargon coined by late leader Mao Zedong to describe the need for the party to stay in touch with the people.


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This article is now closed to comments

I just want to say you are not happy, because you always put anything as a negative thing.----I want tell you-------->Distance yourself from negative people.
Not only him. His wife went to a concert in memory of her late mentor. She did not use the VIP passage, and queue up to go inside.
At least this is good PR. Not many leaders or their spouses will not use their privilege.
A cynic might say, that the president's entourage may already be large enough to fill most of the restaurant. Any visit would be preceded by a thorough audit of the kitchen and a security detail cordoning off the area.
If he should be for real, then he would probably only have two bodyguards, an assistant to pre-taste all dishes for undesireable ingredients and a photographer with him.
The former is more likely than the latter. After all, this is China.
Last time I went to a bun shop, I paid for the buns myself, carried my wallet myself and picked up the buns with my two hands too, just because he is someone in power, doesn't mean he is then incapable of doing mundane things.
Singaporean leaders have been doing these kind of stunts for years. They are called "wayang" in local parlance. Instead of making such shows, he should be transparent about his financial accounts and allow the New York Times and Bloomberg to freely report on it!
There is a little doubt, that is since the Xi's ruling, China has a great change in anti-corruption and the livelihood of the people.I support Xi Jinping.
I strongly suggests Mr. Xi jumps on a bike in Beijing to show the importance of biking and to experiment all the obstacles he will face on his trip. Of course all totally unlikely for dozens of reasons. One is, it is a loss of face for a Chinese to be on a bike (I am told this every day by Chinese friends who cannot understand how I dare to arrive at a meeting or 5-star hotel on a bike). Other is, the police would exceptionally DO something to put order in traffic, well in advance, on his route. Too dangerous otherwise for a president. If you want to see it done by "leaders", you need to go to Denmark or some other Western cities. One can only dream.
Trying desperately to appear as "one of the masses" by stealing a move from the Gary Locke playbook.
Probably a body double anyway as no CCP "leader" in his right mind would dare eat what the peasants eat when he has an entire pure, organic farm at his disposal in Zhongnanhai...
Ulf Timmermann
Cynicism is the last refuge of a scoundrel
Is this for show? Or real? How can we read their mind? Has he a really Good Pure Heart? Or a Good Camouflage of the human heart? The time will let us see the TRUE... just waiting...
I hope he is a pure heart to doing this way, it's give our good hope in the future ... China...
A Good Sample... for his own citizen/ nation... well done...
Freedom of speech ...
he is a sad and pathetic person. he is bitter about almost anything.
I do however agree with you.
Even after less than one year in office? I guess you have no choice but to hope for the best...


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