Sino-United States political relations may be at a new low but there are always back-door avenues to maintain friendly relations whether for business or diplomatic schmoozing. A case in point was Saturday night at the Conrad hotel. With a ballroom full of high-powered movers and shakers, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, an arm of the Smithsonian Institute, bestowed its award for public service and good corporate citizenship on Chief Justice Andrew Li Kwok-nang (left) and Li & Fung chairman Victor Fung Kwok-king (right). This is the first time the honour has been given out through its Kissinger Institute on China and the United States. It all sounds very prestigious although, really, is it anything more than just back-patting for the elite in an already exclusive crowd? Hopewell Holdings' Sir Gordon Wu Ying-sheung (second left) hosted the affair. Former US ambassador to China and now director of the Kisisnger Institute, Stapleton Roy (middle), flew in for the occasion. Former chief executive Tung Chee-hwa (second right), Hang Lung Properties chairman Ronnie Chan Chi-chung and former secretary for justice Elsie Leung Oi-sie were also guests. A big downer though was the absence of guest speaker and former US secretary of state Henry Kissinger who had been admitted to hospital in South Korea.