Date
22 August 2017
Welcome to the club: Argentina's Vice President Amado Boudou presents President Xi Jinping with a soccer jersey. Photo:AFP
Welcome to the club: Argentina's Vice President Amado Boudou presents President Xi Jinping with a soccer jersey. Photo:AFP

Look who comes bearing gifts

You’re looking for the perfect gift, something that says who you are and where you’re going as the world’s second-biggest economy. Sure, the silk tapestries with embroidered kittens were a hit in the past but there must be something else in the diplomatic goodie bag short of a mating pair of giant pandas.

That was no doubt the problem confronting organizers of President Xi Jinping’s trip to Argentina last weekend.

China has been working on a charm offensive, aiming, in Xi’s words, to promote China as a “civilized country featuring rich history, ethnic unity and cultural diversity, and as an oriental power with good government, developed economy, cultural prosperity, national unity and beautiful mountains and rivers”.

That’s a lot to say in one gift so what to give that wraps it all up? 

For its part, Argentina went with a national soccer jersey with Xi’s name on it. That one ticked a few boxes — it’s personal, it’s practical and it doesn’t take up much room in the suitcase.

In the end, China plumped for some DVDs, the first time something so “high-tech” had been chosen for such a starring state role, according to China Daily.

On a trip to Argentina’s Congress, Xi presented Vice President Amado Boudou with copies of Zhao Baogang’s TV series Beijing Youth and To Elderly With Love and 2011′s low-budget domestic hit film Love Is Not Blind by Teng Huatao.

The Hollywood Reporter says Beijing Youth “tells the story of four young cousins and their complicated love lives, with the action veering between melodrama and all-out bromance”; To Elderly With Love looks at the travails of aging; and romcom Love Is Not Blind follows one heartbroken woman on her journey to find the meaning of love.  

It’s no doubt enough viewing to tide Argentina’s elected representatives over between congressional sessions but what do the DVDs say about “high-tech” China? Maybe it would have been better to go with a simple gift card.

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RA/SK

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