Date
20 September 2017
US President Barack Obama (left) sits beside President Xi Jinping to watch the fireworks show at the beginning of the APEC summit in Beijing  Photo: AFP
US President Barack Obama (left) sits beside President Xi Jinping to watch the fireworks show at the beginning of the APEC summit in Beijing Photo: AFP

Now who’s being rude?

Beijing residents were urged in a six-month campaign to brush up their manners to welcome world leaders to the economic summit now being held in the city.

But the most prominent guest was the one who forgot his manners, some mainland netizens complained.

Live coverage on state-run CCTV Monday night showed Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders arriving at the Water Cube, US Today reported.

Instead of the Chinese-made Red Flag limousines that ferried other leaders one by one from a nearby building to a banquet, cultural show and fireworks at the venue where swimming events were held at the 2008 Summer Olympics, US President Barack Obama arrived in an American car.

If that was not bad enough — although some internet users said they understood his preference for the security of a US-supplied vehicle – Obama emerged from his car chewing gum.

He’s known to use Nicorette, the gum that helps smokers quit.

But Chinese netizens, used to the formal bearing of the country’s leaders, blasted Obama for behaving like an “idler” or “rapper”.

“We made this meeting so luxurious, with singing and dancing, but see Obama, stepping out of his car chewing gum like an idler,” Yin Hong, a professor of journalism at Beijing’s Tsinghua University, wrote on his Sina Weibo microblog.

Meanwhile, coverage by the state-run media of preparations for the APEC meetings have ignored the disruption to Beijingers’ lives caused by the authorities’ orders to shut factories, government offices, schools, markets, roads and restaurants in an attempt to reduce smog and traffic.

Beijing Television broadcast interviews Monday with residents praising APEC and welcoming those restrictions.

Despite the measures, air pollution reached “very unhealthy” levels on Monday, a routine measurement by the U.S. Embassy found. 

But several local apps that show the level provided by the embassy as well as the official levels, which are usually lower, stopped displaying the information from the U.S. Embassy from Monday afternoon.

“See no evil” is the rule in Beijing, where you can’t see the blue sky, either.

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CG/FL

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