Tips for Xi Jinping for his American road trip

September 23, 2015 12:12
Xi Jinping delivers a speech to Chinese and American CEOs during a reception in Seattle on Sept. 22. Xi landed in the US Tuesday to kick off a week-long visit that will include a state dinner at the White House and an address at the United Nations. Photo:

Chinese President Xi Jinping has embarked on his first state visit to the US, meeting with business leaders in Seattle before he heads east to meet President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C.

In the interest of bolstering US-China relations, I reached out to Xi to see if he needed anything before his 7-day American road trip. Evidently, he was busy and did not have a chance to return my calls. I know trips like this are hectic, so I thought I’d drop him a note.

Your Highness:

Welcome to America!

I hope you had a chance to sneak down to Hong Kong before your transpacific flight.

Mong Kok has the best prices for those must-have noise-canceling headphones, much better than in Zhongguancun, don’t you think? You know they only sell knock-offs there, right?

Depending on your disposition, Seattle is either mostly cloudy or mostly sunny this time of year.

But Beijing air being what it is, I know it’ll be just like home.

Anyway, I know you have a lot on your plate—what with consolidating power, subduing potential opponents, economic headwinds, construction in the South China Sea, denying cyberattacks and whatnot—but don’t forget that traveling on business can really pack on the pounds.

Sure, you can control your portions at home by curbing lavish government banquets and alcohol consumption.

But state visits are all about lavish government banquets and alcohol consumption.

The key is to have a little self-control.

It’s fine to throw several heads of SOEs, provincial-ministerial level officials, high-ranking generals and a former Politburo Standing Committee member under the bus for corruption, but, come on, who eats six pork buns in one sitting?

Do you actually like it when people say you bear an uncanny resemblance to Winnie the Pooh?

It must sting when little kids write letters saying you might be a little too fat.

And you’re not fooling anyone by wearing your pants so high. (It’s not very macho.)

Face it. No one wants to see you with your shirt off—on a horse, fishing, hunting or otherwise.

They don’t call you Xi Dada, literally Xi Big Big, for nothing, you know.

Listen, everyone understands that stress from your US trip could not be higher.

On the one hand, you’ve got to maintain your domestic image as a strong leader, sticking to your nationalist rhetoric and all.

On the other, you need to stabilize the precarious relationship with the US.

And we all know that giving out a few billion dollars worth of trade deal gifts can really work up an appetite.

But that’s no excuse for binge eating!

Here are a few suggestions for navigating this week’s nutritional minefield.

Instead of imbibing those hors d’oeuvres, go off script and give up some ground in the South China Sea. Those islands you built are in the middle of nowhere!

Instead of sampling all the culinary creations made in your honor at endless receptions, put an end to state-sponsored economic espionage. It’s just hotel food!

While you’re at it, give Hong Kong a break. The Brits gave it up and so can you!

Instead of wolfing down everything White House waiters put in front of you at Friday’s lavish state dinner, make sure US businesses are being treated fairly in China.

And tonight, instead of snuggling up with a container of ice cream in bed, think about ways China can ease up its trading policies to really give a bilateral investment treaty some teeth.

Alas, I’ve taken up too much of your time. Please give my best to Madame Peng.

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A strategist and marketing consultant on China business