Watch: Xi Jinping Takes Lunch At A Beijing Eatery, Is Just Like Us

Look at Xi Jinping eating lunch. When the story broke yesterday that the president of China was spotted in Beijing ordering steamed buns at a local restaurant called Qing-Feng, I noted that we’d be seeing more pictures, since if you can’t take pictures of the president of China on your camera phone, you might as well never take another camera phone picture again. Well, here’s a video, which surfaced on Youku about nine hours ago. It is wonderful in the following ways:

1. As we know, American politics favors extroverts: a politician in a neighborhood canteen might chat up everyone around him or her (“constituents”), pose with babies (even kiss them), create a ruckus; if not quite trying to stand out, certainly not shying away from attention. Chinese politics, of course, operates at the antipode of this civic dance. Watch as Xi Jinping professes his normality — and dignity — by ignoring the people who stand next to him and pose for pictures. This isn’t awkward. He’s just a man trying to eat, like us.

2. At the very start, someone (picture-taker?) says, “Can you see us?” Otherwise the only sounds are ambient conversations and utensils. But at the 17-second mark, someone behind the camera says, very clearly, “Napkins, waitress.” Someone else — presumably the waitress — replies, “Take it, take it.” I’m not entirely sure why this is notable, but maybe because it seems so in place, and, yes, normal. Xi Jinping is able to behave like a normal human being in a public setting, with neither purpose nor agenda. All other interpretations of this scene — whatever we want to make of it — that’s on us.

3. The people who stand next to him and pose for pictures. Particularly this woman, leaning in:

Posing with Xi Jinping

And this guy, so proud:

Posing with Xi Jinping 2

And this: is Xi Jinping possibly regarding the mashed-up husky-wildcat image on the dude’s shirt? (Note: could be a woman.)

Posing with Xi Jinping 3

4. On the back wall is a poster that confirms this restaurant is indeed Qing-Feng. The address, for those of you who might want to swing by:

Address:北京市新街口南大街178号 (178 Xinjiekou Nan Dajie)
Phone:010-66182812 or 010-66124087

Jen Haskell on Twitter recommends the Old Beijing breakfast place around the corner though.

5. Did you know Xi Jinping has a huge head? Yeah, you probably did.

UPDATE, 11:19 pm: Here’s another user video showing Xi Jinping actually interacting with people. Also, he really does wait in line!

Youku versions:

UPDATE, 12/30, 4:19 pm: Xi Jinping’s meal cost 21 yuan:

Xi Jinping at Qing-Feng 4

2 Responses to “Watch: Xi Jinping Takes Lunch At A Beijing Eatery, Is Just Like Us”

  1. Chinese Netizen

    XJP slumming…nice…taking a play out of the Gary Locke playbook.
    Surprised those that dared get close for a snapshot weren’t given the beatdown by the undercover goons, but then again, IF that was the REAL XJP, I suppose he’d given the order to “ease up on the peasants today”.

    Reply

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