(from chinadaily.com.cn)Beijing, Dec. 29, 2013, — Chinese President Xi Jinping dropped in at a steamed bun restaurant in Beijing where he paid for his food and happily chatted with surprised customers on Saturday, Dec. 28, attracting wide attention from foreign media.
“Xi could be seen lining up for his food and posing for photographs, apparently not surrounded by the high security which normally accompanies visits by top leaders,”reported Reuters.
Since coming to power as Party leader and Chinese president, Xi has demanded officials cut down on waste and extravagance and get closer to the people, added Reuters.
“Uncle Xi is showing that he is one of the people. I approve,” Reuters reported, quoting a Weibo user.
The Associated Press also reported that such visits are rare for top Chinese leaders, who are usually surrounded by heavy security.
“Xi has sought to portray himself as being in touch with regular people,”AP reported on Saturday.
Mr. Xi tends to emphasize his closeness to the masses, according to a report from the BBC on Monday.
“Xi’s bun-eating mission is in line with the tone he has set during his first year in office, demanding that public officials curb displays of extravagance and entitlement,”BBC reported.
Such spontaneous visits by top party officials are rare but not unheard of. Former premier Wen Jiabao, for instance, shared dumplings with coal miners ahead of the Lunar New Year in 2005, South China Morning Post reported on Sunday.
“The appearance seemed to some commentators to be straight out of the public relations playbook of visiting Western officials, who often attract public attention to themselves by dining at casual eateries”,SCMP added.
Customers flocked in and queue up to order at Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop in Beijing after Xi’s visit.
“The table that Xi used was removed and replaced by a new one, because the restaurant owner hoped to treasure it carefully,”the Singapore-based Lianhe Zaobao reported on Monday.
This move make the public feel warm, Lianhe Zaobao quoted Chinese netizens as saying.
The videos and photos of Xi’s bun shop visit posted on the internet quickly went viral. Obviously, Xi is trying to raise his profile by the man-of-the-people moment, according to a report from Agence France Presse reported on Sunday.
Xi’s impromptu visit to the Beijing branch of the Qingfeng Steamed Stuffed Bun Shop was hailed by the public. Those photos that Xi took with other consumers were quickly posted on the Internet. Bodyguards generally seen around the Chinese leaders were not found from those photos, Russia Post reported on Saturday.