At the concluding photo shoot of world leaders before the G20 disbanded, China’s President Hu Jintao bent down to collect a sticker of the flag of China. These were placed on the floor to show the nation’s top bosses where to stand. Hu was next to Obama.
At the conclusion of the photo shoot, Hu bent down to collect the sticker with the flag of China. It was a simple act that electrified the nation.
“Hu is actually picking up the pride of China. I feel proud to be Chinese,” wrote one internet user.
Others weren’t so certain. Was the President of China so enamoured with the national flag? Or did the sticker come up and get stuck on his shoe? Looking closely at the photo you see the sticker half-way across Hu’s left shoe. Maybe it became dislodged when he shuffled closer to Obama? Maybe it wasn’t sticky enough to adhere to carpet? Perhaps it was ‘Made in China’?
Whatever the reason the simple act of Hu collecting the flag made national news. The official state news agency, Xinhua, wrote that other national leaders stepped all over their flags. Only Hu stooped to collect his national emblem.
But then deriders wrote that Hu was only trying to free his expensive shoes from gluey confusion.
I’d venture that the latter was correct. By yesterday afternoon anyone searching Weibo (China’s equivalent of Twitter) for the terms ‘Hu Jintao’ or ‘Hu Jintao collecting national flag’ received an error message: “The search result cannot be displayed because of related laws and rules.” (Source: South China Morning Post)
Why would a search for news relating to the President of China be blocked? Only if censors were concerned people were poking fun at what was initially seen as a patriotic act. That saddened some netizens:
President, I actually want to praise you for your patriotic act. But I cannot say your full name. What a pity.”