BEIJING – It is not bad that Xi Jinping is getting a three-day visit with President Barack Obama. But the one whom many Chinese wanted their president and first lady to meet was actually Michelle.
Among Chinese commentators, the absence of the American first lady at the summit this weekend in Rancho Mirage, Calif., is causing consternation. The meeting was supposed to be a relaxed, get-acquainted event and Xi is bringing his own wife, the photogenic singer Peng Liyuan.
“In terms of diplomatic etiquette, Chinese will definitely feel that the United States is lacking unless they can come up with a really solid excuse,” said Deng Yuwen, a foreign policy commentator in Beijing.
The public explanation offered up by the White House – that the first lady doesn’t want to miss her daughters’ last week of school – doesn’t pass muster with Chinese. After all, aren’t there baby sitters in the United States?
Many described Michelle’s no-show as a snub or in more Chinese terms, a “loss of face.”
Los Angeles Times