President Joe Biden recently met with President Xi Jinping of China, who wields almost complete control of the Chinese state thanks to his other positions as general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party and chairman of the Central Military Commission, in Gavin Newsom’s California.
Many Americans were initially outraged by Gov. Newsom’s conduct rather than Xi’s. That’s because San Francisco was finally cleaned up, at least in part, and beautified ahead of the Chinese leader’s visit, showing that doing so is possible and that the government of the state and city had not done so for citizens and residents but was willing to do so for the communist Chinese.
However, another incident soon drew the ire of many Americans: President Xi’s limousine nearly ran over the saluting Marine guard for a ceremony, which got many mad both because of the danger to the serviceman and because the Marines had to salute a communist leader, which admittedly is normal for servicemembers in such situations because of the foreign leader’s rank, but still rankled people online.
In the video that emerged of the incident, the Chinese leader’s car makes an overly wide turn and, as a result, didn’t quite manage to thread the needle between the two US Marines saluting it, thus nearly hitting the one on the passenger side of the car. Fortunately, he was able to step out of the way. Watch that incident here:
A clip of the incident went viral on X (formerly Twitter), with the account “UltraMJTruth,” which calls itself a watchdog and researcher account, captioning it by saying, “Meanwhile… they nearly ran over a marine in the vehicle Xi JinPing arrives in. Everything about this pisses me off“.
Replying, many commenters agreed. One commenter, for example, was annoyed that the Marines were saluting President Xi, asking, “Why are the marines saluting Xi JinPing?” Answering, another commenter noted that doing so is protocol in these sorts of situations, saying, “Respect the office/rank, we Salute foreign officers as well. Nothing weird or out of the ordinary here. Its about honor whether they deserve it or not.”
In another awkward incident surrounding the Chinese president’s visit, President Biden called Xi a dictator, which will hardly help relations between the two countries, saying, “Look, he is. He’s a dictator in the sense that he’s a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that’s based on a form of government totally different than ours.”
President Xi, for his part, said, “China has no plans to surpass or unseat the United States, and the United States should not scheme to suppress or contain China.” He added, “Both sides should understand each other’s principles and bottom lines, not make or stir up trouble or cross boundaries, (but instead) communicate more, have more dialogue and more discussions, and handle differences and accidents calmly.”
All in all, the meeting does not appear to have been overly productive on either side, though tensions between the two countries do not seem to have been raised by it either.
Featured image credit: screengrab from the embedded video
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