Simplified welcoming protocol observed in Chinese presidents U.S. visit
Simplified welcoming protocol was observed when Chinese President Hu Jintao's plane landed at the Andrews Air Force Base in Washington D.C. on Monday.
It is quite noticeable and unusual not to see passionate crowds waving welcoming banners when the president's plane landed at 11:00 local time (1600 GMT) on Monday.
Coming out of the cabin at 11:03 local time (1603 GMT), it took the president only five minutes to finish hand-shakes with American officials, Chinese ambassador to the United States and other welcoming guests and leave the base.
Explaining to Xinhua reporters on the simplified protocol, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai said: "With the consent of the central government, welcoming and seeing-off ceremonies organized by Chinese embassies and consulates for Chinese leaders' overseas visits will be simplified."
According to the new protocol, which was first applied to Hu's visit, overseas Chinese would not be organized to welcome or see off visiting Chinese leaders, demonstrating a people-oriented and pragmatic working style, said Cui.
In fact, such decision is another forward step to simplify China's diplomatic protocol since the reform and opening-up policy was adopted in late 1970s.
Since 1978, the site for welcoming foreign dignitaries has been moved from the airport to the square outside the east gate of the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, and no more welcoming crowds were organized.
Since the 1980s, no more reciprocal banquets were held during Chinese leaders' overseas visits.
Since 1991, seeing-off and welcoming-back ceremonies for Chinese leaders' foreign visits have been moved from the airport to the Great Hall of the People. And in 2003, both ceremonies were abolished.
Huang Keqiang, chairman of Lin Zexu Foundation in the United States, said: "The simplification of the ceremonies, instructed by President Hu, is so considerate that it makes all of us feel warm."
Zhu Lichuang, president of the New York Chinese Associations Alliance, said overseas Chinese could express patriotism through a variety of ways, and they were encouraged by each step of progress of China.
Wang Jun, head of the U.S.-based China Tomorrow Education Foundation, also hailed the simplification of ceremonial procedures of the Chinese president's visit.
"It demonstrates China's mentality of keeping pace with the times and being pragmatic and open. I am proud of it," Wang said.
Simplified protocol was also seen when Li Changchun, a member of the Standing Committee of the Politburo of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, arrived the same day in Germany's Dresden to start his six-nation tour.