Changing China

Giant on the move

“Wonderful Tonight”

November 17, 2009
China | Hu | Obama

                                              By Lucy Hornby

The setting for Barack Obama and Hu Jintao’s “date night” on Tuesday was magnificent — the Gold Room in Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, with its lush red carpets and elaborate murals. 

The chef was cautious, choosing a menu of chicken and tofu soup, steak and grouper without any of the spicier or exotic fare common to Chinese banquets. For the wine –  a little vin d’appellation Hebei, c 2002, otherwise known as Great Wall, gave Obama, a foretaste of his trip on Wednesday to the Great Wall itself.
And the music? The military band of the People’s Liberation Army serenaded Hu, Obama and the 150 other guests with a selection that combined keen hopes for the future with a whiff of the karaoke playbook.

“Wonderful Night” gave way to “America the Beautiful,” “We Are the World” segued into the Chinese tune “Step by Step Higher”. But then the band turned coy – “I Just Called to Say I Love You” was met with “In that Faraway Place.” The band finished off with “In the Mood” before the two went their separate ways, returning home through the chilly night and the empty Beijing streets.

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