Public eats up Xi’s trip to steamed buns shop Published: 2013-12-30 16:24:00

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Xi impresses with steamed bun lunch
President Xi Jinping's surprise visit to a fast food eatery in Beijing has drawn unprecedented attention over the past weekend, which shored up his everyman image that had rarely been seen among top-level Chinese officials in the past.

Restaurant crowded after President Xi visit
Hundreds swarmed into a restaurant in Beijing on December 29 after President Xi Jinping visited and dined in the same venue the previous day. The unexpected visit has gone viral online.

Xi dined with several staffers, but did not have a large entourage.

No roadblocks or a large security contingent throughout Xi's visit.

The eatery was not pre-informed.

Impact on China’s stock market

Quanjude (002186.SZ), mistakenly thought to be the concept stock of Qingfeng Steamed Buns Restaurant chain where Xi dined, hit its limit-up price after trading opened on December 30. However, Quanjude does not hold direct shares in Qingfeng Steamed Buns, according to Caixin reports. Quanjude stock prices had risen by 4.83 percent at market close, according to


President’s Meal

Lao Lü, parking lot attendant
Nothing changed when President Xi came. There were no roadblocks or lots of security. He nodded at me with smiles, and then walked into the restaurant with big steps.

An employee at a branch of the Qingfeng Steamed Buns Restaurant

I realized that President Xi had come in while I was cleaning tables. We all crowded around hoping to perhaps meet him.

Manager at a branch of the Qingfeng Steamed Buns Restaurant
Because we weren’t notified beforehand, we felt a little bit nervous at first. However, we soon relaxed because President Xi was very nice to us and very cooperative when costumers asked to take photos with him.

Xi insisted on waiting in line and finished everything he ordered.

A customer who stood in line in front of Xi
He asked me, “So you’re buying steamed buns? I guess that means you didn’t make lunch yourself, huh?” It felt like running into an old friend.

Zhu Yuling, general manager of Beijng Huatian Foods and Drink Group
We will not raise prices just because President Xi Jinping came to eat them, so people don’t have to worry about that.

Source: Beijing Morning Post –


● Chinese media

  The People's Daily
The People's Daily said on its official Weibo account that Xi's simple lunch reminded officials that they should not adopt a condescending manner in dealing with the public, and that mixing with the public should not be breaking news, rather a routine matter.

Global Times
President Xi Jinping's surprise visit to a fast food restaurant in Beijing has drawn unprecedented attention on the Internet and social media over the past weekend. The impact that visits like these have on the public is irreplaceable. Leaders connecting with the people is what China needs right now.

Beijing Morning Post
There’s nothing special about lining up to buy lunch. So why has it generated such a huge response? Just because the president did it? This reaction reflects a yearning for the public to be closer to their leaders, for officials to better understand their desires and aspirations, and to maintain a spirit of unity among us.

Beijing Times
It’s not such a big deal for a top leader to eat at a fast food restaurant when compared to the fact they run the government. However, the public eats up these kinds of gestures. They stand as a reminder for officials to remove existing barriers between government servants and the masses.

The point of getting rid of bureaucracy is to return officials to their original roles of serving the people. It’s enough when officials begin shaping and carrying out policy with the interests of the people in mind. They don’t need to eat at public fast food places every day.

Chengdu Business Daily
We should regard Xi’s trip to the steamed bun shop as normal and just see him as the regular person he is. Such thinking will help us build a more harmonious and mature political environment. We should be wary of idolizing Party and State leaders. This not only creates barriers and hinders relationships between leadership and the masses, but also does not allow for new democratic politics to take shape.

● Foreign media

Reuters: China's Xi shows common touch with visit to bun restaurant
Since coming to power as party boss in November and president in March, Xi has demanded officials cut down on waste and extravagance and get closer to the people, as part of a broader campaign to root out pervasive corruption.

AP: Chinese president breaks protocol with lunch stop at bun shop
Such visits are rare – if not unheard of – for top Chinese leaders, who are usually surrounded by heavy security and are not known for mingling with the public other than at scheduled events.

The Hindu: Chinese President surprise diner at Beijing bun shop
As the photographs spread like wildfire on Chinese social media websites, Mr Xi appeared to have scored a public relations victory: in a country where there is wide resentment at the extravagant lives led by the Communist Party’s high leaders, often epitomized by ostentatious official banquets in grand hotels where 21 yuan wouldn’t purchase a glass of water, the top leader breaking the mould was seen as a welcome change.

● Scholars

Zhang Dinghuai, a political science professor with Shenzhen University
Xi's dropping by at the eatery underlines his new political concept. It sent out a signal of his man-of-the-people image, and showed his efforts to reach out to the people.

Tong Zhiwei, a professor with the East China University of Political Science and Law in Shanghai
Xi's acts are in line with the core values in his political philosophy, which prompted him to launch a campaign against formalism, bureaucratism, hedonism and extravagancy.

●Netizen voices

@管清友: …Xi surely wants to project a man-of-the-people image, but what is more important is his deep concern about food safety. Food safety is not only an issue that we deal with in everyday life, but also reflects the government’s credibility and the Party’s ruling ability.

@-老张同学-: Steamed buns have without a doubt dominated the headlines. Xi seemed personable and real in the blurred photos taken by customers on their mobile phones. This undoubtedly can win him more support. …Chinese people are big fans of any object that has a history with great man. It’s no surprise that people swarmed to take pictures at the table where Xi dined. But what truly shocked was how people mistakenly bought shares in Quanjude Restaurants thinking they were investing in Qingfeng Steamed Buns Restaurant.  


Encounter President Xi at a roadside eatery in Beijing

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