Biden Opens Talks in China as U.S.-China Basketball Game Ends in Violence (Video)

What was supposed to be a goodwill game between the Georgetown Hoyas and the Bayi Rockets in Beijing ended badly when a fight broke out between players. From the Washington Post:

Georgetown senior center Henry Sims had a chair tossed at him by an unidentified person, and freshman forward Moses Ayegba, who was wearing a brace on his sore right ankle, walked onto the court with a chair in his right hand. According to Georgetown officials, Ayegba had been struck, prompting him to grab a chair in self-defense.

It was the second time both benches emptied in physical game marred by fouls. By halftime, Bayi had 11 fouls while Georgetown had 28.

Immediately before the fighting began, Bayi forward-center Hu Ke was called for a foul against Georgetown’s Jason Clark. The senior guard clearly took exception to the hard foul and said so to Hu, triggering an exchange of shoves.

That’s when players from the Georgetown and Bayi benches ran onto the court, and bedlam ensued.

Meanwhile, Vice President Joe Biden is in Beijing for talks with his counterpart Xi Jinping. From the New York Times:

Mr. Biden arrived in China on Wednesday for a whirlwind four-day visit to Beijing and the southwestern city of Chengdu. His schedule includes extensive blocks of time with Mr. Xi, who is presumed to be China’s next leader.

After two sessions with Mr. Xi on Thursday, Mr. Biden went with his granddaughter Naomi and the new American ambassador, Gary F. Locke, to a small restaurant north of Tiananmen Square whose specialty is bowls of intestine for breakfast. The restaurant, tucked behind the ancient building known as the Drum Tower, was crowded with Chinese patrons at lunchtime, many eating small pork buns and stir-fried vegetables. One yelled, “Beijing welcomes you!” in Mandarin Chinese, and others shook hands with the vice president. A woman spoke to him about her relatives living in Minnesota.

Though Sino-American diplomacy was the watchword of the day, it did not quite carry over to the night. A brawl erupted at a good-will basketball game in Beijing between the Georgetown University men’s team and the Bayi Rockets, made up of members of the People’s Liberation Army.

An American spectator said that the violence started when two players began throwing punches, and then Chinese spectators began hurling bottles and other trash at the American players. The trip to China by the Georgetown team, known as the Hoyas, was not connected to Mr. Biden’s mission, but the vice president did attend a game on Wednesday in which the Hoyas crushed a team from Shanxi Province.

As Evan Osnos reports in his blog, press handlers tried to shoo reporters out of the room as Biden started his opening remarks at his press conference with Xi. Osnos then provides more details about the restaurant where Biden and Locke shared a meal:

The official delegation filed into none other than Yao Ji Stewed Liver, a family-owned canteen that is, I can attest, the real thing. As a local reviewer puts it, the house soup “is dark and thick, filled with chunks of gritty liver and circles of soft but resistant intestines.” Another option “has chunks of pork intestine and lungs with a slight crunch from the bronchioles, and its taste is somewhere between stinky and pungent.”

The purpose of this trip is to lay the groundwork for a reciprocal visit by Vice-President Xi later this year or early the next. One day in, and two to go, it is interesting to imagine how Xi will seek to match the spirit of adventure when he goes to Washington.

Watch a behind-the-scenes look at Biden’s visit from the New York Times’ Edward Wong.

August 18, 2011 12:16 PM
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