It seemed to be going so well. Chinese President Hu Jintao had arrived in the other Washington – State, not DC – happily adapting to his role as the leader of a new global power.
But it then all unravelled. The Chinese may have been willing to overlook the foul-up as their National Anthem was introduced as that of “the Republic of China” – the other name for Taiwan – the part of China that has rebelled and broken away from the mainland and sought security from the United States.
But to have their president’s speech interrupted by not just a protester, but one from the banned quasi-religious group Falun Gong, would have been difficult to swallow.
In Beijing, television screens showing the BBC and CNN went to black as the cameras focussed on Wang Wenyi shouting out “President Hu, your days are numbered”.