A Seismic Shift in China’s Relations with West?

Jane Macartney reports in the Times:

It was his second visit to this scene of devastation, but the first for his guest, the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki Moon. Mr Wen had clearly decided to dispense with the stilted protocol under which China’s Communist rulers have long suffocated the visits of foreign dignitaries.

In an unprecedented departure for this tightly screened leadership, he invited a small group of foreign journalists – including just a single newspaper correspondent, from The Times – to join him. The group was flown in by military helicopter, an openness unheard of in China. The air force navigator on the flight was so surprised that he asked all 13 foreigners on board for their autographs.

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