When reports of Chinese president Xi Jinping’s journey in a taxi across Beijing broke out, it hit the headlines, which is expected from a country like China, whose leaders are reveled as almost so unearthly that their apparent foray into normalcy is deemed of national importance.
Or so one taxi driver in China would like people to believe, after he told the story to the Ta Kung Pao, the Chinese Communist Party’s mouthpiece in Hong Kong.
It seemed right out of a Chinese propaganda book. Chinese president Xi Jinping waved down Guo Lixin’s taxi for a ride to a hotel. Like any ordinary citizen, he chatted the taxi driver about the ever-present smog. It took some time before Guo was able to put a name to the all-too familiar face.
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like General Secretary Xi?” Guo asked. With a chuckle, Xi replied: “You are the first taxi driver to recognize me.”
Chinese state media soon broke the revelry that has been gaining on the internet about the news, according to AFP. The official Xinhua News Agency such close encounter had taken place while Ta Kung Pao apologized for failing to realize it was bogus.
Treating it as it was the last thing Xi would do, China censored keyword searches for “Jinping” and “taxi” while a number of related articles has since been deleted.