Putin flirts with China’s first lady, Chinese censors go nuts

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Even though the relationship between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin is chilly, Obama may want to keep Michelle at a distance during any future meetings so Putin can’t sweep in and try to heat things up. That’s because Putin has no problem hitting on the wife of another country’s president, as was the case late Monday night in China.

World leaders are in Beijing this week for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, and Putin tried to not-so-subtly put the moves on Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

From Foreign Policy:

“While Xi was distracted talking to U.S. President Barack Obama, who was sitting on his right, Russia’s tiger-shooting, horseback-riding president made his move. After a brief exchange — you can almost imagine Peng making appropriately cliché small talk like “my, isn’t it chilly in here” — Putin abruptly stood up, grasped a tan coat in both hands, and wrapped it chivalrously around the first lady’s shoulders. She smiled gracefully, thanked him, and sat down — only to surreptitiously slip the coat from her shoulders moments later into the waiting arms of an attendant.”

The exchange begins around the 30-second mark:

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The exchange at the dinner, which was broadcast live on China’s main state broadcast, CCTV, caught the attention of commentators.

“I just saw President Putin attentively placing a coat onto Peng Liyuan’s body,” one said.

Other Chinese news outlets quickly picked it up and the video was widely distributed.

But because it’s China, censors quickly went nuts, with news outlets pulling it off their sites and it was soon scrubbed off social media in the country.

The exchange also resulted in a hashtag on Weibo, China’s Twitter knockoff. The hashtag is a bit long and not very clever, given the circumstances: “Putin Gives Peng Liyuan His Coat.”

CNN reports that Xi, who was sitting nearby and talking to Obama and an aide while it all played out, has not commented on the incident.

Luckily for everyone involved, Putin opted to keep his shirt on.

AP file photo

Via Foreign Policy

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