It was a cold night in Beijing, but luckily for Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan, Vladimir Putin was there to perform one of the oldest tricks in the book of chivalry.
The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) began Monday night at Beijing’s dazzling aquatic Water Cube stadium, the site of the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The true story of the night, however, was the event’s seating arrangement, which had U.S. President Barack Obama, Chinese President Xi Jinping, China's first lady Peng Liyuan and Russian President Vladimir Putin all in the same row.
What could possibly go wrong?
As the distinguished leaders took their seats, Xi and Obama made some chit-chat. Putin seemed to be in a friendly mood as well and made small talk with Peng. After a seemingly short exchange of words, Putin made the bold and ambitious move of taking off his large tan coat and chivalrously wrapping it around the first lady’s shoulders. Peng accepted the generous act with a smile and sat back down before quietly slipping the jacket from her shoulders onto the arms of an attendant. Luckily for us, the whole thing was caught on video (below).
According to FP, Chinese news outlets had a field day with the video before it was inevitably censored from all social media and news sites. China has always gone above and beyond to protect the reputation of its top government leaders so the censors come as no surprise. Special emphasis might have been placed on this matter because it would have brought out some tragic irony in Xi’s anti-corruption campaign, which specifically demonizes infedility. This, in combination with China's growing military and economic ties with Russia, would have let the imagination of romantic-drama enthusiasts everywhere run wild.