Beijing Tourist News Tidbits
"North Korean Leader Eats South Of Tiananmen Square"
April 21 2004
By Tamora Vidaillet (REUTERS)
Beijing - North Korean leader Kim Jong-il deftly ducked crowds in the Chinese capital this week but tucked into the ultimate tourist treat, roast Peking Duck, at a famous restaurant in the heart of Beijing.
Kim lunched on Tuesday at the famous Quanjude restaurant near Tiananmen Square with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong, waitresses and witnesses said.
Crowds of passers-by thronged sidewalks and lined the sealed-off carpark at Quanjude's biggest outlet as dozens of black cars and scores of men in dark suits filed into the entrance of the modern building, witnesses said.
"I saw Hu Jintao! Ooooh, he is so handsome!," gushed one parking attendant who witnessed Kim's arrival from within the carpark that had been heavily guarded the previous day.
"The leader of North Korea was also here. He was handsome too, his face is very white," she said, offering the reclusive leader a compliment commonly heard in sun-shy China.
Glimpses of 62-year-old Kim eluded others in nearby shops and restaurants, several of whom speculated that US President George Bush had been the honoured guest.
"We were told to close shop from Monday afternoon because of a state visit," said one vendor peddling fruit at a makeshift stall. "The US President was here, it seems."
Inside Quanjude, which served its first roast duck banquet in the early 1860s and has entertained the likes of Cuban President Fidel Castro and Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, staff were tightlipped.
"That's the man who came yesterday," said one waitress in a flaming red dress, pointing to a photograph showing a smiling "comrade" Kim at a Quanjude outlet in July 1983. She declined to say more as a supervisor approached.
For two other employees, Kim's short black hair and spectacles formed the only lasting impression of a man revered in the North as its Great Leader and rarely glimpsed abroad.
Senior staff directed questions to the restaurant's publicity department where one official said no state leaders ate his duck this week.
Requests to view the private room where Kim tucked into lunch were denied.
"We usually keep that room locked. It's not open to outsiders," said one employee, declining to give details of the menu.
Peking duck is one of the city's most famous inventions. Ducks fattened on grains and soybean paste are slathered in molasses, pumped full of air, hung out to dry and eventually roasted in wood-fired ovens.
"Only Shuiguan Great Wall Keeps Beijing Fans Away!"
May 20, 2004
BEIJING - Thousands of fans of basketball star Michael Jordan blocked a pavement and shouted abuse after Beijing police cancelled an event he was to attend on safety grounds.
Fans began arriving to the Dongdan sports complex in central Beijing hours ahead of the event, only to find the fences around the outdoor basketball court shrouded in plastic tarpaulins that were put up to block the view of Jordan.
The fans, many wearing basketball jerseys with the legendary number 23, had hoped to catch a glimpse of Jordan at the opening of a basketball park donated by the sports goods manufacturer Nike.
Several of them climbed a high fence that surrounded basketball courts where the ceremony was to take place, searching for a better view and ripped down advertising banners which were blocking the view.
Others jumped on top of a car, denting the trunk and roof. The crowd also trampled nearby flowerbeds.
After police dispersed the fans, several dozen went to the hotel where Jordan was staying in the Chinese capital to continue the protest, witnesses said.
"You are everywhere, but nowhere do we see YOU" screamed a headline in the Beijing News Daily after Jordan's non-attendance.
In 2001, police blocked an appearance by NBA player Kobe Bryant after a large crowd turned out to see him.
About 1,000 mostly young fans tossed water bottles and shouted in protest when it was announced Bryant, who was in Beijing to promote a new line of gear for sportswear maker Adidas, would not appear.
"Mike Tyson Meets Chairman Mao"
April 3, 2006 (Xinhua)
Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson pays respects to one of his greatest heroes by visiting waxen revolutionary Mao Zedong on Beijing's Tiananmen Square April 1.
BEIJING -- Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson visited the Memorial Hall dedicated to late Chairman Mao Zedong in Beijing's Tian'anmen Square during his three-day visit to China.
A long-time admirer of the late Chinese leader, Tyson unexpectedly arrived in Beijing on Saturday morning from Shanghai to pay his respects at the hall.
He arrived in Shanghai last Thursday for a three-day visit to promote a new nightclub. "I felt really insignificant next to the remains of Chairman Mao. This is a great honor to be able to visit the memorial hall."
Wearing a shirt with the picture of NBA center Shaquille O'Neal on it, the former champion looked in good spirits. Tyson quickly left the crowded hall where the embalmed remains of the late leader lie, after purchasing three books on Mao. He also reportedly shouted "I love you" to Chinese onlookers.
Later in Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, Tyson received a statue from Pan Qinglin, a member of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, who personally invited him to visit Beijing.
While serving a prison sentence in the 1990s, Tyson claimed he read Mao's selected works and expressed admiration for them. He even had his right arm tattooed with the late chairman to show his respect.
Tyson left China yesterday morning and is scheduled to revisit China in June 2006.
"Beijing adds 3 new Olympics mascots for 2008 gala"
Welcome YaYa, TingTing, and DeDe; representing the hospitable host city's Peking duck, dragonfly, as well as a friendly taxi.
Beijing huan ying ni ya ting de!