Video footage has emerged of Russian President Vladimir Putin draping a shawl around the shoulders of China’s first lady, a move the Asian country’s censors were quick to block from the public.
The recently divorced Putin placed a tan shawl on first lady Peng Liyuan during a state dinner to commence the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in China’s capital this week. Liyuan’s husband, President Xi Jinping, was speaking with President Barack Obama nearby inside Beijing’s Water Cube Olympic stadium.
Liyuan accepted Putin’s gesture with a smile, and wrapped the piece of clothing around her upper body. Soon, though, she handed it away to an aide and replaced it with a navy coat.
Footage reportedly aired live on Chinese state TV and went viral on social media, but the Chinese government soon censored the seemingly awkward moment. The restriction is an example of the control authorities hold over public material in China and can be seen as a reflection of the country’s more conservative culture. Putin, on the other hand, is well known for his macho moments, including riding a horse shirtless and wrestling in the snow with dogs.
Obama arrived Monday for the economic summit in Beijing. The White House will use the visit to strengthen U.S. ties to China, and likely seek to address human rights and environmental issues with the country.