Watch: How tea is served in a synchronized manner at China’s Party Congress

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New Delhi: Soon after becoming China’s top leader in 2012, Xi Jinping made significant changes not only to the country’s governance, but also to how tea is served in the Great Hall of the People.

Xi’s predecessors were only served by female attendants. However, since Xi’s election, state leaders in the first two rows have been served by men.

Xi is also the only leader whose cup is replaced rather than refilled. An attendant would bring Xi an extra cup, take away his old cup, and place the new one on his table. The reason for this remains unknown.

It’s unclear whether this arrangement is motivated by security concerns or simply personal preference.

Tea serves as a cultural ambassador for China as a healthy drink that originated in China and is now popular all over the world. Xi’s relationship with tea may have begun during his time working in Fujian province.

Xi visited Tanyang village in Fu’an city four times as Party secretary of the Ningde prefecture (1988-1990), which is famous for the Tanyang Congou tea, which won a golden prize winner at the Panama-Pacific International Exposition.

Xi proposed developing a tea industry with local characteristics through grading tea leaves, large-scale planting, and scientific management. He led efforts to improve tea varieties and tea leaf quality.

Xi also used tea as a metaphor to introduce traditional Chinese culture and illustrate Chinese philosophy on diplomatic occasions.

In a speech he made at the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium, in 2014, he said, “China represents the Eastern civilization in an important way, while Europe is the birthplace of Western civilization. Chinese people are fond of tea, and Belgians love beer. To me, the moderate tea drinker and passionate beer lover represent two ways of understanding life and knowing the world, and I find them equally rewarding.”

Xi also used tea as a metaphor to introduce traditional Chinese culture and illustrate Chinese philosophy on diplomatic occasions.

In May 2020, Xi sent a letter congratulating the first International Tea Day, stating that China, as a major producer and consumer of tea, will work to deepen cultural exchanges surrounding tea and allow more people to enjoy tea-infused lives.

Also Read: China’s Communist Party Congress opens to endorse Xi Jinping’s rule

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Watch: How tea is served in a synchronized manner at China’s Party Congress
Watch: How tea is served in a synchronized manner at China’s Party Congress
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