The Madeleine Brand Show for January 19, 2011

How not to offend a Chinese President: White House hosts State Dinner for China

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Getty Images/Mandel Ngan

US President Barack Obama bows as he shakes hands with Japanese Emperor Akihito and as Empress Michiko looks on upon Obama's arrival at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on November 14, 2009. The Japanese bow from the waist while the Chinese bow with the shoulders and a head nod. Obama and his team will be paying close attention to proper protocol while hosting Chinese President Hu Jintao at a state dinner Wednesday night.

Tonight's state dinner with China's President Hu Jintao presents a minefield of potential protocol disaster. But at least there is a state dinner. Last time President Hu was in Washington, there wasn't one, which the Chinese took as a snub. Here to discuss the delicate issue of protocol is Pamela Eyring, President and Director of the Protocol School of Washington, which trains government officials and business leaders in international protocol and etiquette. (Hint: no fruit baskets).


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