Russia's President Vladimir Putin, right, puts a shawl on Peng Liyuan, second right, wife of Chinese President Xi Jinping, seated second left talking to U.S. President Barack Obama, left, as they arrive to watch a a fireworks show after a welcome banquet for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation.
Worse still were off-color jokes that began to circulate about the real intentions of the divorced Russian president — a heartthrob among many Chinese women for his macho, man-of-action image. That was too much for the Chinese authorities.
"It's a tradition in Russia for a man of dignity to respect ladies on public occasions, and in a cold country like Russia, it is very normal that a gentleman should help ladies take on and off their coats," Li said. "But the Chinese may not be accustomed to that."