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China's president Xi Jinping mobbed in surprise public outing

Published on Feb 25, 2014 4:38 PM

BEIJING (REUTERS) - Chinese President Xi Jinping shocked locals by visiting courtyard homes and chatting with pedestrians near a popular shopping street on Tuesday, drawing praise from social media users for his unusual public diplomacy.

Unscripted interactions between politicians and the public are uncommon in a country where even leaders' birthdays or family backgrounds are often closely held secrets.

A shaky video of Mr Xi's visit posted online shows locals applauding him as he nears. He then stops to ask residents how long they have lived in the neighbourhood before ambling away.

Photos posted online by Chinese media show Mr Xi mobbed by people holding cameras and cell phones as he stands in a narrow alley grinning.

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