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Pump and circumstance as US envoy in China flexes fitness muscle

Published on Feb 28, 2014 6:13 PM

BEIJING (AFP) - US diplomatic biceps are mightier than China's financial muscle, if a press-up contest pitting outgoing ambassador Gary Locke against a line-up of businessmen in Beijing is anything to go by.

The 64-year-old, who had already earned quasi-celebrity status as the first ethnic Chinese in the post and a rare example of a humble dignitary, took on three tycoons including property billionaire Pan Shiyi at a farewell dinner on Thursday.

Pictures posted by Mr Pan's wife Zhang Xin on her verified social media account showed the four assuming the position in their business shirts on a lurid yellow and blue carpet, in what looked like a hotel function room.

They pumped away, a musclebound announcer standing over them, until only Mr Locke remained, 60 press-ups later.

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