The 19th edition of the China- Asean Expo (Caexpo) took place recently in Nanning, the capital city of the Guangxi autonomous region. I first attended this event in 2018 in my capacity as the Malaysian deputy minister for international trade and industry. It was my first official trip to China as a government official.
I was somewhat astounded when traffic was cleared for my official entourage for the 30-minute journey from the airport to the hotel. It was the same the following day for the five-minute ride from my hotel to the convention centre where the opening ceremony took place. I encountered similar VIP treatment as a representative of the Malaysian government at international trade fairs in Xiamen and Shanghai.