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China’s Prez Xi wears ‘white cloak’ as sign of harmony with minority community

During an interaction with members of the minority Yi community in southwest China’s Sichuan province, Xi wore a flowing white cloak, very much like a poncho, slung over his shoulder.

world Updated: Feb 12, 2018 21:46 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis
Sutirtho Patranobis
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Xi Jinping,China,Yi ethnic group
President Xi Jinping seen wearing a white cloak called the chaerwa, a hand-sewn woollen poncho-like mantle, while meeting members of the Yi ethnic group.(Courtesy: Xinhua)

President Xi Jinping usually, depending on the occasion, wears a western suit, or a windbreaker that looks perfectly efficient on him or occasionally when he is attending military events, military fatigues.

Last Sunday, Xi took a break from his routine clothes and picked up something unusual from his wardrobe.

During an interaction with members of the minority Yi community in southwest China’s Sichuan province, Xi wore a flowing white cloak, very much like a poncho, slung over his shoulder.

“The white cloak, called chaerwa in Chinese, is a hand-sewn woollen poncho-like mantle worn by people of Yi ethnic group,” state media reported.

In photos published by state media outlets, Xi was shown shaking hands and interacting with community members who were dressed in ethnic finery.

Besides his message on eliminating poverty, the flowing “chaerwa” was immediately noticed.

“His unusual dressing - a white cloak – raised curiosity among netizens,” state-run English newspaper China Daily reported.

Most comments on the dress, it seems, were subsequently censored as the general secretary of the Communist Party of China possibly tops of the list of sensitive topics.

“The cloak is woven with quality sheep wool in Liangshan Yi autonomous prefecture. It usually takes about one month to finish making one chaerwa. Yi people wear it to keep warm in daytime and use it for bedding at night,” the report said.

An earlier Xinhua article quoted by The New York Times had described Xi’s favourite windbreaker jacket as something that reflects “the aura of Mr Efficiency”.

“No need for ironing, neat, stain-resistant, and with a common touch,” the Xinhua article said.

Usually, the state media focusses on what China’s first couple, especially Xi’s wife Peng Liyuan, wears when they travel abroad.

“Xi and Peng: A stylish couple in ‘lovers’ clothes,” state-controlled tabloid Global Times wrote recently.

“The clothes of Chinese President Xi Jinpingand his wife, Peng Liyuan, have always been a highlight when they visit other countries. The couple arrived in Seattle, Washington on September 22 in their classic style of “lovers’clothes,” it said in a report. It added the couple wore outfits that made them look “harmonious”.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 16:50 IST