Austria’s new chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, made a visit to Germany this week, where he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, discussing issues such as refugee distribution in Europe.
On Twitter, Kurz said the meetings had been productive. “On the way back to # Vienna after good appointments in #Berlin,” he wrote. “Looking forward to working with our neighbor #Germany on bilateral concerns, but especially on European issues!”

But one Chinese reader of international affairs was struck not so much by the substance of the meetings as by how Mr. Kurz had apparently left Germany, based on the photograph accompanying the Tweet. Weibo user “Director Zhao Rui” (赵锐导演), wrote at 8:20PM:

【看又是别人家的高官】新上任的奥地利总理,结束了对德国的访问,坐着民航飞机回维也纳。 ​
[Looking at other’s high-level officials] The new chancellor of Austria, concluding his visit to Germany, takes a commercial flight back to Vienna.

The post, taken by censors as a clear attack on high-level Chinese leaders using more extravagant means of transportation, was removed from Weibo just over two hours later.
Some readers may recall the storm of interest and admiration online in China back in August 2011, when a photo circulated of the new U.S. ambassador to China, Gary Locke, carrying his own backpack and buying a coffee at Starbucks as he prepared to leave for China from Seattle.
“To most Chinese people, the scene was so unusual it almost defied belief,” Chen Weihua, an editor at the official English-language China Daily wrote at the time.

David Bandurski

CMP Director

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