A photo taken during trade talks between the US and China has gone viral on Chinese social media. Interpreted by many as symbol of the changing of the global guard, the picture reveals US negotiators looking far older than their Chinese counterparts.
The image, shared by New Jersey congressman Bill Pascrell, shows legislators from the House Ways and Means Committee on the right, and a delegation of Chinese officials on the left, including Chinese vice premier Liu He.
Users on Chinese social network Weibo commented on the image’s similarity to a 1901 image of the agreement that ended the Boxer Rebellion, the New York Times reported. The turn of the century accord is remembered as an embarrassing episode in China, and preceded the end of China’s last dynasty.
This time, however, the older representatives of the Qing dynasty on the right have been replaced by US lawmakers. And the Americans in the 1901 picture are now the (comparably) younger looking Chinese officials.
While not a perfect comparison, (the Times notes that Kevin Brady, the chair of the Way and Means committee is three years Mr. Liu’s junior) the picture still serves as a tidy icon of the larger narrative. More than a century since that first image was taken, China now appears to be a younger and fresher force in world trade, while greying US representatives struggle to make America great again.