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Xinhua Insight: Shanghai Communique: where Sino-U.S relations start (2)

By Xinhua writers Lu Qiuping, Xu Xiaoqing, Ji Ming and Wu Yu (Xinhua)

08:31, February 28, 2012


Qiu Huanxi, a former waiter at the hotel well remembers the American delegation in 1972. Qiu says he would never forget "the mysterious, political task."

"We were nervous and curious, but we had to hide our feelings and look calm," he recalled.

Qiu, a son of a local ordinary family, could not speak any English at the time.

With little idea of how to receive foreigners, Qiu and his colleagues were told to be "neither too humble nor too pushy, neither too friendly nor too hostile."

"They were from the other side of the world after all. They were capitalists," said the 64-year-old.

As none of the waiters and waitresses spoke English, they had to use body language or simply smile to show their sincerity.

Qiu's former colleague, 76-year-old Le Cuidi, said it took "guts" to serve the foreigners tea.

"Some of our colleagues hesitated whether to bring tea or not, but I did it after thinking it over," she said.

Le, a foodrunner during the banquet to receive Nixon, was also surprised to see foreigners enjoying the Chinese liquor Moutai.

"Less than 24 hours, we were acquainted with each other," she laughed.

In 1993, Nixon met the service people again at the hotel, and had group photos taken as commemoration.

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