When Jinping’s ‘beast’ slowed down to a crawl

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CHENNAI: Though Chinese President Xi Jinping’s car can travel at a top speed of 400kmph and accelerate from 0 to 100 kmph in just 1.9 seconds, he decided to slow it down to savour the drive down the scenic East Coast Road that connects Chennai with Cuddalore.
Instead of zooming past, witnesses said that the speed of the luxury vehicle was reduced to 30-40kmph along the route to Mamallapuram.
On Saturday, Xi’s convoy, which includes ambulances, a quick reaction team, a commando force team apart from jammer vehicles, took 50 minutes to reach Chennai airport at 1.30pm from Mammallapuram. Usually, VVIP conyoys take 30 minutes to cover the 50km distance.
In his limousine, the President travelled with the driver and a Chinese escort officer during the two-day visit to Chennai and Mamallapuram. Usually, whenever a head of state visits India, the ministry of home affairs deputes an IPS-rank officer to accompany them, who works as a liaison officer. But the Chinese President declined the offer of an Indian official as the liaison officer who would accompany him in his limousine. “As this is an informal meeting between two leaders, we humbly accepted the request,” said a senior police officer .
Like the US President who travels in a Cadillac named ‘The Beast’, the Chinese President’s signature limousine carries the sign ‘Hongqi‘.
The ‘Hongqi’ is a luxury segment vehicle manufactured exclusively in China and used by leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC). Launched in 1958 by China First Auto Works Group, Hongqi later turned into a traditional symbol of the CPC.
An official said Chinese leaders travel by planes and cars, but they don’t use helicopters. Even when attending multilateral meetings, like the G20, Xi-Jinping never use helicopters, the Chinese officials said.

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