The vice-president is in China on a diplomatic mission, and he's leaving a trail of violence in his wake. On Thursday, before a meeting with Chinese Vice-President Xi Jingping, Biden began a speech to a group of journalists, after a set of remarks from Xi. The Americans, used to covering Biden, settled in for the long haul. The Chinese press wasn't willing to hang out for quite as long, reports the L.A. Times:
Only minutes into Biden's remarks, Chinese officials had begun to direct reporters toward the exits. Most reporters and the vice president's staff objected, saying it was important to cover the entirety of Biden's opening statement, as had been the agreement between officials beforehand.
A Chinese press aide said Biden was going on far too long for their liking. But in fact, including the consecutive translation of his comments from English to Chinese, Biden spoke only two or three minutes longer than Xi had.
Forceful shoving followed, then fisticuffs. Journalists were literally fighting to hear a Joe Biden speech. *
Meanwhile, later that evening, Georgetown University's basketball team got in a bench-clearing brawl, complete with tackling, during a trash-talk-filled exhibition game against the Bayi Rockets. Worried about retribution, the Hoyas tried to find a police escort. We'd call it an entirely unrelated incident, except Biden's first stop off the plane in Beijing yesterday was to cheer on Georgetown in another game. Maybe the administration should send someone else next time they need to go to China and aren't hoping to start a war.
* This post has been corrected to show that journalists were fighting to hear the speech, not leave it.