No, Biden did not wear a ‘Mao suit’ to meet Xi Jinping
A video of Joe Biden wearing a high-collared grey shirt has gone viral online, with users claiming it shows the US president wearing a ‘Mao suit’ during a meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping on Monday 14 November. However, the footage was actually taken two days earlier, on Saturday 12 November, and shows Biden wearing a traditional garment from Cambodia during an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh.
If you only have a minute:
- Social media users have been sharing what they say is a video of US President Joe Biden wearing a ‘Mao suit’ to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping
- The video has been viewed more than 3.4 million times on TikTok
- However, the clip actually shows Biden wearing a traditional Cambodian garment during an ASEAN summit. Towards the end of the video, the letters ‘ASEAN’ can be seen on a screen in the background
- Biden did meet Xi Jinping on Monday 14 November, but both men were photographed in Western-style business suits
- Wearing traditional dress at ASEAN summits is a custom for attending world leaders.
The fact-check, in detail:
Social media users have been taking a video of US President Joe Biden at an ASEAN summit out of context, saying it shows him wearing an outfit in the style of Mao Zedong, the Communist authoritarian leader who ruled China from 1949 until 1976. According to the social media posts, Biden supposedly wore this ‘Mao suit’ to meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.
On Twitter, one user shared the video with the caption: “Biden wearing a Mao clown outfit to meet with Xi will be played in every WWIII documentary one day. It will be just like that Neville Chamberlain waving paper video.” The post has over 19,000 likes and has been shared more than 4,900 times.
Biden wearing a Mao clown outfit to meet with Xi will be played in every WWIII documentary one day. It will be just like that Neville Chamberlain waving paper video.pic.twitter.com/kF74uIsU6o— Jesse Kelly (@JesseKellyDC) November 14, 2022
On the shared video, there is a Tiktok watermark that leads to the profile of @mr.ravuth187.
@mr.ravuth187 Replying to @Ly Da ♬ សំឡេងដើម - 🇰🇭Mak _Lai🇰🇭
The original video has garnered over 3.4 million views on TikTok. It shows Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wearing high-collared silk shirts and walking side by side in a busy carpeted room.
However, the footage does not show Biden during his meeting with Jinping on Monday, but at an ASEAN summit two days earlier.
The most obvious clue can be spotted at the end of the TikTok video, when the letters ‘ASEAN’ appear on a screen in the background.
The TikTok user who filmed the original video also posted other clips on his account that show other moments of the ASEAN summit. In one of the videos, the blue screen seen on the video with Biden is shown from a different angle.
According to the White House pool, Biden was dressed in “a traditional Cambodian garment made of silk”.
World leaders wearing traditional local attire for APEC/ ASEAN summits is a custom. For example, a 2001 photo shows Russian President Vladimir Putin and former US President George W. Bush wearing traditional Chinese silk coats at the APEC Summit in Shanghai. Meanwhile, in 2017, former US president Donald Trump wore a Philippine traditional dress at the ASEAN Summit dinner.
Biden did meet Xi Jinping at the G20 leaders’ summit in Bali on Monday 14 November. It was the first in-person meeting between the two superpower leaders since the US president took office.
However, both men wore Western-style business suits, as can be seen in various photos published by news outlets and agencies of the event.