Chinese state news agency denies leader's cab ride

AP News
Posted: Apr 18, 2013 7:21 AM

BEIJING (AP) — China's official Xinhua News Agency has denied a report that President Xi Jinping took a mystery cab ride last month.

Hong Kong's Ta Kung Pao, a newspaper with close links to China's ruling Communist Party, reported Thursday that Xi took the 26-minute, 8.2-kilometer (5-mile) ride March 1 as claimed by taxi driver Guo Lixin. The report said Xi was accompanied by another passenger.

A Xinhua reporter issued a statement on China's Twitter-like website Weibo saying Beijing transport authorities confirmed the trip, but it was swiftly deleted. Xinhua then issued a statement saying further checking showed the report was false.

While Xi has sought to portray himself as in-touch with regular people, Chinese leaders are surrounded by heavy security and it would be highly unusual for him to take public transport.