Beijing is preparing for President Clinton's visit by clearing city sidewalks of bicycles and parked cars, tidying city shrubs and lawns - and removing a book on Clinton's myriad sex scandals from some bookstore shelves.
The State Publications and Press Administration, which reportedly has banned the book in the cities Clinton will visit during his June 25 to July 2 trip, refused comment.The state-owned publisher of "The Temperament of President Clinton," Xueyuan Publishing Co., said it had asked bookstores to return the book. The publisher blamed the books' disappearance from the shelves on bad bindings - not a state ban.
"There are problems with the binding that caused photo montages of Clinton with various women to fall out," said staffer Wei Rong.
Clinton is unlikely to wander into a local bookstore during his visit and even less likely to understand the book's Chinese title, but the Chinese place a high value on propriety and hospitality.
Two years ago during a high tide of anti-American sentiment, authorities removed the America-bashing book "China Can Say `No"' from Shanghai book stores in neighborhoods where then-Secretary of State Warren Christopher was expected.
The book offers far more detail about Clinton's life than the state-controlled press gives about their own leaders.