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Posted by: Bruce Einhorn on November 22, 2007
Leave it to some bureaucrats in Beijing to screw up Thanksgiving. The Chinese government seems to have reversed its bizarre last-minute refusal to allow the aircraft carrier the USS Kitty Hawk and several other U.S. Navy ships permission to land in Hong Kong for their annual Thanksgiving R&R visit. Still no explanation, of course, on why Beijing nixed the visit initially. You would think that the Chinese government had enough image problems, what with the headlines about toxic Made-in-China food and drugs and toys, without going out of its way to mess up the plans of thousands of young U.S. sailors and their families on the most American holiday of the year.
The government’s about-face may be too late to save my family’s plans, though. For the past few years, my wife and I have hosted a bunch of sailors from the Kitty Hawk for day-after-Thanksgiving dinner. (Thanksgiving Day is a regular work day in Hong Kong, and it’s also difficult for the sailors to make it on Thursday itself, so we extend the holiday to Friday night.) Ten crew members were supposed to come to us this year for turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, etc. Wednesday night we found out they weren’t coming because the Kitty Hawk couldn’t get permission to land. No word yet on whether the sailors will be able to make it now that officials say the ships are allowed in after all.
Friday morning update: The reversal from Beijing came too late. The Kitty Hawk is on its way back to Japan.
BusinessWeek’s team of Asia reporters brings you the latest insights on business, politics, technology and culture from some of the world’s biggest and fastest-growing economies. Eye on Asia’s bloggers include Asia regional editor Bruce Einhorn, Tokyo reporter Ian Rowley, Korea bureau chief Moon Ihlwan, Asia News Editor and China Bureau Chief. Dexter Roberts, and Hong Kong-based Asia correspondent Frederik Balfour.