Diplomatic panic gripped the new headquarters of the Chinese delegation in New York, after officials realised their front door opened to a view of a public lavatory.
The discovery was made after China had spent millions of dollars refurbishing the building, once the headquarters of a perfume company. It is on 35th Street East, next to a rare patch of green, St Vardon's Park, which was thought to be excellent Feng Shui.
Then, too late, somebody noticed a small building in the park, across from the front door - a public loo.
"This is extremely bad Feng Shui," said Nimita Parmar, editor of the magazine Feng Shui for Modern Living. "It means any positive energy there is will be flushed down the pan."
Moving the "comfort station" - as the New York City Parks Department insists on calling it - was not on, a spokesman said, because it was "a stationary structure". And public loos, rare in the Big Apple, are a resource not to be squandered lightly.
The Chinese suggested erecting a wall between their building and the park. The city rejected that. A plan for billboards met the same fate. Then they compromised on new trees and shrubs. If this does not work, the front door will have to be moved round the corner to First Avenue.
The Independent on Sunday approached an embarrassed Ranfeng Chen, of the Chinese delegation. "Does this have anything to do with you in London?" he asked.
Ms Parmar said the trees should "alleviate" the situation, but it would be better to put up a special Pa Kwa mirror to deflect negative energy. If that did not work, there was "not much hope for their diplomatic efforts at the UN", she added.Reuse content