Jackie Chan and Yo-Yo Ma help welcome China's leader

  • @AlistairDawber

For Chinese-Americans in Washington, the only party in town on Wednesday night was the state dinner at the White House. The courtiers from the Chinese embassy and Hu Jintao's entourage from Beijing were joined by the glitterati of Chinese-American society.

The cellist Yo-Yo Ma is no stranger to the White House, having performed at Barack Obama's inauguration two years ago. The night was not strictly pleasure for the Paris-born musician, who performed three pieces from Western and Chinese composers after the dessert of balsamic ice-cream had been served.

While Yo-Yo Ma can certainly be counted among the highbrow guests at the dinner, not everyone fell into that category. Jackie Chan, the Hollywood star who lists The Tuxedo and Rush Hour Two among his acting credits, was also an invitees Like the Chinese Premier, the Hong Kong-born actor eschewed the black-tie dress code. BD Wong, the star of Seven Years in Tibet, was also among the Hollywood stars to attend.

Michelle Kwan may be symbolic of future ties. An Olympic silver medallist figure skater, Ms Kwan enjoys huge popularity in US, where she is counted among the country's leading sportswomen, and is well known in China.

Many business leaders were at the White House, but media tycoon Rupert Murdoch was too busy to join his Chinese-born wife Wendi Deng Murdoch at the White House. Designer Vera Wang was also a guest, and well placed to cast a critical eye over the First Lady's Alexander McQueen-designed dress.