Zhuang Zedong, a key figure in the “ping-pong diplomacy” between China and the US in 1971, died today.
He was 72 and had cancer.
A three-times world table tennis champion, Mr Zhuang presented a gift to the US player Glenn Cowan after he accidentally boarded the Chinese team bus at the world championships in Japan.
Under orders from Mao Zedong, the US team was then invited to China. Ten months later, President Richard Nixon made a surprise visit to China, leading to diplomatic ties being established in 1979.