In photo, a "young" China sees an aging U.S. in retreat

In the earlier black-and-white photo from Beijing, the representatives from the West cut a striking contrast with the elderly envoys of the Qing dynasty.

But in the photo from Washington, it is the Americans who appear to be older.

“Over the past 100 years, American officials have gone from young to old, and Chinese officials have gone from old to young,” one Weibo user wrote. “This has a lot to do with the current state of the two countries. America today is just as closed off as China was 100 years ago.”

The juxtaposed photos were even shared, at one point, by the official Weibo account of the Communist Youth League.