US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed on Monday that she unknowingly consumed hallucinogenic mushrooms during a recent trip to China but experienced no negative effects from it. The revelation caused a temporary buzz on Chinese social media after a local blogger shared that Yellen had eaten the wild and potentially psychedelic mushroom called jian shou qing at a famous Yunnanese restaurant chain in Beijing.
The restaurant, commenting on the incident, stated that their staff knew Yellen loved mushrooms and she had consumed four servings of it, resulting in what they deemed as an “extremely magical day”. However, Yellen told CNN’s Erin Burnett that she had no knowledge of the mushrooms’ hallucinogenic properties at the time, and only learned about it later. She explained that a guide had placed the order for her group.
During the interview with Burnett, Yellen assured that she and her companions felt no ill effects from consuming the mushrooms, stating that she had read that if the mushrooms were cooked properly, as she believed they were at the restaurant, they would have no impact. It is worth noting that the jian shou qing mushroom is non-psychoactive when cooked thoroughly. Nevertheless, improper preparation can render it toxic, leading to its inclusion in the Botanical Society of Yunnan’s catalog of poisonous mushrooms last year. This sparked a discussion about whether the beloved regional delicacy should still be served. However, the mushroom remains popular and the restaurant chain has experienced a surge in bookings since Yellen was seen enjoying the dish.
Yellen’s visit to Beijing occurred at a time of strained US-China relations. Despite US President Joe Biden referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping as a “dictator” and urging Asian allies to exclude China from semiconductor supply chains, Yellen reiterated that the US was not seeking to decouple its economy from China’s or gain an economic advantage over Beijing.
However, her visit did little to improve relations between the two superpowers. In the weeks following her trip, Yellen boasted about Washington’s plans to reduce Chinese economic influence by drawing countries like India and Vietnam away. Meanwhile, Biden reportedly referred to China as an economic “ticking time bomb” run by “bad folks” engaged in “bad things.”
The incident involving Yellen and the hallucinogenic mushrooms may have garnered attention, but it did not have a significant impact on the overall US-China relationship. Both countries continue to navigate their economic and political differences while searching for areas of cooperation.
In conclusion, Janet Yellen’s accidental consumption of hallucinogenic mushrooms during her visit to China created a brief buzz on social media. However, she maintained that she experienced no ill effects and was unaware of the mushrooms’ properties at the time. The incident did not have a notable impact on US-China relations, which remain strained due to various economic and political factors.