Home > Foreign Relations, human rights, Opinion, politics > A simple take on the Hu Jintao U.S. visit with respect to Western media

A simple take on the Hu Jintao U.S. visit with respect to Western media

I am sure many of you have been following Chinese President Hu and U.S. President Obama’s speeches and Q&A’s with the media over the last couple of days. The governments are absolutely trying to be constructive in their relations. For that, it’s been refreshing to see.

After hearing them speak directly, I must say though, the nuances in the Western media are largely lost. They are not going to be respectful of China having a different political system as Obama acknowledged. They are not going to accept that China has a different history as Obama apparently understood. They are not going to be respectful of China as Obama has shown.

What that means for me personally is the realization that to understand the world around us, it is always better to hear or read from the sources directly when possible. We should minimize our views of the world from media spin as much as possible. The Western media are foremost for themselves. We should never forget that.

China Daily has highlighted Hu addressing the human rights issue: “Hu Jintao addresses human rights issues.” I am glad to see that this is a continuation of that same message Premier Wen Jiabao been articulating over the years. (See, “Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao interview by CNN’s Fareed Zakaria ignored by English ‘China’ blogs“)

  1. silentvoice
    January 21st, 2011 at 05:56 | #1

    Obama represents a minority in the current administration. Hilliary Clinton, for example, devoted most of her speech on Sino-American relations on Jan14 to hectoring China on human rights. I quote: “The longer China represses freedoms, the longer it will miss out on these opportunities and the longer that Nobel Prize winners, (signified by) empty chairs in Oslo will remain a symbol of a great nation’s unrealized potential and unfulfilled promise.” On military cooperation, she said China needed to overcome “its reluctance at times to join us in building a stable and transparent military-to-military relationship.” (The full transcript is available on the State department website).

    This tone of address is of course, not helpful in fostering the kind of relationship based on mutual respect Hu Jintao talked about. When Clinton mentions the Chinese proverb “Since we are in the same boat we should row in the same direction”, there can be no mistaking WHOSE direction she had in mind.

  2. r v
    January 21st, 2011 at 10:31 | #2

    If I was Hu, I would have demanded to personally check the humanitarian conditions of the Gitmo prisoners and the alleged Wikileak US soldier.

    If Clinton refuses, then I would have said, “Wow, thanks for the lessons in Freedoms. You can keep the Nobel prize money. You obviously need it more than I do, to run your military trials and renditions.”

  3. Charles Liu
    January 21st, 2011 at 10:58 | #3

    Maybe all this has something to do with our collective guilt and fear over our own human rights transgression.

    Even a recent article on trade and inflation manages to equate China’s export with British opium trade. Hey Businessweek, nobody is forced to buy Chinese goods at gun point.

  4. r v
    January 21st, 2011 at 18:01 | #4

    I’m not surprised by the extremist rhetorics in US political dialogs. None of us should.

    They compare each other to Hitler publicly all the time now.

    Here’s what I would say:

    OK, Chinese toys in US are like British Opium in China, but not as similar to British Opium as American Opium in China.

    And American leaders are all like Hitler, Americans admit it in public and on TV.


  5. raffiaflower
    January 22nd, 2011 at 22:01 | #5

    China conceded too much ground, just to get the whole nine yards of red carpet treatment for Hu Jintao to seal his historic legacy as the leader who presided over China’s arrival at the top table.
    1.Now China has to buy a whole bunch of jets, to alleviate the pressure on yuan revaluation; and of course continue buying useless T-bills while Helicopter Bernanke prints worthless dollars like the devil was on his tail.
    US will carry on bitching about how China is encouraging indigenous innovation at the expense of foreign corporations. But US still won’t lift the ban on high-tech exports to US.
    2.Now everyone will have to put up with American meddling in SouthEast Asia; they call it peacekeeping but if China doesn’t go along, expect more island provocations from Japan and maybe Vietnam, possibly some “unrest” in certain countries. More “incidents” in Tibet and Xinjiang go without saying.
    They want a cut of the Southeast Asian markets which are the next boom region, given that EU has gone into a swoon like a clochard on the Paris Metro.
    Of course they forget that they ruined a few Asean economies with their currency attacks, while China helpfully did not devalue the yuan.
    Chinese scientists should have re-constituted Deng Xiaoping from his DNA and sent him on a state visit to USA.
    he would have given the self-righteous pillocks an earful over Bradley Manning and Guantanamo

  6. raffiaflower
    January 22nd, 2011 at 22:02 | #6

    sorry, US won’t lift ban on hightech exports to China.

  7. January 22nd, 2011 at 22:39 | #7


    Regarding ASEAN, the U.S. will have to deliver real tangible benefits in order to alter the status quo. They will have to be ‘nice’ publicly given the U.S. is the sole superpower. China’s importance to that region has to be real to withstand whatever superficial things the U.S. wants to do. My sense given the U.S. economic crisis, the region will continue to depend on China pulling them along.

    Remember though, sovereign debt rating firm Dagong actually rated the U.S. “AA-” or something along those lines. U.S. is a relatively good choice compared to Yen, Euro. You might have noticed UK’s holdings have shot up to $500billion recently, so it’s not just China buying.

    The Europeans and the Japanese are secretly happy with U.S. blocking high-tech exports to China. U.S. exporting those to China gives more competition, giving China better price. Given where China is today, I’d expect the U.S. ban on high-tech products to amount to little impact.

    Remember though, the $19billion Boeing purchase are probably already planned. Just combining them with other deals for a whopping $45billion during Hu’s visit sounds like a great ‘win’ for Obama. It’s extremely hard to judge who has gotten a better deal. Unless of course you might have seen some break downs somewhere.

  8. raffiaflower
    January 23rd, 2011 at 01:55 | #8

    lol! Just letting off some steam.
    The Boeing deal was reportedly planned, but all part of the run-up to Hu Jintao’s visit as well.
    Obama needed a lot of justification against accusations from his enemies of being too “soft” on China, and the $$$ deals blunted (a bit) the thrust of the jagged knives.

    China is the declared Enemy Du Jour, so politicians of all stripes had to be seen talking tough, but behind the scenes, it was probably business as usual.
    Given China’s huge holdings, Dagong wouldn’t have downgraded the US ever to junk status. But personally, I really have to dump my US$ denominated funds – they have gone down 20 per cent in value and set to head further south. lol!!
    Seriously, of course, rumours of the US early demise are exaggerated, as Oscar Wilde might put it. But it badly needs to put its house in order.
    The unpopular wars and the American-led attacks on East Asian economies a decade ago have tarnished its leadership image. Most countries welcome an American presence, but it needs to act out the “responsible leadership” it shouts from the rooftops.
    Hu Jintao’s speech was written in diplomat-ese, but revealing of the “assertive” China that Western media keeps whinging about,
    The basic message is that China will not yield on its core interests, but will work together with US to create win-win solutions. This is China speaking softly with a big stick, wrapped in US$$! lol!
    I think the best pointer of the visit came from Robin Givhan, who noted that Michelle Obama wore a red dinner dress in honour of HJT; a colour that symbolizes good luck and happiness, traditionally, not Red as in Communist China.
    A simple observation that summarizes the need for Americans to reverse their ideological mindset about an important partner.

  9. January 23rd, 2011 at 02:52 | #9

    Me too, I am letting out some steam on the latest post.

    Americans need a firewall of their own to protect them from their own media!

  10. silentvoice
    January 23rd, 2011 at 07:22 | #10

    yinyang :
    Regarding ASEAN, the U.S. will have to deliver real tangible benefits in order to alter the status quo. They will have to be ‘nice’ publicly given the U.S. is the sole superpower. China’s importance to that region has to be real to withstand whatever superficial things the U.S. wants to do. My sense given the U.S. economic crisis, the region will continue to depend on China pulling them along.

    The broad trend of the future is unmistakable. ASEAN countries will be pulled more and more into China’s orbit. Just take a look at trade figures over the last 10 years. China is fast displacing, and in some cases has displaced the U.S. as Asean nations’ main trading partner. China is the first country to have established a free trade zone with Asean (and now Japan and the US are only beginning to negotiate packages of their own). Recent efforts by the Chinese government to make the RMB tradable is part of this trend. Historically, political influence always follow economic influence, whether the US likes it or not, China will become increasingly more important to the region.

  11. Charles Liu
    January 23rd, 2011 at 17:46 | #11

    Likely, read that China runs a net deficit with its neighbors.

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