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Obama, Hu spar over human rights, hail economic ties

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MSNBC commentators were generally critical of President Obama on this topic, faulting him, for among other things, for failing to make any reference to the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize -- who is currently in a Chinese jail.

I believe there are powerful forces within China that are pressing for continued changed in a positive direction. Any US president has to walk a fine line so as not to make things more difficult.

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yabits. I hope you are right. But there are few signs that there is an enlightened shadow government driving change in China. Just have a chat with any member of dozens of ethnic minority, religious or political groups and you will see that the Maoist fist is still very much glad in iron and very present and in control in China.

The facade we see is the face required to make money. No more benevolent than the facades put up by any corporation or anyone else trying to create a friendly media image and keep the way clear to make a profit.

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Most on this site are knowledgable about Asia, so I don't have to tell you how important "face" is. It's easy for the media and pundits to criticize not mentioning Liu Xiaobo, but think how much of a public relations disaster it would have been from Pres.Hu's perspective to bring this up in public. For some topics, behind the scene talks make a lot more sense.

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These trips are always interesting, if only to see the size and number of business deals both leaders' teams can sew up before they are announced between ritual, pomp and press opportunities. I think Obama knows he is treading a very fine line in the way he deals with a man Hu represents the U.S.' largest trading partner, 'enemy' while also being its central banker.

Every trade deal the U.S. and China sew up makes both nations less likely to go to war with each other. That can only be good despite the regular-as-clockwork anti-China venom that emanates from the U.S. Congress.

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despite the regular-as-clockwork anti-China venom that emanates from the U.S. Congress." Yo Sushi, can you elaborate on that last sentence? You mean to tell me, had Bush, under the recently Dem controlled congress that just left like two weeks ago, would have been commended for having such a lavish ceremony for China?

For those bashing China, you gotta admit, they got their country moving.

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"For those bashing China, you gotta admit, they got their country moving."

Interesting conclusion that shows very little grasp of the realities of modern China. Sure, urban and industrial China is moving, making money etc... But did you know that most Chinese still live in conditions unchanged since Mao? Or that labor and political unrest is a growing problem there? Or that repression, captial punishiment for a wide range of crimes and the suppression of thought are still the standard?

If you are a good compliant worker in an urban setting the China you see on TV is real. Anything else the reality is quite different.

I am not bashing China any more than I would be critical of any country that violates human rights. I am simply saying that we may well be building a monster by not tying human rights revisions and economic benefits together. We risk creating a wealthy repressive state that may eventually try to extend that repression outwardly.

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Just have a chat with any member of dozens of ethnic minority, religious or political groups and you will see that the Maoist fist is still very much glad in iron and very present and in control in China.

Since the China of tomorrow will be run by men and women who, as young adults, studied in the US and other Western countries, it is critical that people from the host countries engage with them as much as possible. I believe its the cultural ties that we develop that will have the biggest impact on China's future.

It's easy for the media and pundits to criticize not mentioning Liu Xiaobo, but think how much of a public relations disaster it would have been

I strongly agree with you, paulinusa. Not mentioning Liu other than in private conversation has probably helped him more than we can imagine.

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Skip, sure I'll elaborate. I'm talking about the increasing instances of the U.S. Congress coming out with statements and bills slamming China's suppossed currency manipulation, trade imbalance, etc. The latter, of course, is a problem largely of America's making, not that there's many in Congress who will admit it.

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yabits: I wouldn't be surprised if Liu Xiaobo and his wife end up in the West in the not too distant future.

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I am not bashing China any more than I would be critical of any country that violates human rights.

tkoind2, I think you make excellent points. China, for its goods and ills, is a fascinating nation. One of the "arts" they are devoting a great deal of resources and manpower to is cyberwarfare. I believe they are doing this in reaction to past feelings of vulnerability and technical backwardness.

They've set very high bars for themselves in so many areas and one can't help but admire them for that.

Also, I think that many Chinese believe that the American age has now come and gone. In an article I read recently, an American professor was surprised to learn that his Chinese students were turning down the chance to advance in their English studies to devote themselves to, of all things, Latin. When asked why, the students replied that it was imperative that they learn what kept the Roman empire going for a thousand years.

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sushi, did you just gaf my question? I asked you if Bush had given Hu such an elaborate welcome, would the then dem controlled congress and senate have clapped as much as they are now?

TKOID: Interesting conclusion that shows very little grasp of the realities of modern China. Sure, urban and industrial China is moving, making money etc... " I firmly believe everyone on this board has traveled to China a few times and are fully aware of its problems and fully understand that at least half the fear mongering is unwarranted. But, they are moving unlike they have ever. They are moving a lot faster than Japan at least.

But did you know that most Chinese still live in conditions unchanged since Mao?" yes, I know. Or that labor and political unrest is a growing problem there?" Yes, fully aware

Or that repression, captial punishiment for a wide range of crimes and the suppression of thought are still the standard?" why put repression in the same sentence of capital punishment? I personally feel they deserve praise in many areas of CP

I am not bashing China any more than I would be critical of any country that violates human rights." Then you should welcome ALL criticism not just selective

I am simply saying that we may well be building a monster by not tying human rights revisions and economic benefits together." That monster was built a long time ago. All we can do now is deal with it whether you like it or not. Look how they act: if we were to say boycott them in anyway, they'd come out with some harsh words.

We risk creating a wealthy repressive state that may eventually try to extend that repression outwardly." Widely known and that's not limited to China.

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The Human rights issue was a political 'gimmicks' western countries used to fool the Soviets, it never works in some brilliant countries like China. Business is business, they have got to do and the US congress has given up the 'stick' that hurts their own!!!

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The western world just dont understand what is Chinese politics and the people of China just 'sick' of western morale standard when bringing the so called human rights. The western world has nothing known as morale but hypocrisy, their little show was running out of steam! In the 19th century imperial powers usinh opium and gunships to brought Chinese to knees! After the Korean war, they brought out the nuclear holocaust as their big sick, after 1979, the west brought out economic sanctions and now they brought out the so-called 'Universal views and values'!The west was 'shy' of their little tricks never works! China is no GDR, her shear populations can subsatin1 million people immigranted to the west and going even more stronger. Our 'tanks' not just running around in Tianmen square now is running in the rose garden of white house!

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SushiSake: I'm talking about the increasing instances of the U.S. Congress coming out with statements and bills slamming China's suppossed currency manipulation, trade imbalance, etc

Um, but Sushi, they do manipulate their currency and it does help to create a large trade imbalance. And your shocked (SHOCKED!) that some politicians might want to bring that up? heh

SushiSake: also being its central banker.

I think China owns somewhere in the range of 7% of the US debt. I know you have a new catchphrase to play with but you'll have to keep in mind that not everyone you talk to is brainless, although I know that generally is your target audience.

You should stick to Republican bashing. It's a lot easier to just make stuff up when you do that.

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“I absolutely believe China’s peaceful rise is good for the world”

Neville Chamberlain could not have said it better. Hitler’s rise seemed “peaceful enough” to those who sought to appease Hitler until he invaded Austria and the rest of Europe.

Things aren’t always as they seem. Russia recently struck in Georgia… Didn’t figure that was gonn happen, now did we? What did the West do? Nothing. North Korea sinks a South Korean war ship and shells and island in South Korea. North Korea gets its way and isn’t even spanked for it, but is appeased by China. So N.Korea continues making / testing nuclear bombs and firing missiles in the Sea of Japan whenever kim ill feels like it.

Ahhh… I don’t know if anyone is watching or not out there, but, ah…Hello? European and America debt threaten to crash the global economy. Sorry, but, they don’t think like we do. The Chinese see failed economies in the west as a huge opportunity to talk about things like “the dollar is a relic” and a “thing of the past”. They see us as weak politically as the leader of the western world Obama gets thrashed in the last election. They are only too happy to be a global economic super nova without firing a shot.

So why the hell are they building up their navy and making stealth fighter jets if they don’t plan to challenge US hegemony? Naaaaah… it will never happen.

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"The Chinese see failed economies in the west as a huge opportunity to talk about things like “the dollar is a relic” and a “thing of the past”. "

China is still showing 6-8 percent GDP growth, even though their exports are down over 25 percent.

There is a correction coming.

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So why the hell are they building up their navy and making stealth fighter jets if they don’t plan to challenge US hegemony? Naaaaah… it will never happen." IMHO, China is capable of really hurting the US, especially on the ground should it come down to that.... remember, fear works and you/we have a habit of respecting those who we fear.

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Trade imbalance are caused by top US companies who wanted to export back to US consumers. For example, ipad and iphone. If they are assembled in US, US does not need to order from China. Eight percent of china imported goods are designed by US manufacturers.

Even chinese yuan is stronger, manufacturers will not come back to states. The reason is lack of efficiency, supply chain and stable market.Most of them will move their business to Vietnam, Burma, Africa and Laos. Business is about making the profits. Not about debating in the court room.

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It is interesting with China putting troops into North Korea once again. China will always be its' people. With the people still being suppressed it is always hard to tell the true character of the people. So far the eugenics (Mao #1 and current dictator), slavery, death trucks, and organ harvesting have not stopped the Chinese people. I still have hope for these people even though they were conquered by the globalists 100's of years ago.

China is at the forefront of the Globalist's policies now. (expand military, indebt, enslave, eugenics)

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Gotta love the fact that the CCP blacked out portions of foreign newscasts of Hu's visit to the US....

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"China's peaceful rise"

Ask the Tibetans how peaceful it is.

I hear that Hu, when visiting a WalMart, asked the manager of the store, "Don't you have anything not made in China?" Hee hee!

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Athletes: Trade imbalance are caused by top US companies who wanted to export back to US consumers.

Actually, the fastest way to eliminate US trade imbalances would be to make everyone in the US poor. You're comparing a country with a +/- $40,000 a year income with a country with a +/- $6,000 a year income. Gee, which country do you think is able to buy more from the other?

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So why the hell are they building up their navy and making stealth fighter jets if they don’t plan to challenge US hegemony? if i have a former invader (japan) next door allied with a country (u.s.) with military bases all over the region...not to mention sharing borders with countries like india & russia, wouldn't it be prudent to modernize one's defenses?

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U.S. should force China to let its currency float or impose tariffs on their products imported into this country. What would a 25% tariff on Chinese imports do to our economy? Think Wal-Mart rising prices. Many may think this is a good thing, Wal-Mart does not compete fair. No matter where you buy it, they all come from China. The political establishment told us we would all be ok if the government rescued the banks and the Fed would pump trillions into the economy to replace private investment. Now they want to divert the attention from their failures and label China a ‘monetary manipulator.’ Why answer hard questions, maybe they can make our economy worse and blame it on the Chinese. U.S. should Press cases on individual imported items by filing complaints with the WTO if there is evidence of dumping or other unfair competition.

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"Actually, the fastest wa to eliminate trade imbalances would be to make everyone in the US poor"

Give the Bamster another 4 years.

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Sarge, why wait? Your 2 votes for bush already helped cripple the U.S. economy and send millions into poverty. But, yeah, it's all Obama's fault.

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sfjp330: U.S. should force China to let its currency float or impose tariffs on their products imported into this country.

It's not that easy. China needs to create an absurd amount of jobs every year or face civil unrest. I'm sure they know they're making a lot of people angry and losing face on the world stage with an undervalued currency, but an uprising is the much greater fear, and that's trumping everything else right now. If the currency jumps too fast it could case China to implode which would pretty much screw everyone else...so be careful what you wish for.

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Actually, the fastest way to eliminate US trade imbalances would be to make everyone in the US poor. You're comparing a country with a +/- $40,000 a year income with a country with a +/- $6,000 a year income.

The fastest way to eliminate the trade imbalance is a structure change, raising import duties and spending cut. US was very easy to get the credit or loan for consumption.China is not US consumers and Government used to spend the borrowed money like no more tomorrows. Loan or credit is an another meaning of debt.

As per capita income, China is many times poorer than states. However most of the population has higher saving for their retirement and Medical expenses. US treasury bonds are financed by these poor people saving who has no safety net. If US dollar keep losing the value, they may diversify for the safety of their life time saving. The simpler word is US dollar may be no longer sustained as reserve currency.

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SuperLib at 10:07 AM JST - 21st January. It's not that easy. China needs to create an absurd amount of jobs every year or face civil unrest.

Who cares about China and their domestic problems. In a last four years, U.S. had over $1 trillion dollars in trade deficiet. There is a terrible irony in these lost jobs and shrinking wages, to buy the foreign goods that closed U.S. factories and cut working Americans' income, the U.S. has to borrow billions in foreign funds with interest. The trade deficit is so lucrative that the very countries which have run up large trade surpluses with the U.S., such as China and Japan, are also among America's major lenders. This tremendous borrowing and the trade deficit it finances provides Americans with access to a wide variety of foreign-made goods at relatively low prices. This means that Americans have a higher standard of living because of the trade deficit and the willingness of foreign investors to subsidize it. But the U.S. trade deficit and the foreign borrowing that funds it, could not be sustained indefinitely. The deficit and debt show U.S. is just living way beyond its means. At the same time they will have to pay off some of the interest and principle on the trillions they have borrowed from abroad. Even worse, with U.S. industries destroyed, Americans will not find it easy to substitute their manufactures for the now expensive foreign imports. The net result will be a dramatic decline in consumption and a significant drop in the standard of living for working Americans.

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What, in brief, can be said about Hu's important State Visit? It seems that the United States got what it wanted on reining in North Korea and the signing of beneficial trade deals worth US$45 billion but lost out on re-valuing the yuan and remains concerned about China's military build-up.

Hu last visited the US in April 2006, with little fanfare. This time the official welcome was much different and much more high profile. In Washington, Hu repeatedly said his visit to the US was "to increase mutual trust, enhance friendship, deepen cooperation and advance the positive and comprehensive China-US relationship for the 21st century." He also told the US-China Business Council that China's economy had grown by an annual average of 11% in the past decade and had average imports of US$687 billion, creating 14 million jobs in other countries.

President Obama, whilst being the hospitable host, spoke plainly - touching on Taiwan, Tibet, Iran, the Sudan and the Korean Peninsula - indicating that Washington was not about to cede its role as both a Pacific power and a world force in spite of China's dramatic rise. President Hu remained deferential to the declining superpower, acknowledging Washington's concerns about North Korean aggression and human rights, yielding a little on each issue without falling over to please his American hosts.

There are, however, a number of hard cold facts - known well to both leaders - which impact upon the kind of relationship that the US and China have. China is now the largest creditor of the US, holding around US$900 billion in US Treasury Bonds. Further, US federal debt is about to reach more than US$14.3 trillion, almost 100% of US GDP. Moreover, despite Obama's call for the yuan to strengthen faster against the dollar, China is holding firm on its currency regime.

Perhaps the greatest worrisome factor for Washington is Beijing's expanding and ever more powerful military capability - despite sweeping assurances from Hu that China is no threat to any nation and will never adopt an expansionist policy.

The Chinese Government's published 2010 military budget was US$77.95 billion, the second largest in the world, up 7.5% from 2009 (when it stood at US$70.3 billion.) Other estimates of China's actual spending are different. SIPRI appraises that PRC military spending in 2009 was US$100 billion; whilst the US Defense Department calculates such spending for 2009 at US$150 billion.

Whatever the true level of expenditure, Chinese military forces have been developing an array of advanced weaponry, including new nuclear ballistic and cruise missiles, anti-satellite and cyber-attack weaponry as well as new conventional ships, aircraft and ground-warfare capabilities.

The US fears that China is developing a layered military capability, which will allow it to strike decisive blows against adversaries close to the mainland and then employ harassing "guerrilla" air and sea tactics deeper in the Pacific to slow US forces rushing to the region.

It is these pressing realities that lay behind the friendly smiles and diplomatic toasts at the gala functions in The White House this past week. The United States is finding that it must, measure by measure, accommodate China as the world's second largest economy and most populous nation.

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