November 21, 2005

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God, Bikes and 737s

George W. has come and gone from the Rising Neo-Celestial Empire, leaving some memorable images of his stay behind. There was of course his standard talks with Chinese leaders, reminding them of the fact that such things as human rights, democracy and a floating currency exist; they in turn reminded him of the fact that Taiwan was theirs and always will be. One day, America may not be able to lecture China on its own turf, but until that time the Chinese CCP leadership will keep their well-practiced frozen smiles on their faces. That out of the way, he talked some shop, cut a few deals, and made friendly speeches, and just happened to be in town at the same time that China placed a US$4 billion order for 70 Boeing 737s, and may be purchasing another 80 more jets from the American aerospace giant.

In short, Bush was told - we can be flexible on trade and the currency. But not on anything else.

But Bush's two most symbolic moments were outside of the Ren Min Da Hui Tang. The first was his visit to one of five Protestant churches in China, where he attended a service and signed a book asking God to bless all Christians in China. It was in fact the church he attended when his father was Ambassador to China in 1974 and 1975. Shadows of the American religious enterprise to China years ago - if you think Procter and Gamble is excited about the Chinese consumer market, wait 'til you see the evangelicals. That is the market Bush seemed particularly interested in opening...

Bush decided to also show he is a man of the people to both Chinese and American audiences by riding his bike with 6 would-be Chinese Olympians. No accidents this time - he asked them to 'take it easy on an old man', and also reminisced about riding through the hutongs as a kid in Beijing.

Speaking of Dad, he had actually come to China a week before to smooth the way for a PR exercise, and it seems his trip certainly helped in making the visit go off cordially. But one can't help but laugh a bit when the jet-lagged Bush couldn't find his way out of a press conference room (via Crooks and Liars)...perhaps a Freudian desire not to return to a hostile electorate.

posted by HK Dave on 11.21.05 at 10:52 AM in the


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