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Demonstrators Mass for Bush-Hu Meeting

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  • Greg Cannon
    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060420/ap_on_go_pr_wh/hu_visit;_ylt=Aljr1Hlbyg0BcjecrSrEcAas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ-- Demonstrators Mass for Bush-Hu
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 20, 2006
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      http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060420/ap_on_go_pr_wh/hu_visit;_ylt=Aljr1Hlbyg0BcjecrSrEcAas0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA2Z2szazkxBHNlYwN0bQ--

      Demonstrators Mass for Bush-Hu Meeting

      By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer 3 minutes
      ago

      WASHINGTON - While President Bush and Chinese
      President Hu Jintao hoped their discussions inside the
      White House would cool tensions over a yawning
      U.S.-China trade gap, demonstrators massed outside
      Thursday to protest Beijing's human rights policies.

      The talks between Bush and Hu, who was visiting the
      Washington for the first time as China's leader, were
      expected to produce little in the way of substance on
      the trade dispute and no breakthroughs on the major
      irritant — China's tightly controlled currency.

      After two days spent wooing American business leaders
      in Washington state, Hu arrived Wednesday night in
      Washington for the half-day summit for what were
      expected to be frank discussions about America's $202
      billion trade deficit with China, the biggest ever
      recorded with a single country.

      That imbalance has spurred calls in Congress to impose
      punitive tariffs on Chinese products unless China
      halts trade practices that critics contend are unfair
      and have contributed to the loss of nearly 3 million
      U.S. manufacturing jobs since 2001.

      The visit attracted high-profile attention both inside
      and outside the White House gates. The spiritual
      movement Falun Gong, condemned by the Chinese
      government as an evil cult, gathered hundreds of
      demonstrators on street corners near the White House
      in the early morning. Marchers banged gongs, chanted
      and waved American and Chinese flags. Banners
      denounced Hu as a "Chinese dictator" responsible for
      genocide and other "crimes in Chinese labor camps and
      prisons."

      The Chinese government had its say as well. In a
      median in front of the Chinese embassy, the Falun Gong
      protesters that are nearly always there had been
      replaced by Chinese supporters holding huge
      red-and-yellow banners offering to "warmly welcome" Hu
      on his American visit.

      There were some obvious signs that the summit was not
      considered on the U.S. side as a "state visit." Though
      the Chinese flag flew over Blair House, the official
      guest quarters for visiting dignitaries across the
      street from the White House, lamp posts surrounding
      the compound were bare of the usual pairing of flags
      from the United States and its guest country.

      In addition to trade, Bush was to raise a number of
      other issues with Hu, including a bid for China's help
      in dealing with current nuclear standoffs with North
      Korea and Iran, complaints about China's human rights
      record and questions over China's growing military
      strength and whether it poses a threat to Taiwan.

      The two sides have even disputed what to call the
      visit, with the Chinese insisting that it is a "state
      visit," which was the designation former President
      Jiang Zemin received in 1997, or an "official visit,"
      the designation the Bush administration is using for
      Hu's trip.

      While Hu was not receiving a black-tie state dinner,
      he was being greeted by a 21-gun salute on the South
      Lawn of the White House and a formal lunch for China's
      first family, with music supplied by a Nashville
      bluegrass band.

      For his part, Hu has carried on a tradition started by
      Deng Xiaoping on his first visit to the United States
      in 1979 of courting American business executives in
      recognition of the fact that the United States is
      China's biggest overseas market.

      Hu had dinner at the home of Microsoft Corp. Chairman
      Bill Gates on Tuesday and on Wednesday he received a
      warm welcome from employees at Boeing Co.'s massive
      Everett, Wash., facilities.

      Last week, a contingent of more than 200 Chinese trade
      officials and business executives toured the United
      States, signing sales contracts for $16.2 billion in
      American goods, including 80 Boeing jetliners, all in
      an effort to show that China is trying to bring down
      the massive trade gap between the two nations.

      White House officials said in advance of Thursday's
      meetings that they did not expect any major
      announcements on currency or other trade issues,
      noting that China did make several commitments last
      week such as requiring that all personal computers
      sold in China be loaded with legal software and
      agreeing to drop a ban on imports of U.S. beef.

      Some small progress may be made in the area of energy,
      where China's rapidly growing economy has increased
      global demand for crude oil, pushing prices higher,
      and sent China rushing to lock up sources of supply in
      such questionable areas as Sudan, Burma and Iran.

      But without movement on the currency problem,
      congressional critics are likely to be unimpressed
      with the results of the meeting.

      ___

      On the Net:

      U.S. Trade Representative: http://www.ustr.gov

      CIA's World Factbook site on China: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ch.html
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