American Elephants

And What Message Will President Hu Take Back to China? by The Elephant's Child

The line from Twitter was “The 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner holds a State Dinner for a man who has the 2010 winner under House Arrest.”  A senior U.S. official tells the Telegraph that Obama did bring up Liu Xiaobo’s case with Hu privately, and Hu told Obama not to interfere in China’s internal affairs.

Other Chinese dissidents are Gao Zhisheng, a human rights lawyer who disappeared in 2009. The account of his mistreatment in prison has been released this year, by his wife Geng He.   Hu Jia, a Chinese AIDS activist, disappeared in 2006, and reappeared 6 weeks later with kidney damage.  He was  put under house arrest with his wife Zeng Jinyan.  She maintained a blog in support of her husband which was shut down.  She and her daughter disappeared in 2008.  Ziao Llianhi organized a support group for children sickened by tainted milk.  He was found guilty of inciting social disorder and sentenced to prison.  There are 5,700 political prisoners in China.

President Obama apparently believes that State Dinners are an occasion to flatter other nations into a warmer relationship.  It is not working.

We have had state dinners for Mexico and India.  Our closest allies like England, Australia, Canada, France and Japan are studiously ignored, although Obama has proclaimed Nicholas Sarkozy as his new best friend.

We believe, apparently, in engagement.  I wonder how many attendees at that state dinner could tell the difference between the $398 bottles of wine and a slightly more thrifty choice?

The Chinese crave recognition and power, so for them a state visit is extremely important.  Did we get any resolution of the issue of the valuation of currency or the theft of intellectual property? China’s disrespect for intellectual property is legendary.  G.E plans this week to sign a joint-venture agreement under which it will share its most sophisticated airplane electronics with China’s state-owned Aviation Industry Corp of China (AVIC).  Another urgent matter for discussion was North Korea and the problem of their nuclear proliferation. Results?

China has offered to allow us to keep the pandas in the National Zoo for another five years.

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