In the wake of the Chinese President visiting the United States, and receiving a lavish state dinner last night, there was a backlash from detractors of the communist country.
On the plaza outside of the podium yesterday, there were human rights protesters, Tibetan rights advocates, and others who strongly oppose the oppressive government’s treatment of it’s people.
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President Hu Jintao was not very responsive when asked about human rights during the question and answer segment of the press conference. President Hu was uncommunicative with journalists as they were questioning him on the human rights questions.
Hu went into the US congress today.
The Chinese president, Hu Jintao, today received a skeptical and hostile reception when he visited the US Congress.
Both Republicans and Democrats attacked China’s human rights record and alleged currency manipulation at America’s expense, and accused Beijing of bullying its neighbors.
Hu held private meetings with John Boehner, the House Speaker, and the Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, both of whom rejected invitations to the state dinner for the Chinese leader last night.
The Republican leader in the Senate, Mitch McConnell, also turned down an invitation to the dinner. The only member of the Congressional “big four” to attend was the Democratic leader in the House and former Speaker, Nancy Pelosi.
The chilly reception on Capitol Hill contrasted with Hu’s day at the White House yesterday, where Barack Obama pressed the Chinese leader on human rights but otherwise emphasized common ground.
Reid – the most powerful Democrat in Congress – referred to Hu as a “dictator” in an interview on Tuesday. He made a half-hearted retraction yesterday, saying: “Maybe I shouldn’t have said ‘dictator,’ but they have a different type of government than we have – and that is an understatement.”
Members of the House and Senate have expressed anger towards China over the strength of its currency – which they claim is being deliberately manipulated by Beijing – and threatened punitive measures.
The House foreign affairs committee held a meeting yesterday to coincide with Hu’s visit to the White House.
Among those at the meeting was Republican congressman Dana Rohrabacher, who told CNN that Hu’s China was “a gangster regime that murders its own people”. In a separate interview, Rohrabacher described the Chinese government as “Nazis”.
More than 80 members of Congress have signed a letter saying US patience with the currency dispute is exhausted, and more than 30 signed a separate letter calling for the release of the Chinese dissident and Nobel peace prizewinner Liu Xiaobo.
Sherrod Brown, a Democratic senator, said he would join the Republican senator Olympia Snowe to propose legislation to allow US companies to seek higher duties on some Chinese goods to compensate for China’s built-in currency advantage.
Although Pelosi attended the state dinner, her office issued a statement critical of China. “Since the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989, there has been bipartisan concern in the Congress about the human rights situation in China and Tibet, the support of the Chinese government for rogue states, and China’s unfair trade practices, which have ballooned our trade deficit from $5bn a year to $5bn a week,” she said.
John McCain, one of the Republicans due to meet Hu, told Reuters before the meeting: “I will emphasis that China cannot be a major influence in the world and abuse human rights. They have not met our expectations and the predictions of many.”
As China perceives itself that it is conquering the economic world, there are those who would disagree. The Chinese in the world stage has emerged as an economic superpower, and have decidedly upped the ante on challenging the US in economic power, however, the US will be disputing that view, and is maintaining the title of the number one world super power, although just barely.
Congress has understood the violations made by the Chinese government to it’s citizens, and are holding President Hu responsible and answerable.
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