Join our Mailing List

"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Hu Jintao bristles: Back off on Tibet and Taiwan

January 24, 2011

Chinese President Hu Jintao, addressing business leaders in Washington,
said any US-China relationship must be based on mutual respect, calling
Tibet and Taiwan core Chinese interests.

By Howard LaFranchi, Staff writer

Christian Science Monitor: posted January 20, 2011 at 6:04 pm EST

Washington —

Chinese President Hu Jintao used a lunch address with US business
leaders Thursday to underscore the theme he has sought to establish for
his state visit to Washington: Both countries as well as the world can
benefit from enhanced US-China cooperation, but it must be cooperation
based on mutual respect.

Just in case it was unclear to anyone what Mr. Hu meant, he spelled it
out with two examples. The US, he said, must recognize that Taiwan and
Tibet are “issues that concern China’s territorial integrity and China’s
core interests.”

In other words, stay out. Hu cited the examples a day after President
Obama referred to Tibet and the Dalai Lama in a press conference with
Hu, and just hours after Nancy Pelosi, House Democratic leader, brought
up the issue of Tibet in a meeting with Hu.

RELATED: Seven questions about Hu Jintao's visit

The House minority leader also conveyed “the concerns ... on both sides
of the aisle” over the continued detention of Chinese human rights
activist Liu Xiaobo, she said in a statement. Ms. Pelosi noted the fact
that Mr. Liu was not permitted to travel to Norway in December to
receive the Nobel Peace Prize. Mr. Obama, the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize
laureate, refrained from publicly citing Liu’s case Wednesday.

Hu’s words, delivered at a luncheon in his honor sponsored by the
US-China Business Council and the National Committee on United
States-China Relations, suggested areas of potential future tension –
for example, if the US continues to sell arms to Taiwan.
Military-to-military relations between China and the US are only now
beginning to recover from the freeze they experienced after the Obama
administration announced arms sales to Taiwan more than a year ago.

Those flies in the ointment aside, Hu focused mostly on the benefits for
both countries of increased economic and security cooperation.
Addressing the commonly held view in the US that China is more of an
economic threat than an opportunity, Hu said that in fact, China had
been a bright spot for US business through the global recession.

“For many US companies, their China operations have become the most
profitable of their global operations,” he said.

 From Washington, Hu was to continue to Chicago, where he plans to visit
a Chinese-owned auto-parts factory. Such a visit will put the emphasis
on a China that creates US jobs, rather than destroying them.

Some US business leaders say they are holding out hope that Hu’s visit
will mark a genuine turn in China toward the “level playing field” for
US and other international companies that Obama called for Wednesday.
During Hu’s visit, China committed to opening markets wider – including
for government procurement contracts – and to honoring foreign
companies’ intellectual property rights.

As one example, the Chinese government announced on Wednesday that it
will audit government-office software use and publish the audit’s
results. “If the audit is thorough, the additional transparency on this
issue should result in greater software sales for US companies,” said
John Frisbie, president of the US-China Business Council, in a statement.

Only 1 in 10 users of Microsoft software in China has paid for the
product, said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft’s chief executive officer, in a
White House meeting Wednesday with US business leaders, Hu, and Obama.

Even as Hu called for mutual respect and a sense of equitable
cooperation – particularly in the Asia-Pacific – he also fell back on
the notion of China as not-quite-yet a developed global power.

“We are keenly aware that China is still the largest developing country
in the world,” he said. A day after publicly acknowledging China’s
shortcomings in the respect of human rights, Hu said, “We still have a
long way to go.... Development holds the key to all our problems.”

Hu was introduced to his audience by Henry Kissinger, the former
secretary of State and national security adviser whom President Nixon
dispatched on a secret mission to China in 1971, which led to the two
adversaries reestablishing diplomatic relations.

Recalling that Chinese leader Zhou Enlai had told him that renewed
US-China relations “will shake the world,” Dr. Kissinger said that the
current generation of US-China leader “has different task.... We are
working to build the world, not to shake it.”
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
T: (514) 487-0665   ctcoffice@tibet.ca
Developed by plank