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"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?"

Pointed questions await visit by Obama

November 15, 2009

Wang Xiang and Wang Yanlin
Shanghai Daily (People's Republic of China)
November 14, 2009

CHINA Netizens are generating a long list of
questions for US President Barack Obama's visit
to Shanghai, including some pointed references to
Osama bin Laden and the Dalai Lama, Obama's
recent Nobel Peace Prize, ongoing trade friction
and even an intervention for basketball superstar Yao Ming.

The queries are being collected by Xinhua news
agency and People's Daily Online for possible
inclusion in a question-and-answer session with
young people planned for Monday in Shanghai, the
first stop on Obama's four-day visit to China.

This is the first time that China has solicited
questions from Internet users for a high-level
diplomatic visit, and it allows more people to
get involved in Obama's first trip to China, said
Shen Dingli, executive dean of the Institute of
International Studies at Shanghai's Fudan University.

Online forums are buzzing with questions that
reflect a mix of anxiety and expectation toward
the United States among China's estimated 300 million Internet users.

Most questions related to Obama's possible
meeting with the Dalai Lama, which was severely
criticized by Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman
Qin Gang on Thursday as "humiliating and bullying Chinese feelings."

"How would Americans feel if our leader hugged
Osama Bin Laden like US presidents did to the
Dalai Lama?" asked one Internet user. "The
meeting would hurt our feelings, and we are all
hoping for mutual respect in this relationship."

Some said they were disturbed by what they see as
US protectionism in anti-dumping cases filed
against Chinese tires and steel pipes.

"My factory suffers greatly from the pipe
anti-dumping case," said one Netizen, "Many
workers in my factory have lost their jobs, and I was almost let go, too."

Other Chinese were worried about the US navy cruising the world.

"Mr President, do you think it is a little ironic
to receive the Nobel Peace Prize while American
troops are deployed all over the world and
involved in two wars?" asked one Netizen.

Obama's personal charisma may have diminished the
anxieties of many Chinese, however. Some want to
know his secret for squeezing time for exercise out of his busy schedule.

Another quipped, "You certainly don't worry about
having a wife on magazine covers."

Other questioners seemed to give Obama credit for
having more power than he actually enjoys.

One basketball fan pleaded with the president to
get the National Basketball Association to allow
Yao Ming and the Houston Rockets to win the championship.

Obama will arrive in Shanghai tomorrow night. He
will meet top city officials on Monday morning
and deliver a speech at the Shanghai Science and
Technology Museum on Monday afternoon, which is
scheduled to be broadcast live. The
question-and-answer session will be part of that appearance.

Accompanying Obama, US Secretary of State Hillary
Clinton will visit the site of the 2010 World Expo on Monday.

Obama will leave Shanghai later Monday and fly to
Beijing, where he will meet with Chinese leaders.
The last stop on his Asian tour will be Seoul, South Korea.
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