Here’s the video of the Chinese heckler at Hu’s speech. Heckling is an enshrined tradition, but even I was amazed that the Bush people didn’t stop her sooner. It just went on and on and on. Here’s a trivia fact. According to MSNBC, this is the second time the heckler had heckled a Chinese leader. In 2001, she confronted Jiang Zemin and told him to stop the killing. Dan Froomkin writes about all the diplomatic faux pas during the White visit. According to one bulletin board poster,
“The U.S. can allow protestors to enter the White House!” said one message last week. “This just shows they can safeguard citizens’ freedom of speech. Then look at China: filter, select, control what people can get. That’s the difference between these two countries.”
Here’s a great political blogger to add to your rss reader: China Confidential . Here’s two takes by this person on the diplomatic ruckus:
there is a huge difference between dealing with China’s suspect policies and deliberately disrespecting the country. Much as we agree with the need to effectively and properly prod–or pressure–China into becoming a “responsible stakeholder” in the international community, to use a currently fashionable Bush team term, the administration’s handling of Hu’s visit was shocking in its insensitivity to the political needs and prestige of a nation that is both a powerful competitor and potentially dangerous adversary.
It was left to Microsoft chairman Bill Gates and former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to properly receive and entertain the leader of the world’s most populous and fastest growing nation. In sharp contrast, the Bush administration treated Hu to a stunning lesson in face loss, starting with its stubborn refusal to hold a formal state dinner in Hu’s honor. Instead of the elegant and elevating event Chinese officials sought for domestic political and international prestige purposes, Hu was invited to an awkward working lunch; and the White House arrival ceremony, marred by disruptive protest and an astonishing series of embarrassing gaffes, is likely to be remembered as a diplomatic disaster.
Evidently, the Bush administration’s idea of diplomacy is to lecture or bully its rivals–and allies–into going along with every US scheme, dream, policy and program … every American-sponsored solution, prescription, remedy, and reform … or else. Or else what? Sadly for the US, it is steadily losing influence in China when it most needs it. American leverage is limited–and shrinking. As the huge trade imbalance between the countries continues to swell, China is increasingly viewing Washington, which ironically depends on Beijing to help finance America’s ballooning debt, as a bit of a … paper tiger … a dying hegemon, to use an old Maoist propaganda term.
Extensive coverage comes from EastSouthWestNorth.
For those keeping score at home, here are the Asian political blogs I keep up with: Peking Duck (republication of lots of articles, including those by NYT columnists), China Digital Times, (summaries of American press on China), EastSouthWestNorth (person who translates lots of Chinese articles and blogs, great stuff!), Rahoi.com (hilarious haircut blog by Asiaphile Jon Rahoi), Brad Setser (currency economist who follows the trade deficit and Asian economies closely). Useless Tree (reflections on Asia by Asia Studies professor Sam Crane). Here’s a roundup of other English language China blogs.
I blogged about Falung Gong a few years ago on my Asiafirst weblog:
Ownby traces the origins to the Ming era, writing that Qigong (a Chinese system of discipline and exercises that reduces stress and anxiety) dated from “White Lotus” Buddhism of the Song dynasty and that the Chinese government even encouraged such practices in the 1980’s as a way to reduce health care costs (!). He writes, ” So for a certain period, for a good 10-15 years anyway, Qigong was given the go ahead and groups were allowed to organize legally. You could sign up with a Qigong research institute as a legal organization and what began to happen was quite remarkable, a phenomenon of modern marketing. It came to be very much like what you see on televangelism in the United States. In other words, Qigong masters would go around the country and give lectures in all the major cities, and minor ones as well. And they would charge entry fees, then they would sell books, they would sell audio cassettes, video cassettes, just like morning talk shows in America – you know, Julia Child sells her latest cookbook or whatever — and these guys made a ton of money. They even got outside of China, went to Taiwan, to Hong Kong… Many people here I am sure can confirm this.On college campuses in the 1980s and part of the 1990s there was what was called the “Qigong re” the Qigong craze. Everyone was sort of into Qigong and there were ideas that you could capture the Qigong from trees. Later on they decided it was not nice to the trees so they moved on to something else. But it was just a craze that hit and it was seen as entirely normal, I think, by most people. I think most young people just thought it was sort of fun — the people I talked to anyway. They did not really know why these things worked but they certainly seemed to work for certain things, certainly for health. This all comes back to health, pretty much. “
(I assume you’ve already seen Clive Thompson’s longish story in NYT about China and censorship).
(Once more, I wish I could do more blogging about Asia).