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Posted by Jeremy Goldkorn on Monday, November 21, 2005 at 11:56 AM
This will look good on Fox, eh Laura?
In the last two weeks, a massive Sino-American shmoozefest has been taking place in Beijing with visits by President George W. Bush, his father H.W., Arnold the Governator, and a gaggle of American congressmen.
George Bush spent Sunday in Beijing going to church, cycling on the Olympic mountain biking track and meeting Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao.
Speaking in Pusan, Korea, prior to his arrival in Beijing, Bush talked about the need for religious freedom in China. But it seems that this was rhetoric intended for a U.S. audience. The Bush-supporters who run new right-wing blog portal Open Source Media lapped it up, headlining their story about Bush's China visit "Bush calls for religious freedom in China", and illustrating it with a cheesy photo of a burning candle (link below).
In Beijing however, Bush's tone was a little more restrained. In his official remarks made together with Hu Jintao, this is all he said:
It is important that social, political and religious freedoms grow in China. And we encourage China to continue making the historic transition to greater freedom.
Some commentators have connected the Party's recent commemoration of reformer Hu Yaobang, who is closely associated with the events of 1989, with the Bush visit.
These are the main statements that have resulted from the visit:
- China and the U.S. will work together to solve trade issues;
- China and the U.S. will work together to prevent bird flu;
- China will not accept any compromises over the status of Taiwan;
- China and the U.S. will work together against terrorism;
- China announced that Chinese airlines would buy 70 Boeing 737 aircraft (this is merely a statement until they actually fork over the cash for the planes).
Bush's churchgoing activities were not prominently reported in the state-owned press, although even the People's Daily did run a short article about it in English. Xinhua and other Chinese news organizations preferred pictures of Bush mountain biking.
However, a Chinese blogger and journalist with the punny name of Bu Zhe Si Liu sneaked into the church with Bush and wrote a short description of it. Here is a rough translation (there is another translation at ESWN - Anti's English Blog Is A Big Flop!
Bush's hairy hand:
I never thought I could sneak into the church.
My alarm was set for 6am, but I woke up at 5. I had only slept for three hours, but I wanted to go early. I ate some congee, grabbed my camera and headed for Gangwashi Church. Comrade Little Bush was going there to pray.
I saw cop cars speeding towards the chruch the whole way, and sure enough they were level one armed police cars. I arrived at the gate of the church. A mob of Christians were lining upto enter the church. I joined the line. Behind me was a fucking hateful old man who called out, "He isn't carrying a bible". Fuck! What the hell has it got to do with you that I don't have a Bible?
I quickly changed to a different line, and used my limited knowledge about Jesus to chat with people around me in the line and get familiar with them. I managed to get inside the church, but when I passed the security guards, they said I couldn't take a camera in. I looked for a place to store my bag and ran to the American's "command center", but the Yank said NO, I couldn't put my bag there.
I'm a journalist, you understand, just let me put it here a little while. I showed him my journalist's card, and nearly convinced him, but then a fucking traitor said, in English, Chinese journalists are not allowed to enter. Everything was screwed up by the traitor. "You must leave".
I left and found a restaurant where I could leave my bag, told the waiter I would come back in a little while. Fuck, 20 thousand yuan's worth of euqipment, I just left it like that, I've got balls.
I got back to the church and entered, took a seat in the middle. It's been a long time since I have been together with so many people singing. After starting middle school, I rarely took music classes. Next to me was a 12-year-old kid, who was baptized when he was 10. His mother works in the church. Later he will be material for the "er maozi" (Westernized Chinese).
At 7:30, Bush arrived, exactly on time. He dressed in an imposing way. Clothes make a man. Originally, quite a wretched-looking man, but he seems to have quite a demeanour, and he's neat and tidy, not bad at all. His wife was drssed completely in cream-colored clothes, two shining earrings, very elegant. As he came in, Little Bush said "Morning everyone". American politicians eh, the common people defer to them one after another, hailing and applauding them. I also saw Rice. She is not as ugly as she looks in TV, she actually looks very beautiful. Black people, the way they look, it's not easy [sic].
When it came to singing, your correspondent has really got talent. I have never learnt to sing these hymns, and the words were all new to me, but it was easy.
My voice was strong anf clear, my expression was devout. One old believer asked me how long I had been a church goer.
The little kid was very naughty, playign witb my Palm the whole time, and not singing properly. Holding the Bible was just a show. When Bush sang, he nodded his head slightly. He really got into it.
When Bush left the church, he shook hands with church goers. The people did not stop clapping and they were very happy. I have seen this kind of scene often before: when Lian Zhan visited, when Li Ao was here. Chinese people really lack a political life. Their desire for expression is deeply inhibited, so when they see a political figure putting on a show, they are deeply moved.
I was sitting on the middle. It wasn't easy to push to the front, but a kid pushed forward to wave at Bush. When he saw the kid, Bush was very happy, he came up and grabbed the kid. His words were a very official sounding "Thank you". Although his face was very sincere, but he just couldn't say another sentence or two.
"His hand, the hair is really furry", the kid screamed at me.
The below is exceprted from an official Xinhua report:
China's Kong Quan, director-general of the Information Department of Chinese Foreign Ministry, said here Sunday that US President George W. Bush's current visit to China has achieved important results...
...Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao held talks or met with Bush who arrived here Saturday evening on a three-day visit...
...On human rights, Kong said, it is quite normal for the two countries to have differences in this regard as the two countries have different historical and cultural backgrounds and conditions...
...On Sino-US trade, Kong said, leaders of the two countries had an in-depth discussion, and they expressed willingness to join hands in gradually realizing a blah blah...
...On the bird flu issue, Kong said, Hu and Bush reached consensuson prevention and control cooperation and worked out a common document...
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