As you may have heard, these past few days President Obama has been in China. Unfortunately, it wasn’t to visit Tian and me (his aides told us that his agenda has been a very busy one). From all the stories on the news, it sounds like that’s been the case. Anyway, if you haven’t followed his trip, here’s the low down.
Obama started his tour in Shanghai two days ago and held a “town hall meeting” with around 300 Chinese students. As you would expect, it was a “town hall” meeting with Chinese characteristics, and the government controlled the audience and Q&A period more tightly than it controls its currency. Only Communist Youth League Members (future party leaders) could attend, and all questions were prepared ahead of time. The highlight was when one student went rogue and asked “Should we be able to use Twitter freely?” Of course none of the Chinese media ran that clip.
After that Obama came to Beijing to get down to business. He had six hours of meetings and two dinners. But it wasn’t all work. He got to tour the Forbidden City. Today, before he headed out, he even got to take a quick visit the Great Wall.
There is one part of Obama’s trip that the regular media did not mention though. The real albeit secret reason for Obama’s trip to Beijing was to get a special souvenir t-shirt made. Tian and I came across a copy of it at a local market. One source, who asked not to be named, said “Obama’s wanted to let the Chinese public know where he stands.” Let’s just hope Republicans don’t get a hold of it before the health care bill passes. It’s a good thing no Republicans read my blog. :0).