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Tuesday, November 22, 2005

China holds line during Bush visit - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune

China holds line during Bush visit - Asia - Pacific - International Herald Tribune China holds line during Bush visit
By David E. Sanger and Joseph Kahn The New York Times

MONDAY, NOVEMBER 21, 2005
BEIJING In a day of polite but tense encounters between Washington and the world's fastest-rising economic and military power, President Hu Jintao of China told President George W. Bush on Sunday that he was willing to speed the resolution of economic differences with the United States, but he gave no ground on permitting greater political freedoms or on the status of Taiwan.

While the two leaders were described by American officials as more comfortable with each other than in any previous encounter, Hu made it clear, by his words and his government's action, that he had no intention of giving in to American pressure.

American officials said none of the human rights cases on a list Bush gave to Hu in September had been resolved by the time Bush stepped into the Great Hall of the People Sunday morning.

In fact, by Sunday afternoon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing before reporters, acknowledged that dissidents appear to have been put under house arrest or detained in advance of the trip, and she said the issue was being raised "quite vociferously with the Chinese government."

Talking with reporters on Sunday evening, Bush said his talks amounted to a "good, frank discussion," but he seemed unsatisfied. He chose his words about Hu carefully and repeated that the relationship with China was "complex," though later he added that it is "good, vibrant, strong."

"China is a trading partner, and we expect the trade with China to be fair," he said. "We expect our people to be treated fairly here in this important country."

Bush attended an early morning service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church near Tiananmen Square, and he said, "My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly." But religious activists in Beijing complained that dozens of Christians who wanted to worship alongside Bush were turned away or detained by security forces.

Christians in Shanghai and several other cities said the police detained people who belong to underground churches to prevent them from staging demonstrations for greater religious freedom during Bush's visit.

Dozens of political activists, including Bao Tong, a former senior Communist Party official who has become a critic of one-party rule, and Hu Jia, who has pressed for greater action to combat AIDS, were forbidden to leave their homes or use their telephones while Bush was in Beijing, according to people close to Bao and Hu who said they could not be identified because of possible retaliation by the government.

Bush, as he has through much of his Asia trip, continued to focus attention on Iraq. He talked at length about the arguments that have consumed Washington in his absence, and argued that members of the House or Senate who oppose his approach to Iraq have a right to dissent but also "a responsibility to provide a credible alternative."

"Leaving prematurely will have terrible consequences, for our own security and for the Iraqi people," he said, applauding Congress for voting down a resolution for immediate withdrawal - one that was worded so that its defeat was almost assured. "And that's not going to happen so long as I'm president."

If Iraq was his immediate problem, dealing with China's increasingly assertive tone on economic and military issues, and Hu's quiet resistance to Bush's calls for political liberalization, is clearly a challenge that will last far beyond his presidency.

After a day of talks that began with a 90-minute-long meeting inside the Great Hall of the People, Bush emerged with little progress to report beyond a $4 billion deal for 70 Boeing aircraft for China.

Even that agreement in principle - to purchase the 737-700 and 737-800 jets as part of a larger order that Boeing officials hope will total 150 airplanes - seemed highly preliminary. One person with detailed knowledge of the negotiations said that the actual contract, including the price tag for each aircraft, was still under negotiation.

He declined to be identified because of the commercial sensitivity of the pending contract. That strongly suggested the deal had been announced ahead of time to provide the White House with at least one trophy during Bush's visit.

Bush himself seemed tense during much of the day - when asked about it later by a reporter, he said "Have you ever heard of jet lag?" - except when he took the afternoon to go mountain biking.

But unlike his weekend forays in Washington, he was not alone: He took his trek with the Chinese athletes training for the 2008 Olympics.


Bush said Sunday night that he concluded that "it is clear that I couldn't make the Chinese cycling team," despite the fact that his hosts let him take the lead. As he entered the Great Hall of the People for dinner on Sunday night, he was greeted by Hu and laughingly told him that the team "treated me with respect. They did not run me to the ground."

American officials had set low expectations for what Bush might accomplish Sunday beyond deepening his relationship with Hu, a man he had expected would embrace reforms more quickly than his predecessor, Jiang Zemin.

But while administration officials stressed that a personal chemistry had begun to develop between the two men that made it easier to grapple with trade, currency and geopolitical problems, they put none of that comity on public display.

Hu, who almost never interacts with either the Chinese or the foreign media, declined what Bush administration officials described as a request to take media questions after their meeting. China's foreign ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, attributed the silence by the Chinese leader to the tightness of Bush's schedule, though the president managed to hold such news conferences both with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea.

On economic issues that are of major concern to American businesses - letting market forces set the value of the undervalued Chinese currency and protecting intellectual property from rampant piracy in China - Bush made marginal progress.

He secured a public statement from Hu that he would "unswervingly press ahead" to ease a $200 billion annual trade surplus that wildly outstrips anything Bush's father faced with Japan in the late 1980s.

But Hu set no schedule for further currency moves, which are politically unpopular in China because they would make Chinese goods less competitive abroad. An American participant in the meetings in the Great Hall of the People said it was clear "no Chinese leader was going to act immediately under the pressure" of a request from a foreign leader.

Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao detailed for Bush steps they were taking to curb the theft of movies, software and other goods, stressing that they believed such steps were necessary for the development of the Chinese economy.

But had Bush stepped a few hundred yards away into the shops off Tiananmen Square - a place he avoided being pictured, American officials said, because of the still-raw memories of the shooting of protesters there in 1989 - he could have paid a few dollars for DVDs of several current American movies and what appeared to be a working copy of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.


U.S. officials have expressed frustration that Hu has made similar commitments before, but that so far progress was maddeningly slow.

The Chinese also appeared to completely rebuff the administration efforts to win some human rights concessions during Bush's trip.

None of the journalists, businessmen, and political dissidents that the United States has claimed have been unjustly imprisoned or persecuted by the Chinese judicial authorities have been released.

Chinese officials often make at least modest human rights concessions ahead of a presidential visit. But Hu, who has led a concerted and sustained crackdown on intellectual and media freedoms since he took power in 2002, has shown little inclination to make the kinds of gestures that his predecessors did.

"The Chinese leadership now argues that all such cases must be handled according to law," said Fan Yafeng, an outspoken scholar who has pressed for broader political and legal freedoms. "They pretend that the law operates independently of the party, which it does not."

Asked if the Chinese were trying to send Washington a message, Rice said that "I don't think this has anything to do with particular Chinese attitudes of this leadership. I expect that this leadership will understand, as the former leadership did, that these are issues of concern to the president, concern to Americans, and that we'll keep pressing on human rights."

Bush said that the two men also discussed strategies for handling the potential outbreak of avian flu and the long-running nuclear outbreak of North Korea.

Rice, who briefed journalists on Sunday afternoon, argued that the Chinese government was not trying to slow down the negotiations in hopes of putting off a confrontation with Pyongyang.

Hu visited there recently to meet Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader.

"My impression, strong impression, is that the Chinese government very much wants to see this issue resolved," she said.



Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong.


BEIJING In a day of polite but tense encounters between Washington and the world's fastest-rising economic and military power, President Hu Jintao of China told President George W. Bush on Sunday that he was willing to speed the resolution of economic differences with the United States, but he gave no ground on permitting greater political freedoms or on the status of Taiwan.

While the two leaders were described by American officials as more comfortable with each other than in any previous encounter, Hu made it clear, by his words and his government's action, that he had no intention of giving in to American pressure.

American officials said none of the human rights cases on a list Bush gave to Hu in September had been resolved by the time Bush stepped into the Great Hall of the People Sunday morning.

In fact, by Sunday afternoon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing before reporters, acknowledged that dissidents appear to have been put under house arrest or detained in advance of the trip, and she said the issue was being raised "quite vociferously with the Chinese government."

Talking with reporters on Sunday evening, Bush said his talks amounted to a "good, frank discussion," but he seemed unsatisfied. He chose his words about Hu carefully and repeated that the relationship with China was "complex," though later he added that it is "good, vibrant, strong."

"China is a trading partner, and we expect the trade with China to be fair," he said. "We expect our people to be treated fairly here in this important country."

Bush attended an early morning service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church near Tiananmen Square, and he said, "My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly." But religious activists in Beijing complained that dozens of Christians who wanted to worship alongside Bush were turned away or detained by security forces.

Christians in Shanghai and several other cities said the police detained people who belong to underground churches to prevent them from staging demonstrations for greater religious freedom during Bush's visit.

Dozens of political activists, including Bao Tong, a former senior Communist Party official who has become a critic of one-party rule, and Hu Jia, who has pressed for greater action to combat AIDS, were forbidden to leave their homes or use their telephones while Bush was in Beijing, according to people close to Bao and Hu who said they could not be identified because of possible retaliation by the government.

Bush, as he has through much of his Asia trip, continued to focus attention on Iraq. He talked at length about the arguments that have consumed Washington in his absence, and argued that members of the House or Senate who oppose his approach to Iraq have a right to dissent but also "a responsibility to provide a credible alternative."

"Leaving prematurely will have terrible consequences, for our own security and for the Iraqi people," he said, applauding Congress for voting down a resolution for immediate withdrawal - one that was worded so that its defeat was almost assured. "And that's not going to happen so long as I'm president."

If Iraq was his immediate problem, dealing with China's increasingly assertive tone on economic and military issues, and Hu's quiet resistance to Bush's calls for political liberalization, is clearly a challenge that will last far beyond his presidency.

After a day of talks that began with a 90-minute-long meeting inside the Great Hall of the People, Bush emerged with little progress to report beyond a $4 billion deal for 70 Boeing aircraft for China.

Even that agreement in principle - to purchase the 737-700 and 737-800 jets as part of a larger order that Boeing officials hope will total 150 airplanes - seemed highly preliminary. One person with detailed knowledge of the negotiations said that the actual contract, including the price tag for each aircraft, was still under negotiation.

He declined to be identified because of the commercial sensitivity of the pending contract. That strongly suggested the deal had been announced ahead of time to provide the White House with at least one trophy during Bush's visit.

Bush himself seemed tense during much of the day - when asked about it later by a reporter, he said "Have you ever heard of jet lag?" - except when he took the afternoon to go mountain biking.

But unlike his weekend forays in Washington, he was not alone: He took his trek with the Chinese athletes training for the 2008 Olympics.


Bush said Sunday night that he concluded that "it is clear that I couldn't make the Chinese cycling team," despite the fact that his hosts let him take the lead. As he entered the Great Hall of the People for dinner on Sunday night, he was greeted by Hu and laughingly told him that the team "treated me with respect. They did not run me to the ground."

American officials had set low expectations for what Bush might accomplish Sunday beyond deepening his relationship with Hu, a man he had expected would embrace reforms more quickly than his predecessor, Jiang Zemin.

But while administration officials stressed that a personal chemistry had begun to develop between the two men that made it easier to grapple with trade, currency and geopolitical problems, they put none of that comity on public display.

Hu, who almost never interacts with either the Chinese or the foreign media, declined what Bush administration officials described as a request to take media questions after their meeting. China's foreign ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, attributed the silence by the Chinese leader to the tightness of Bush's schedule, though the president managed to hold such news conferences both with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea.

On economic issues that are of major concern to American businesses - letting market forces set the value of the undervalued Chinese currency and protecting intellectual property from rampant piracy in China - Bush made marginal progress.

He secured a public statement from Hu that he would "unswervingly press ahead" to ease a $200 billion annual trade surplus that wildly outstrips anything Bush's father faced with Japan in the late 1980s.

But Hu set no schedule for further currency moves, which are politically unpopular in China because they would make Chinese goods less competitive abroad. An American participant in the meetings in the Great Hall of the People said it was clear "no Chinese leader was going to act immediately under the pressure" of a request from a foreign leader.

Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao detailed for Bush steps they were taking to curb the theft of movies, software and other goods, stressing that they believed such steps were necessary for the development of the Chinese economy.

But had Bush stepped a few hundred yards away into the shops off Tiananmen Square - a place he avoided being pictured, American officials said, because of the still-raw memories of the shooting of protesters there in 1989 - he could have paid a few dollars for DVDs of several current American movies and what appeared to be a working copy of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.


U.S. officials have expressed frustration that Hu has made similar commitments before, but that so far progress was maddeningly slow.

The Chinese also appeared to completely rebuff the administration efforts to win some human rights concessions during Bush's trip.

None of the journalists, businessmen, and political dissidents that the United States has claimed have been unjustly imprisoned or persecuted by the Chinese judicial authorities have been released.

Chinese officials often make at least modest human rights concessions ahead of a presidential visit. But Hu, who has led a concerted and sustained crackdown on intellectual and media freedoms since he took power in 2002, has shown little inclination to make the kinds of gestures that his predecessors did.

"The Chinese leadership now argues that all such cases must be handled according to law," said Fan Yafeng, an outspoken scholar who has pressed for broader political and legal freedoms. "They pretend that the law operates independently of the party, which it does not."

Asked if the Chinese were trying to send Washington a message, Rice said that "I don't think this has anything to do with particular Chinese attitudes of this leadership. I expect that this leadership will understand, as the former leadership did, that these are issues of concern to the president, concern to Americans, and that we'll keep pressing on human rights."

Bush said that the two men also discussed strategies for handling the potential outbreak of avian flu and the long-running nuclear outbreak of North Korea.

Rice, who briefed journalists on Sunday afternoon, argued that the Chinese government was not trying to slow down the negotiations in hopes of putting off a confrontation with Pyongyang.

Hu visited there recently to meet Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader.

"My impression, strong impression, is that the Chinese government very much wants to see this issue resolved," she said.



Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong.


BEIJING In a day of polite but tense encounters between Washington and the world's fastest-rising economic and military power, President Hu Jintao of China told President George W. Bush on Sunday that he was willing to speed the resolution of economic differences with the United States, but he gave no ground on permitting greater political freedoms or on the status of Taiwan.

While the two leaders were described by American officials as more comfortable with each other than in any previous encounter, Hu made it clear, by his words and his government's action, that he had no intention of giving in to American pressure.

American officials said none of the human rights cases on a list Bush gave to Hu in September had been resolved by the time Bush stepped into the Great Hall of the People Sunday morning.

In fact, by Sunday afternoon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing before reporters, acknowledged that dissidents appear to have been put under house arrest or detained in advance of the trip, and she said the issue was being raised "quite vociferously with the Chinese government."

Talking with reporters on Sunday evening, Bush said his talks amounted to a "good, frank discussion," but he seemed unsatisfied. He chose his words about Hu carefully and repeated that the relationship with China was "complex," though later he added that it is "good, vibrant, strong."

"China is a trading partner, and we expect the trade with China to be fair," he said. "We expect our people to be treated fairly here in this important country."

Bush attended an early morning service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church near Tiananmen Square, and he said, "My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship openly." But religious activists in Beijing complained that dozens of Christians who wanted to worship alongside Bush were turned away or detained by security forces.

Christians in Shanghai and several other cities said the police detained people who belong to underground churches to prevent them from staging demonstrations for greater religious freedom during Bush's visit.

Dozens of political activists, including Bao Tong, a former senior Communist Party official who has become a critic of one-party rule, and Hu Jia, who has pressed for greater action to combat AIDS, were forbidden to leave their homes or use their telephones while Bush was in Beijing, according to people close to Bao and Hu who said they could not be identified because of possible retaliation by the government.

Bush, as he has through much of his Asia trip, continued to focus attention on Iraq. He talked at length about the arguments that have consumed Washington in his absence, and argued that members of the House or Senate who oppose his approach to Iraq have a right to dissent but also "a responsibility to provide a credible alternative."

"Leaving prematurely will have terrible consequences, for our own security and for the Iraqi people," he said, applauding Congress for voting down a resolution for immediate withdrawal - one that was worded so that its defeat was almost assured. "And that's not going to happen so long as I'm president."

If Iraq was his immediate problem, dealing with China's increasingly assertive tone on economic and military issues, and Hu's quiet resistance to Bush's calls for political liberalization, is clearly a challenge that will last far beyond his presidency.

After a day of talks that began with a 90-minute-long meeting inside the Great Hall of the People, Bush emerged with little progress to report beyond a $4 billion deal for 70 Boeing aircraft for China.

Even that agreement in principle - to purchase the 737-700 and 737-800 jets as part of a larger order that Boeing officials hope will total 150 airplanes - seemed highly preliminary. One person with detailed knowledge of the negotiations said that the actual contract, including the price tag for each aircraft, was still under negotiation.

He declined to be identified because of the commercial sensitivity of the pending contract. That strongly suggested the deal had been announced ahead of time to provide the White House with at least one trophy during Bush's visit.

Bush himself seemed tense during much of the day - when asked about it later by a reporter, he said "Have you ever heard of jet lag?" - except when he took the afternoon to go mountain biking.

But unlike his weekend forays in Washington, he was not alone: He took his trek with the Chinese athletes training for the 2008 Olympics.


Bush said Sunday night that he concluded that "it is clear that I couldn't make the Chinese cycling team," despite the fact that his hosts let him take the lead. As he entered the Great Hall of the People for dinner on Sunday night, he was greeted by Hu and laughingly told him that the team "treated me with respect. They did not run me to the ground."

American officials had set low expectations for what Bush might accomplish Sunday beyond deepening his relationship with Hu, a man he had expected would embrace reforms more quickly than his predecessor, Jiang Zemin.

But while administration officials stressed that a personal chemistry had begun to develop between the two men that made it easier to grapple with trade, currency and geopolitical problems, they put none of that comity on public display.

Hu, who almost never interacts with either the Chinese or the foreign media, declined what Bush administration officials described as a request to take media questions after their meeting. China's foreign ministry spokesman, Kong Quan, attributed the silence by the Chinese leader to the tightness of Bush's schedule, though the president managed to hold such news conferences both with the prime minister of Japan and the president of South Korea.

On economic issues that are of major concern to American businesses - letting market forces set the value of the undervalued Chinese currency and protecting intellectual property from rampant piracy in China - Bush made marginal progress.

He secured a public statement from Hu that he would "unswervingly press ahead" to ease a $200 billion annual trade surplus that wildly outstrips anything Bush's father faced with Japan in the late 1980s.

But Hu set no schedule for further currency moves, which are politically unpopular in China because they would make Chinese goods less competitive abroad. An American participant in the meetings in the Great Hall of the People said it was clear "no Chinese leader was going to act immediately under the pressure" of a request from a foreign leader.

Hu and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao detailed for Bush steps they were taking to curb the theft of movies, software and other goods, stressing that they believed such steps were necessary for the development of the Chinese economy.

But had Bush stepped a few hundred yards away into the shops off Tiananmen Square - a place he avoided being pictured, American officials said, because of the still-raw memories of the shooting of protesters there in 1989 - he could have paid a few dollars for DVDs of several current American movies and what appeared to be a working copy of the Microsoft Windows XP operating system.


U.S. officials have expressed frustration that Hu has made similar commitments before, but that so far progress was maddeningly slow.

The Chinese also appeared to completely rebuff the administration efforts to win some human rights concessions during Bush's trip.

None of the journalists, businessmen, and political dissidents that the United States has claimed have been unjustly imprisoned or persecuted by the Chinese judicial authorities have been released.

Chinese officials often make at least modest human rights concessions ahead of a presidential visit. But Hu, who has led a concerted and sustained crackdown on intellectual and media freedoms since he took power in 2002, has shown little inclination to make the kinds of gestures that his predecessors did.

"The Chinese leadership now argues that all such cases must be handled according to law," said Fan Yafeng, an outspoken scholar who has pressed for broader political and legal freedoms. "They pretend that the law operates independently of the party, which it does not."

Asked if the Chinese were trying to send Washington a message, Rice said that "I don't think this has anything to do with particular Chinese attitudes of this leadership. I expect that this leadership will understand, as the former leadership did, that these are issues of concern to the president, concern to Americans, and that we'll keep pressing on human rights."

Bush said that the two men also discussed strategies for handling the potential outbreak of avian flu and the long-running nuclear outbreak of North Korea.

Rice, who briefed journalists on Sunday afternoon, argued that the Chinese government was not trying to slow down the negotiations in hopes of putting off a confrontation with Pyongyang.

Hu visited there recently to meet Kim Jong Il, the North Korean leader.

"My impression, strong impression, is that the Chinese government very much wants to see this issue resolved," she said.



Keith Bradsher contributed reporting from Hong Kong.


BEIJING In a day of polite but tense encounters between Washington and the world's fastest-rising economic and military power, President Hu Jintao of China told President George W. Bush on Sunday that he was willing to speed the resolution of economic differences with the United States, but he gave no ground on permitting greater political freedoms or on the status of Taiwan.

While the two leaders were described by American officials as more comfortable with each other than in any previous encounter, Hu made it clear, by his words and his government's action, that he had no intention of giving in to American pressure.

American officials said none of the human rights cases on a list Bush gave to Hu in September had been resolved by the time Bush stepped into the Great Hall of the People Sunday morning.

In fact, by Sunday afternoon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, appearing before reporters, acknowledged that dissidents appear to have been put under house arrest or detained in advance of the trip, and she said the issue was being raised "quite vociferously with the Chinese government."

Talking with reporters on Sunday evening, Bush said his talks amounted to a "good, frank discussion," but he seemed unsatisfied. He chose his words about Hu carefully and repeated that the relationship with China was "complex," though later he added that it is "good, vibrant, strong."

"China is a trading partner, and we expect the trade with China to be fair," he said. "We expect our people to be treated fairly here in this important country."

Bush attended an early morning service at a state-sanctioned Protestant church near Tiananmen Square, and he said, "My hope is that the government of China will not fear Christians who gather to worship

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