Friday, April 21, 2006

Screaming from the press corps

Over the past couple of days, Hu Jintao and GDub have been having meetings, aimed at shoring up the relationship between the United States and China. By all accounts, these meetings have, for the most part, gone fairly well, and progress has been made to work better with the Chinese on multiple fronts, most noticeably, the economic front.

But still, a couple of glaring incidents jump right out of the stories to show that, just maybe, the White House wasn't being as careful as it could have been in a few of these exchanges.

Take first the incident with the member of the Falun Gong sect sitting amongst the press. The claim was that she was there to write on the meetings for an admittedly Falun Gong newspaper. Given China's actions towards the sect, it seems rather surprising that she be allowed relatively unchecked. This all came to a head when she began shouting to get the Chinese government to "stop persecuting the Falun Gong". This led to some ruffled feathers, and some uncomfortableness as the two leaders continued to meet.

Follow that up with a WH announcer calling China the "Republic of China". Oops... sorry to WH-staffers, but, as has been pointed out elsewhere, that's Taiwan. There's a little word that rhymes with "steeples" needed before republic if you're referring to China. Two fairly major gaffes in one relatively short visit.

Some have postulated that these weren't so much mistakes but rather intentional acts done to criticize the Chinese stance on things such as freedom of speech and individual's rights. I tend to think that this is yet another example of an administration that has proven itself to be lazy, and continues to showcase this through errors, both of judgement and of vocabulary.

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