Hu, Obama Hold Dinner Talks

China's leader is set to face reporters after a formal welcoming ceremony.

china-hu-arrival-biden-305.jpg Chinese President Hu Jintao walks alongside U.S. Vice President Joe Biden on arrival at Andrews Air Force Base, Jan. 18, 2011.
Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Washington on Tuesday and immediately plunged into talks with U.S. President Barack Obama at the start of a four-day state visit marked by economic tensions, criticism over human rights, and concerns about Beijing's growing military power.

Hu received a red carpet welcome at Andrews Air Force Base before attending a rare private dinner at the White House with Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and national security adviser Tom Donilon.

The U.S. president will welcome Hu on Wednesday at the White House in a formal ceremony, including a 21-gun salute and a lavish black-tie state dinner, only the third of Obama's two-year presidency.

On the eve of his trip, Hu declined to address a question about jailed Nobel peace prize laureate Liu Xiaobo, a Chinese democracy activist, in written answers to U.S. media questions, citing "sensitive topics" in bilateral ties.

But on Wednesday, Hu will join Obama for a joint press conference, each fielding four questions—two from U.S. journalists and two from Chinese reporters.

The White House insisted that the two leaders face reporters during the trip, which is expected to be dogged by protests from human rights campaigners.


Among the protesters will be a father-and-son team from Shaoguan, in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong, who say they were forcibly evicted from their homes before agreeing to compensation terms with officials.

"We wanted to sell the land, but the compensation they were offering was totally unacceptable given the economic situation of ordinary people," eviction campaigner Wang Yongli said in Washington on Monday.

The Wangs' story is becoming increasingly common in China, where skyrocketing property prices have ratcheted up the pressure on residents of prime urban real estate from local officials and developers.

"We have lost our homes. Our demand is very simple. Give us our homes back," said Wang, who has traveled to the United States with his father Wang Dongyan and a large banner carrying the word "Injustice!".

Just before Hu arrived, U.S. lawmakers held a press conference with dissidents representing China's minority Uyghurs, Tibetans, imprisoned democracy advocates, and opponents of forced abortion.
Missing lawyer

Among those who spoke was Geng He, the wife of Chinese human rights lawyer Gao Zhisheng, who has been missing since April, and whose detailed account of torture at the hands of Chinese authorities was published last week.

Geng He appealed to Obama to seek the release of her husband, saying her children had been terribly affected by his absence and noting that Obama has written about the pain of growing up without his father.

She urged Obama to ask Hu to release Gao and "let him come to the United States and unite with our family."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Obama would raise "his direct concerns on the issues of human rights" during talks with Hu.

Business deals

Hu's visit has already brought billions of dollars in business deals.

The U.S. Energy Department said Alcoa Inc and China Power Investment Corp signed an agreement to collaborate on a range of aluminum and clean energy projects representing U.S. $7.5 billion in potential investment within China and abroad.

General Electric Co agreed with China Huadian Corp to supply about 50 gas turbines, which will generate some U.S. $500 million in revenue over the next five years.

A 400-strong Chinese delegation led by Chinese vice commerce minister Wang Chao signed six agreements worth U.S. $574 million in Texas a day ahead of Hu's departure.

At least 25 more deals are expected on the Chicago leg of Hu's trip Friday, city officials said.

Aside from human rights, talks between Hu and Obama are also likely to touch on concerns over the value of China's currency, trade disputes, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and the Dalai Lama's U.S. visit.

Liu Xiaobo's Nobel prize, Internet freedom, and naval rivalries in the Pacific are also potentially contentious topics.

Reported by Shi Shan and He Ping for RFA's Mandarin service, Wei Ling, Hai Nan and Ho Shan for the Cantonese service, and news agencies. Translated by Luisetta Mudie. Written in English by Parameswaran Ponnudurai and Luisetta Mudie.

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Jan 18, 2011 04:42 PM

Is the Chinese flag on top of the White House ?

Not yet ? But it only cost 99 cents (Daily labor wages in China)

However, I am so thrilled.


Said flag is already on top of my shack.

And since going back to school is free, even though I am 68, thanks to the US Govs, wherefore I am to learn Chinese, and fast, before is too late.


Yes Boss, Honorable HU, Supreme Ruler USA and the World

Your most humble and obedient..............