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Obama Welcomes China

5:18 PM, Feb 14, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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The Los Angeles Times reports on President Obama's welcoming of Chinese vice president Xi Jinping today:

President Obama greeted the Chinese heir apparent in the Oval Office on Tuesday morning, a venue where the U.S. president usually receives only the nation's closest friends. . .

In a joint appearance before their meeting, Obama told reporters that the U.S. relationship with China is based on "mutual interest and mutual respect," and that such a relationship is in the interests of the rest of the world, too.

The United States welcomes China's "peaceful rise," Obama said, which he said has the power to "help to bring stability and prosperity to the world."

This doesn't quite square with Chinese human rights activist Yu Jie's frightening piece in the Washington Post about the "myth of China as a harmless tiger." He writes: 

I believe that China is a far greater threat than the former Soviet Union ever was; unfortunately, the West lacks visionary politicians, such as Ronald Reagan, to stand up to this threat. President Obama might perceive the Chinese Communist Party as a tiger that does not bite and, hence, is looking forward to Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit this week. Will Obama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, openly request that China release Liu Xiaobo, a Nobel Peace laureate imprisoned by the Communist Party? Why did Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton have the courage to meet with Burma’s Aung San Suu Kyi but not to meet with Liu? Is it because Burma is weak, while China is strong?

The Chinese Communist Party remains a tiger that will bite. For working on human rights with Liu Xiaobo, after he was awarded the Nobel Prize, I was tortured by the country’s secret police and nearly lost my life. Since then, dozens of lawyers and writers have been subjected to brutal torture; some contracted severe pneumonia after being held in front of fans blowing cold air and then being baked by an electric furnace. The secret police threatened me, saying that they had a list of 200 anticommunist party intellectuals whom they were ready to arrest and bury alive. Over the past year, the number of political prisoners in China has increased, and the jail sentences have become longer — yet Western voices of protest have become weaker.

And Bill Gertz, writing at the Washington Free Beacon, notes that there's some internal debate about what Xi's role in Chinese Communist Party:

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington on Monday as his future as China’s next supreme leader is the subject of a fierce debate within the U.S. government over whether he is under attack by a hardline nationalist faction within the ruling Communist Party.

According to U.S. national security officials, new indications of potentially destabilizing factionalism surfaced last week during the attempted defection to the United States of a senior Chinese police official.

Wang Lijun, a deputy mayor in Chongqing, provided explosive details about senior Chinese leaders during an overnight stay and debriefing at the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, in southern China.

Wang’s intelligence supports the claims of U.S. officials who believe a faction of hardline nationalists within the party are seeking power. They oppose the more moderate, but still communist, faction headed by Hu Jintao that currently holds power in the Politburo, which runs China’s government.

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