Skip

A little apple pie goes a long way
January 20, 2011 11:33 AM   Subscribe

Hu Jintao, premier of China, is in the middle of his first state visit to the US, whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs. Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu. Many of them will have had their first real look at him during an extended and surprisngly candid joint press conference held with President Obama and lasting well over an hour - something which never happens in China. Fears (or possibly hopes) of a trade war between the US and China a year ago have faded, and instead a trade deal involving $45 billion of American exports was announced, to mixed reactions. He was received less kindly by Congress, whose members expressed disquiet about everything from trade deficits to human rights and whose leaders declined to discuss matters over dinner - perhaps because they did not wish to be lost in the high-powered crowd of attendees.

New to the political stage, but picking a perfect time to arrive: the recently elected and appointed (by vote of the board of supervisors, following the departure of Gavin Newsom to be Lt. Governor of California) mayors of Oakland and San Francisco, Jean Quan and Ed Lee, who are the first Asian-Americans to lead major American cities. This was probably not lost on Hu, given that 115 years ago San Francisco was the scene of a court battle whose outcome still echoes today, over the American citizenship of Wong Kim Ark.

Sadly but predictably, some prominent Americans decided to skip the complexities and stick with the time-honored tradition of mocking foreign languages.

Like many Chinese leaders, Hu has an engineering background - a contrast with the US, which tends to elect lawyers (Hu's likely successor, Xi Jinping, is also an engineer). In keeping with the Chinese government's revolutionary heritage, Hu summed up his outlook soon after becoming the country's leader with a compact manifesto known as the Eight Honors and Eight Shames. In practice, Hu is regarded as less of an ideologue than a technocrat, whose ideas referred are generally referred to as the 'Scientific Development Concept (pdf).

For an extreme example of China's rapid economic growth: Shanghai has changed a lot from 1990 - 2010.
posted by anigbrowl (59 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
That Limbaugh clip makes me want to donate to a secret charity that funds Chinese ICBM development.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:38 AM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Like many Chinese leaders, Hu has an engineering background
And this is a good book which sets out the history behind that.
posted by Abiezer at 11:40 AM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


I spent about fifteen minutes listening to that Limbaugh clip this morning to transcribe it for my blog. Holy hell, the hate in that man's voice. Normally he keeps up the "it's just a joke!" act pretty well, but I feel like the mask slips for a few seconds there.
posted by EarBucket at 11:44 AM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


While the White House is making nice, there is something else going on between our two nations.

http://intellibriefs.blogspot.com/

skip down from the stuff on France to industrial spying by the Chinese on US firms

and for a realistic appraisal of what is at work:

http://intellibriefs.blogspot.com/2011/01/chinese-carrots-for-obama-us-sticks-for.html
posted by Postroad at 11:46 AM on January 20, 2011


Every time I hear "Premier Hu" I think of a distant relative.
posted by Ogre Lawless at 11:49 AM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Due to the linguistic and political differences between the US and China, few Americans know very much about Hu.

Or, rather - assuming the US is anything like the UK in this regard - because the local media hardly report any news from China, ever.
posted by iotic at 11:49 AM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


whose pomp and circumstance reflects China's growing economic stature and role in world affairs.

I think the focus on pomp was requested by Hu, who was slighted quite obviously by Bush last time around when Bush acted like an ass. Hu is weak at home and lacks the political support of past Chinese leaders, from what I've read.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:51 AM on January 20, 2011


Hu?
posted by sveskemus at 11:51 AM on January 20, 2011


Rush will have to improve his Chinese markedly once Xinghua News Agency buys Fox.

Seriously - what a turd. I am surprised he did not pull up the corners of his eyes and do the pretend buck teeth thing. Though I am not a fan of the current Chinese Regime - I can tell you first hand that the vast majority of Chinese people would like nothing more that to get along with the US and move forward together. I lived in Shanghai for 3 years (between '97 and '00) and though the city landscape changes were staggering, the people remained genuinely kind and interested improving world relations.
posted by helmutdog at 11:51 AM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Came for Abbott and Costello jokes, was disappointed. Especially since there's Wen Jiabao in the CCP leadership mix these days too.

More seriously, Hu at least doesn't seem like he's as much of an embarrassing ass as Jiang Zemin. And not as bloodthirsty as Li Peng.
posted by kmz at 11:58 AM on January 20, 2011


Yeah Boner Boehner was one of those who turned down an invite to the diner. No real surprise there, i mean if the chap is going to forgo the national memorial service in AZ so he can go to a fundraiser I doubt he cares that much for something as trivial as a State dinner for the head of a major country.

Frankly Boner Boehner has always been a bit of a joke, but he really is playing it to the hilt nowadays. Hells bells, 3rd in line of succession and he can't be bothered.
posted by edgeways at 12:00 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


Hu Jintao, premier of China

Does Wen Jiabao know that the President Hu has stolen his job?!? Hu has a lot of titles: President, Chairman, General Secretary, but Premier not one of them.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:03 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


The press has been reporting that people have been "challenging Hu on human rights." None of them ever bring up specifics, and as far as I can tell the conversation never goes beyond, "Human rights are important, and you need to do better." "Yes, we certainly need to develop our economy and human rights."
posted by 1adam12 at 12:07 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Came for Abbott and Costello jokes, was disappointed.

Would you settle for "Hu's Next" ?
posted by Joe Beese at 12:07 PM on January 20, 2011


Hu's on first? Could the GOP leadership be any bigger jerkoffs? What possible reason could they dream up for missing this? Maybe it really was the uninspired menu choices.
posted by fixedgear at 12:09 PM on January 20, 2011


Does anyone who knows something about Chinese politics speculate on who will succeed Hu Jintao? Most reports center on Xi Jinping. I found it interesting that Xi Jinping's daughter is a freshman at Harvard.
posted by cell divide at 12:11 PM on January 20, 2011


edgeways: "oehner was one of those who turned down an invite to the diner"

"Now, aaaaah, Speaker Boehner, are you sure... you can't come? It'd be an ... honortohave you there."

"Can't be bothered, sorry."

"Now, ah, let me be clear: we will have gin at this event."

"Whoa, I guess my calendar's cleared, then!"

Seriously, what a goon.
posted by boo_radley at 12:23 PM on January 20, 2011




I think we need more breathless outrage over Limbaugh's mock Chinese interspersed with "hu = who" jokes.

As Vladimir Lenin suggested, it's not about the principles, it's about "Hu—hum?"
posted by dgaicun at 12:26 PM on January 20, 2011




Rush will have to improve his Chinese markedly once Xinghua News Agency buys Fox.

You know that Limbaugh doesn't work for Fox, right?
posted by Jahaza at 12:33 PM on January 20, 2011


And that’s what’s driving trade and trade-related job loss here in the United States.

[CITATION-NEEDED]
posted by schmod at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know that Limbaugh doesn't work for Fox, right?

Satan - Fox, quit splitting hairs!
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 12:37 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


schmod: [CITATION-NEEDED]

Robert Scott had a bit more to say about that in the interview. But it's just a radio show, so there are no footnotes or references.

Here's an article of his from 2007: Costly Trade With China: Millions of U.S. jobs displaced with net job loss in every state. Robert E. Scott. May 1, 2007
posted by anarch at 12:43 PM on January 20, 2011


Excerpt:
The impact of changes in trade on employment is estimated here by calculating the labor content of changes in the trade balance—the difference between exports and imports. Each $1 billion in computer exports to China from the United States supports American jobs. However, each $1 billion in computer imports from China displaces those American workers, who would have been employed making them in the United States. On balance, the net employment effect of trade flows depends on the growth in the trade deficit; not just exports. Another critically important promise made by the promoters of liberalized U.S.-China trade was that the United States would benefit because of increased exports to a large and growing consumer market in China. This market, in turn, was to be based on an expansion of the middle class that, it was claimed, would grow rapidly due to the wealth created in China by its entry into the WTO. However, the increase in U.S. exports to China has been overwhelmed by the growth of U.S. imports, as shown below.
posted by anarch at 12:45 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoa. Those two juxtaposed photographs are amazing. Thanks.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:47 PM on January 20, 2011


Hu is weak at home...

I don't think Hu is necessarily unpopular in China. He's certainly respected more than beloved, which when compared to side by side to Wen Jiabao makes the difference a bit starker perhaps. He's definitely a solid technocrat and I don't think I've ever seen him tied to corruption or scandal charges the way Jiang and other past leaders were.

But Wen, now that's a man the Chinese love. I remember during the Sichuan earthquake watching CCTVs wall to wall coverage. They broadcast over and over images of Wen wading into crowds of survivors and images of him directing the rescue efforts; in terms of political theater, it felt akin to Bush's post-9/11 visit to Ground Zero, and definitely burnished his already well established reputation as a man of the people. That coupled with the fact that he looks like an adorable grandfather figure, well there you go, a the making of a popular politician.

But more interestingly is how he's subtly pushing a "progressive" agenda within the CCP. He's always been a pro-migrant, countryside guy and even willing to stick up for less popular reforms (read: everything not related to economics), so his recent hints that China should at least consider political reform that he made in a CNN interview with Fareed Zakaria aren't that shocking in a way-- but still it takes some guts. There's already been some pushback, but Wen is hugely popular and he's survived this kind of thing before, so if anyone can influence political reform in China, he's the man.

That's my layman's take on the topic anyway.
posted by jng at 12:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [9 favorites]


In the "a contrast with the U.S." link, it says "The last American president to train as an engineer was Herbert Hoover."

That's arguably not true. Jimmy Carter graduated from the Naval academy in 1947. The curriculum wouldn't broaden to include "majors" until the late 1960's and to this day includes substantial engineering training.

Before Carter, President Eisenhower was a graduate of the West Point class of 1915. The training there, I understand also included an engineering focus.
posted by Jahaza at 12:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


Has any Malkin-esque wingnut blog criticized Michelle Obama for wearing a red dress to the state dinner honoring the (Red) Chinese president?
posted by Burhanistan at 12:52 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]




clavdivs: for wearing a red dress to the state dinner

You've just further exposed the conspiracy: I don't see a red dress on any of those first ladies, excepting Obama.
posted by anarch at 1:02 PM on January 20, 2011


The press has been reporting that people have been "challenging Hu on human rights." None of them ever bring up specifics, and as far as I can tell the conversation never goes beyond, "Human rights are important, and you need to do better." "Yes, we certainly need to develop our economy and human rights."

Yes, we certainly need to close Guantanamo and stop torturing people in secret CIA prisons. Yes, we certainly need to address the poverty gap and education gap for minority groups. Yes, we certainly need to address the world's highest incarceration rate. Yes, we certainly need to give Native Americans true sovereignty over their land.

As you can see, I'm a big fan of cleaning up our own backyard before we go bitching about the neighbors. Let's avoid pretending that we're any better at least until after they start invading sovereign nations on continents different from their own.
posted by notion at 1:04 PM on January 20, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jimmy Carter graduated from the Naval academy in 1947. The curriculum wouldn't broaden to include "majors" until the late 1960's and to this day includes substantial engineering training.

More than that. Carter was the Engineering Officer on a diesel-electric sub when he was selected by Hyman Rickover as a lieutenant in the nuclear sub program. He was one of the first engineers trained on naval nuclear reactors; in fact, he was on the ground floor of the design process.

Though he didn't have a formal engineering degree, I think most nuclear engineers would agree that Carter received the most rigorous training possible. Rickover was not an easy guy to work for, and the work he did in developing naval nuclear power was absolutely world-class engineering.
posted by mr_roboto at 1:06 PM on January 20, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think we need more breathless outrage over Limbaugh's mock Chinese interspersed with "hu = who" jokes.

That was my favorite part, too. Although to be fair we also got some of that razor-keen 'Boehner = Boner' stuff.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:14 PM on January 20, 2011


Instead of an average white house assigned reporter asking the tough question of China's treatment of citizen's human rights, a better choice to ask those questions, would have been Dr. Raymond F. Gist, the head of the Ameican Dental Association. that's the guy we needed to get a straight answer from Hu Jintao!
posted by tustinrick at 1:14 PM on January 20, 2011


Although to be fair we also got some of that razor-keen 'Boehner = Boner' stuff.

I gladly cop to that, and it isn't likely I'll stop anytime soon. TBH though I'll happily mock both his politics and his appropriate name.
posted by edgeways at 1:23 PM on January 20, 2011


I'm sorry. I cannot hear Hu Jintao's name now without immediately thinking of this SNL sketch in my head. I feel no small dose of guilt for that, having trained to go into the diplomatic service, interning at one of our consulates abroad and being up-front-and-center with this kind of diplomacy stuff. But damn, Bill Hader makes me laugh. Every time.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 1:34 PM on January 20, 2011


If what Rush did offends you then the problem is with YOU...not Rush. Saturday Night Live does this all the time.
posted by republican at 2:07 PM on January 20, 2011


If what Rush did offends you then the problem is with YOU...not Rush. Saturday Night Live does this all the time.

So you agree that Rush is a buffoonish, untalented comedian who appeals to morons and drug addicts then? We're on the same page.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:18 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hu who?
apologies to Joe Clark
posted by chebucto at 2:20 PM on January 20, 2011


If what Rush did offends you then the problem is with YOU...not Rush. Saturday Night Live does this all the time.

No, the cast of SNL would be aware that they were entering into farcical prewar racist stereotyping and make a joke about that. Colbert does the same thing, but it's the joke about "Hey, no one is even dumb enough to think this is racist anymore because it's so fucking ridiculous." Rush is just too dumb to get it.

Rush isn't self aware enough to get the joke. He lives in his own reality that has little to do with a world where the majority of people aren't white or male. I feel for the guy, but if he's going to be a douchebag in public for a paycheck, my empathy for his narrow and almost comically uninformed worldview is quite diminished.
posted by notion at 2:21 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


I hate to contribute to the quasi-derail on Limbaugh, but he did say one thing interesting, pointing out the irony of the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner hosting a dinner for the jailor of the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner. Rush is an ass and a blowhard, but that is some pretty juicy irony.
posted by Falconetti at 2:27 PM on January 20, 2011 [2 favorites]


That'll teach that silly Nobel Committee to not go around waging preemptive Peace Prize awards.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:30 PM on January 20, 2011


mmm sort of like the letters Ghandi wrote to Hitler that are addressed to "My friend" eh?
posted by edgeways at 2:32 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


No, the cast of SNL would be aware that they were entering into farcical prewar racist stereotyping and make a joke about that.

You haven't seen SNL in a while, have you.
posted by shakespeherian at 2:35 PM on January 20, 2011


If what Rush did offends you then the problem is with YOU...not Rush.
posted by republican


Eponydepressing.
posted by EarBucket at 2:38 PM on January 20, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hu has a lot of titles: President, Chairman, General Secretary, but Premier not one of them.

Oh dear, sorry about that. I have a persistent bad habit of mixing up the two job titles.

1adam12, I don't really know how you can complain about lack of specificity from the press, since the links in the FPP mention Nobel laureate Liu, Tibet, and the aftermath of the Tiananmen square protests. I omitted a rather tendentious plaint from Fox News about the situation of Christians in China, although I'm sure you can find multiple references discussing their situation.

I think we need more breathless outrage over Limbaugh's mock Chinese interspersed with "hu = who" jokes.

Yeah, that's sort of lame. I went out of my way to avoid leaving any accidental puns in the FPP.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:44 PM on January 20, 2011


The legal system (and by extension, the legal profession) is underdeveloped and weak in the People's Republic. And the legislature is an empty rubber-stamp ritual. There is no effective rule of law tradition in China so it is not surprising that its technocrats and leaders tend not to be lawyers.
posted by Bwithh at 2:45 PM on January 20, 2011


Came for Abbott and Costello jokes, was disappointed.
Costello: Look, you gotta first baseman?

Abbott: Certainly.

Costello: Hu's playing first?

Abbott: That's right.

Costello: When you pay off the first baseman every month, Hu gets the money?

Abbott: Every dollar of it.

Costello: All I'm trying to find out is the fellow's name on first base.

Abbott: Hu.

Costello: The guy that gets...

Abbott: That's it.

Costello: Hu gets the money...

Abbott: He does, every dollar. Sometimes his wife comes down and collects it.

Costello: Hu's wife?

Abbott: Yes.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:50 PM on January 20, 2011 [6 favorites]


Mr Boehner, who also turned down an invitation to fly to Arizona on Air Force One after the Tucson shootings, said through a spokesman that he would be presiding over a vote to repeal the healthcare reforms.

by all means let's do empty political theater rather than meet the leader of a country that will have major influence on our future - reid and mcconnell are clueless, as well

we're being led by idiots, except for the president
posted by pyramid termite at 3:19 PM on January 20, 2011


Knock, knock...
posted by jng at 3:39 PM on January 20, 2011


I am an Agro-American and it offends me when people mock Southern dialects. So ya'll stop doing that.
posted by republican at 4:01 PM on January 20, 2011


Rush tried to defuse the claims by saying "SNL does it all the time!" But SNL doesn't. Jim Belushi's old sketch is not the same as what Rush did.

"Ching chong" is, like, a thing. It's a specifically racist phrase with a long history, and is roughly equivalent to using "the N word" or performing in blackface. It even has a whole entire Wikipedia article.

Rush further tried to defuse the claims by pointing out that a lot of other racist old white men have done the same kind of thing as a humor bit. Let's just say I find this argument... less than compelling.

"I'm not the only racist old white man" is hardly a ringing defense, you know?
posted by ErikaB at 5:44 PM on January 20, 2011 [10 favorites]


When Hu came to DC last time, it seemed like every single article written about the visit used the "Who's Hu?" construction for headlines. Drove me crazy. I'm happy it's only interspersed occasionally this time...
posted by gemmy at 5:54 PM on January 20, 2011


You've just further exposed the conspiracy: I don't see a red dress on any of those first ladies, excepting Obama.
posted by anarch

Hu need to look further.
posted by clavdivs at 6:15 PM on January 20, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rush tried to defuse the claims by saying "SNL does it all the time!"

They're really all out to get him, aren't they? What an absolutely witless fuck.
posted by Wolof at 5:18 AM on January 21, 2011


but Premier not one of them

I would like to go on the record that this was a simple typo and not an attempt at humor.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 5:52 AM on January 21, 2011


"Ching chong" is, like, a thing. It's a specifically racist phrase with a long history, and is roughly equivalent to using "the N word" or performing in blackface.

Incidentally, here's another specifically racist phrase with an even longer history (and its own Wikipedia entry) that similarly mocks the sound of an "outsider's" language. However, in this case the word has simply been assimilated into everyday use (by the very cultures it mocked) and has lost its specificity though keeping its perjorative use to mock an outside culture.

I'm not trying to dismiss or condone Rush's clearly bigoted use of "Ching Chong" here, just pointing out a very similar term that has just become part of the vernacular over thousands of years of use.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 6:02 AM on January 21, 2011




« Older In time, those Unconscionable Maps no longer...   |   Squirrel fishing. Go nuts. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments



Post