foreign affairs

China’s Hu Makes Token Nod to Human Rights, Eats Apple Pie [Update]

On Wednesday night, President Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao enjoyed a White House state dinner with Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter, Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, the heads of Microsoft, Goldman Sachs, and JP Morgan Chase, and the obligatory scattering of celebrities like Barbra Streisand and Anna Wintour. Earlier in the day, Obama and the Chinese leader met to discuss expanding the economic relationship between the two countries, and Hu admitted that China has some catching up to do in the human rights department.

China still faces many challenges in economic and social development,” said Hu. “And a lot still needs to be done in China in terms of human rights.” But, he continued, in order to build a relationship, the countries need to employ a “principle of noninterference in each other’s internal affairs.”

What is the U.S. being offered for that “non-interference?” Well, Obama announced around $45 billion in new exports to China. The money will come from a deal with Boeing worth around $19 billion, in addition to energy and rail contracts. He said the deals are expected to create 235,000 jobs in 12 states.

The New York Post, which either didn’t get the memo about toned-down rhetoric or decided it doesn’t apply to foreign nationals, described the state dinner as “W. House throws state dinner for job-killer Hu,” because it’s possible to buy counterfeit Coach bags on Canal St.

Over a “quintessentially American” dinner that included Maine lobster, dry-aged rib-eye, and, naturally, apple pie for dessert, the White House used the guest list to its agenda: Rep. David Wu, the first Chinese-American elected to the House, attended the Nobel Peace Prize ceremonies for Liu Xiaobo, the imprisoned Chinese dissident; and Human Rights Watch executive director Kenneth Roth was there as well.

Why was Barbra there? “I worked in a Chinese restaurant,” she explained.

Meanwhile, in talk radio land, Rush Limbaugh used a translation breakdown in Hu and Obama’s press conference as an opportunity to unveil his impersonation of a Chinese person. The fake-Mandarin talk went on for a really, really long time.

Obama Pushes Hu on Rights but Stresses Ties to China [NYT]
At White House Dinner, A Carefully Constructed Guest List [NYT]
Limbaugh Mocks Chinese President Hu’s Language
State Dinner Filled With Old-School Touches [Politico]
WH fetes China’s president while country produces counterfeit goods [NYP

This post has been updated with additional information.

China’s Hu Makes Token Nod to Human Rights, Eats Apple Pie [Update]