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China: Presidents Hu and Obama set to talk

As Chinese President Hu Jintao arrives in Washington, DC today, he now has the threat of a currency bill to start off talks.

With debt finance, Taiwan and human rights just some of the looming issues likely on the table for discussion, what would be a more conservative expectation for an outcome of this week's dialogue?

Chinese bloggers don't seem to have set their hopes too high, but have been busy assessing every aspect of the relationship between China and the US. Below are a few excerpts from posts featured today on two of China's more economics-oriented blogging communities.

US Senators threatened a currency bill

Post-80s think tank founder from Shandong province, Chi Zhuqiang: Americans don't appreciate us enough

一般认为,中美关系好 也好不到哪里去,坏也坏不到哪里来。不过,从中美关系近来屡屡直逼甚至触犯中方的利益底线和发展态势来看,美国一直占据主动地位,总是先发制人,是发号施令者


Generally speaking, Sino-American relations are doing well, but that alone doesn't change much, ditto if things went south. However, considering how Sino-American relations have recently begun treading upon the bottom line of Chinese interests and development trends. America has always held the upper hand, always the one to act preemptively and issue orders.

This significance of this trip by Chairman Hu to the USA is huge, such that it will allow the American people to correctly understand China and the goals and foreign policy of the Chinese people. China's national chairman's visit to the USA can let those American politicians going around hoodwinking the American people into being hostile to China fail at their own game, and breathe new breath into economic and political exchange between China and America. It will also deepen cooperation between the two countries, helping reduce friction between their governments, and furthering interaction and cooperation between their peoples! Chairman Hu Jintao's visit to the United States will bring many blessings for the people of both countries!

王振平 发表于 2011/1/17 19:50 1楼

Comment on Chi's post:

I really don't see any profound meaning in this spectacle of a visit to America. Last time he went to the USA, his first stop was as a guest at Bill Gates’ home, and this time I just don't see what us regular folk can expect to get from it; instead, what I do see is rising prices affecting more than a billion people. What millions of people are really hoping for is social justice, a sound legal system, democratization, political system reform and more effective curtailment of the all-encompassing corruption. Please spare us your trumpeting.

Investment manager He Shuyuan in Hong Kong: Picking up from their last meeting in Seoul

当时奥巴马没有向中国施压,要求其允许人民币更快升值。相反,奥巴马试图让盟友相信,美国并不是在有意让美元贬值,以获得贸易优势。当时,中国副外长崔天凯表示,关于美联储的购债计划”他们欠中国一个解释,并警告美联储”在做决定的时候,不要只考虑自己的经济,也要考虑对其它国家的影响”。这次当胡锦涛周三访问白宫的时候,情况可能有所不同。汇率紧张关系有所降温。目前中国通胀居高不下,意味着人民币实际汇率升值幅度远高于名义汇率。美国共和党在国会获得更多席位,暗示国会要求给中国贴上汇率操纵国的标签,或大幅提高关税的压力或比以往减小。布鲁金斯学会(Brookings Institution)经济学家Eswar Prasad表示,”在中期选举前对美国是否需要向中国施压一事各方意见并未取得一致。”虽然美联储11月初宣布公债购买计划后,有人担心美元会受损,但实际上美元兑一篮子主要货币随后出现了升值。胡锦涛也可以提及中国最新的贸易数据,其显示12月出口未如多数经济学家预期的那般强劲。可比的美国数据尚未出炉,但美国11月对中国出口创下95亿美元的纪录高位,为中国强调自己正在为平衡全球成长做出贡献提供了论据。在本周峰会前,中国副外长崔天凯的口气已比11月时有所软化。他表示,中国关心其在美国投资的安全性,对于美国就这些投资的安全性发表的积极言论,中国将表示欢迎。美国财政部长盖特纳认为此番言论并无新意,不过是在这种会晤前夕看到的外交辞令。

At that time, Obama didn't put any pressure on China to allow for an upward revaluation of the renminbi. On the contrary, tried to convince allies that America wasn't purposefully depreciating the American dollar in order to gain trade advantage. Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cui Tiankai stated at the time that America owed China an explanation regarding the Federal Reserve's plan to purchase bonds, and warned the American Federal Reserve that when the time came to make a decision, to not only consider the impact on their own economy, but on that of other countries as well.

This Wednesday, when Hu Jintao visits the White House, things could very well be quite different. Relations have cooled over the exchange rate. Inflation in China remains high at present, indicating that the actual exchange rate for the RMB has already risen to surpass that of the nominal exchange rate. The Republican party now controls more seats in the American Congress, which suggests that pressure on Congress to demand China be called out for currency manipulation or substantially increase tariffs is now less than it was before.

Brookings Institute economist Eswar Prasad has stated that prior to the midterm elections, there didn't exist consensus among different parties regarding the issue of whether American needs to put pressure on China. While some worried that the US dollar might suffer following the Federal Reserve's announcement to purchase government bonds in early November, the main currencies in the US dollar basket subsequently continued to rise. Hu Jintao can also reference China's latest trade figures, which show that exports for December were not as strong as had been predicted by many economists.

Comparable data for America hasn't been released yet, but American exports to China set a new record in November with USD 9.5 billion in trade, further proof substantiating China's claims of contributions made toward stabilizing global growth. Leading up to this week's summit, Chinese Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs has already softened his tone in comparison to November.

He says that China's concerns are for the security of its investments in America, and welcomes America's constructive opinions regarding the security of these investments. American Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner meanwhile has said that such remarks don't indicate anything new and is only the kind of diplomatic language one sees before this kind of meeting.



American companies have long complained of receiving unfair treatment while trying to do business in China. Obama will once again press China to allow for faster revaluation of the RMB. Many economists predict that this demand will be met with a more affirmative response, as China is now working to curtail rising inflation, and revaluation of the RMB is a useful tool to that effect. By encouraging domestic consumption as opposed to relying on overseas consumption as a means to sustain economic growth, China on one hand could adopt measures Washington, DC is hoping to see, and at the same time not be seen to be bowing down to foreign pressure. China's inflation data is set to be released the day after Hu Jintao's visit to the White House. This data will show that the residential CPI saw a 4.4% year-on-year rise in December, a slight decrease from November's rise of 5.1%, yet still too high.

‘Hu Jintao’, by Flickr user rbschmitz

Phoenix Blog columnist Zheng Hao: Taiwan will trump many other issues



The way this writer sees it, looking at the current overall situation between the two countries, there are two key aspects which remain severely divisive: one is the Taiwan Problem, the other concerns understanding of China's rapid rise. As for other questions such as trade conflicts, the RMB exchange rate, human rights and Tibet, etc., none will lead to a major setback in Sino-American relations; this has been proven repeatedly in the more than thirty years since relations between China and America were first established.

The Taiwan Problem is one of the main issues with serious impact on Sino-American relations; Not only did it not take a backseat position following the substantial improvement in cross-Strait relations beginning in 2008, but has become even more sensitive and acute given the Obama administration's insistence on selling arms to Taiwan. Recently during American Secretary of Defense Robert Gate's visit to China, exhaustive efforts were made to convince China to keep keep the issues of arms sales to Taiwan and development of military relations between China and the USA separate, even mentioning a ‘law of separation’, to let ‘political problems be political problems, and military relations be military relations”, which was solemnly rejected by the Chinese military, who would see such as severe interference in China's national sovereignty interests, and interference being interference, there exists no question of any ‘separation of politics and military affairs’. America must stop selling arms to Taiwan if it wants to reduce the interference which obstructs Sino-American relations. Only this is in China's core national interests, and in the interests of growth in military relations between the two countries.


With regards to China's rise, particularly China's rapid growth in military strength, many of America's concerns can be seen in trying how best to understand “attitude” problems. It's undeniable that American domestic conservative forces are attempting to use ‘smear’ tactics as means to press the American government to expand efforts in its strategy to contain China. But America's core leaders know very well well that relying on containment alone will not help achieve its goals for China, and in any case, America very much needs China to play a bigger role within the international community, to side with America in addressing challenges faced by the world. Thus, what America needs most with regard to China's rise, is to fix its attitude and learn quickly to get used to it, lest this become a root obstacle seriously obstructing development of Sino-American relations.

Ding Dong, writer on international politics based in Anhui province: What's in Chimerica's best interest


Despite all that's been said, China and America are sailing through an ocean fraught with hostile waters, both seeking to establish a global and regional system which realizes their interests, while at the same time ensures that their own respective national interests are met. Both sides understand how strong and important the other is; America not only hopes that both sides can win from China's developing economy, but also hopes that, politically, China won't fall off track with the West. Which is why the USA needs to contain and deter China, to ensure that America can make China change course when need be. At the same time, America has signaled that, particularly given the financial crisis in which it remains stuck, a close cooperative relationship with China is of utmost importance, as are China's orders and foreign exchange reserves.



Reportedly, America is prepared to roll out the red carpet for Hu Jintao upon his arrival to the US with a highly elaborate reception that will include the American Vice President picking him up from the airport in person, and a private in the White House with Obama, followed by a grand welcoming ceremony and official banquet. These unusual preparations are being made for the country that is most important to today's world, as well as to America.

China can't go anywhere without America, and America can't go anywhere without China, so of course the world can't go anywhere without both of them. America, as with China, is anticipating that, with Hu Jintao's visit, with frank and sincere talks between each side, that both countries will be able to make history and restore order to things, freshly reestablishing the complicated bilateral relations between China and America on issues ranging from trade to military affairs to politics, persuading China to launch political reforms and uphold human rights, and to gradually implement American-style democracy, and, with that, bring China and America into a new era of cooperation.

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