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CHINA: The visit by President Bush

"Chinese President Jiang Zemin believes fellow Politburo member Li Peng is behind the planting of electronic listening devices aboard the president's new U.S. jetliner". I questioned this statement in the Washington Times. Paul Simon defends the theory that it was indeed done by Li Peng to find out what Jiang was saying about his alleged corruption: "Who says the Texas contractor did it? Chinese intelligence operatives were present throughout he detailing process, or the bugs could have been installed post delivery. The Li Peng theory is much more logical than the "US bugged Jiang's plane" theory". The latest (2/16-22/02) issue of The Economist has a major article entitled "Something rotten in the state of China", which deals largely with the corruption of Li Peng and his family.

Corruption in China was the subject of a paper, quoted in the article, by researchers at Beijing's Qinghua University (sometimes spelled Tsinghua). President Bush gave a speech there (2/21/02). It was chosen because it received American help when it has founded in 1911. The audience presumably was friendlier than it would have been at the larger Beijing University. Although the question of Jiang's plane was very much on people´s minds, Bush naturally did not refer to it, but in a long justification of the US and its ways he said that no one, not even the president, is above the law. He blamed Hollywood for giving a false picture of the US, presumably referring to its cult of crime and violence. He made no reference even indirect to the Enron scandal. His good-humored Norman Rockwell account of the US seemed to go over well, even though students clamored to ask him questions, especially about Taiwan. He simply said that it must be settled peacefully, without violence by either side. He referred to President Nixon's visit to Beijing, but made no mention of Kissinger, who accompanied him and presumably suggested the visit to Nixon. Colin Powell, Condi Rice, and other members of the Bush group sat quietly in an upper balcony. The event was more pleasant than the joint press conference Bush and Jiang had held the day before.

Ronald Hilton - 2/22/02