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November 15, 2005

Do I Need More Memory of 1989 In My System?

I have been having so little time for myself lately that I can hardly ever do anything China-related. Today I finally got to read the NYT and catch up a little bit. It will be long before I get the time to read more indepth anlysis from other news sources, but here are a few China news to note:

1. China to Give Memorial Rite to Hu Yaobang, Purged Reformer

2. Bush Arrives in Japan, First Stop in Asia Tour

Re: China commemorating the 90th birthday of the late Hu Yaobang, it is good news, indeed, but of course everything done in China to reform a purged leader is a political act to further some immediate goals of the party leader. As the NYT characterizes Hu Jintao's decision to commemorate Hu Yaobang, against opposition from some politburo members, to be a political tactic to reform his own hardliner image, with the recent crackdown on social protests against landtaking, the ban of political freedom and the control of the Internet.

From the sinophile's viewpoint, no matter what it is that Hu Yaobang is being used for in 2005, some 16 years after his death, the revival of his memory, an official recognition of his leadership and the celebration of his birth means a lot.

If you commemorate his birth, you also commemorate his death. The life of a politician, his rise, his fall, and the storm that his death triggered.

I want to be optimistic, and I really want to think that this will lead to a more tolerant policy toward discussions of June 4th. Like I always said, the Chinese people do not forget. I don't. Others don't either.

Re: Bush in Asia, I think this comment of his is kind of cute:

Mr. Bush's biggest challenge may come in how he talks about China as a competitor - for both economic and diplomatic influence, from Southeast Asia to the oil fields of the Middle East.

So far, Mr. Bush has chosen to talk instead about memories from a simpler time: his visit to China exactly 30 years ago, as the ice was breaking with Beijing and his father was America's most senior representative in the country.

"Everybody was on bicycles," he said last week in an interview on Phoenix Television, a Chinese broadcaster. "I rode all over the place in Beijing, which was fascinating," he said, recalling "how odd people thought I looked."

As much as I don't care for Bush, there are moments where he's just so cute. Yes, cute, and probably nothing more beyond that. "How odd people thought I looked."--great quote. Well, have things really changed, some thirty years later?

Posted by sinogeek at November 15, 2005 07:04 PM

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