President Of China Invades US For Six Day Tour
By Bertram Proctor
Forget Pope Francis, Uncle Xi’s in town.
The President of China, Xi Jinping, was in the US last week for a six-day tour. In this time he met with the all the usual suspects: Obama, Biden etc.
More interestingly, though, Microsoft also hosted President Xi in Seattle where Bill Gates and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella sat with Xi’s chief of staff, Li Zhanshu, at the opening banquet. In attendance for the photos were CEOs of the US’s top ten tech companies, from Mark Zuckerberg to Apple’s Tim Cook to IBM’s Virginia Rometty. That’s $2.5 trillion in CEOs all in the same room jostling for one man’s ear.
Wondering why all these powerful, busy tech giants come when Xi wags the finger? Why Zuckerberg and Nadella are being so nice to the leader of a country that bans their products?
If you get into China you can sell to 600 million internet users. All of these companies want to break themselves off a slice of that sweet, rich Chinese consumer market mooncake. Windows 10 is currently awaiting for approval in China, so we’ll see if the banquet pays off.
On Sunday, President Xi led a summit to mark the anniversary of a Beijing conference on women’s rights which took place twenty years ago. Given the perception and state of women’s rights in China, this seemed to be of rather poor taste.
President Obama expressed this distaste by refusing to go, although most other world leaders were in attendance.
Presidential hopeful, Hillary Clinton, who spoke scathingly of women’s rights in China at the original event in Beijing went a step further by launching a shot from the most powerful weapon in the presidential candidate’s arsenal: twitter. The tweet read “Xi hosting a meeting on women’s rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless,” referring to the five female activists who were detained in March for campaigning against sexual harassment.
The state of women’s rights in China notwithstanding, the tweet was met with a superb rebuttal from Li Junhua, director general for international organizations and conferences at the foreign ministry, who said “I believe the Chinese people, particularly the women of China are in the best position to judge on the progress of women in China. As far as I understand, these people are detained not because of women’s rights but because of the violation of laws.”
President Xi also came out with some big news at the summit. Here are the highlights:
- He promised a $1 billion donation to a UN peace and development fund
- He plans to set up a permanent UN peacekeeping force of 8000 troops
- He offered $100 million to the African Union to create an emergency response unit
To be honest, all of this looks like a thin, legitimizing veneer on clear attempts to increase China’s cultural — but mostly just actual — hegemony. Although, this is what any strong world leader would do.
But then again, his prowess wasn’t strong enough to push the Pope off of the front page, or John Boehner’s tears.