Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Chinese Disrespect for Obama Grows

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Just prior to the November 15 Obama visit to China, a front-page article in the New York Times began with the following sobering assessment: “When President Obama visits China for the first time on Sunday, he will, in many ways, be assuming the role of profligate spender coming to pay his respects to his banker.”

Thus we see acknowledgement of the fact that China holds more U.S. debt than any other country and, consequently, has the power to pull the plug on the American dollar. That’s not a good position for any American president to find himself. President Obama went to Beijing, therefore, not to tell the Chinese what’s expected of them, but merely to reassure them that their investment in America remains sound. As the saying goes, he went with his hat in his hand. 

If he wanted to do so, Obama could have visited the T-shirt store where the hottest item being offered is a shirt depicting him wearing a Mao Zedong hat. Over 200 shirts have been sold, said the joyful proprietor. He further explained that the smiling image of the U.S. president has him wearing the hat “sideways,” not the way the late Chinese dictator always wore his. Why the slightly different placement of the green hat?  “Because it’s like the way all Americans wear their hats,” grinned the hat seller. 

Reuters reported that customers at this establishment can also purchase handbags portraying the same tilted-hat image of Obama. Next, said the happy merchant, there will be boxer shorts adorned with the president’s likeness. No doubt, there will soon be coffee mugs and other paraphernalia, all of which suggests an eerie parallel between Mao and Barack. Young Chinese have been given little information about their deceased leader’s deeds; they don’t know that he was the worst murderer the world has ever known. 

The gleeful peddler claims to have sent one of his hot-selling T-shirts to the White House. To date, he told the reporter, he has received no response. Perhaps the handbag would earn him a letter on White House stationery. 

In days gone by, it would have been unthinkable for anyone to poke such a jest at a U.S. president. Or, if something like that had been tried, there would have been a prompt official protest. Not so in this case however. When you’re a borrower with your hat in your hand, whether a Mao hat or any hat, you have to endure such an insult.      

Photo: AP Images

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