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February 23, 2009
Clinton ends Asia tour stressing economic ties in China

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s week-long tour of Asia ended this weekend with high-level talks in China, which covered the global economic crisis, global warming and North Korea’s nuclear program.

Cheng Li, the director of research at the China Center at the Brookings Institution, joins Martin Savidge to discuss whether American-Chinese relations are at a turning point, what Clinton’s talks accomplished and why she downplayed any reference to China’s human rights record.

The secretary of state’s visit naturally received widespread coverage in the Chinese media. One article posted on a Chinese website, NetEase, described how Clinton encouraged the Chinese government to keep buying U.S. treasury bills. Clinton stated that it would not be in China’s interest if the U.S. economy does not recover.

China is already the world’s largest holder of U.S. debt.

Chinese readers of NetEase were asked to vote on that idea and disapproved of it by a margin of ten to one. Worldfocus associate producer Hsin-Yin Lee translated these snippets of opinion from Chinese commenters:

A user from the Zhejiang province wrote:

The scenario is like the “farmer and snake” — you save it, and then you get bitten.

Another user from that province wrote:

It’s a battle between reality and esteem: Although reality is important, esteem is non-tradable.

A user from the Guangdong province wrote:

The U.S. does have money. What it does is to spend money on war, on developing technology, and on blocking China.

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