China nervous about US protests

Thousands to demonstrate in Washington

Washington, 25 October 1997

According to recent news reports, China is getting nervous about the protests planned in the United States during the upcoming visit of president Jiang Zemin to Washington and other U.S. cities.

On 10 October, Chinese Foreign Minstry spokesman Shen Guofang stated that: "Washington must take action to ensure demonstrations do not spoil this month's state visit by President Jiang Zemin." He warned that US officials must ensure President Jiang had a "wonderful" time during a tour that is expected to include stops in seven cities.

In preparation for the trip, the Chinese have waged a slick public relations campaign, trying to create a moderate image. As part of this campaign, President Jiang granted an interview with the Washington Post. As is customary, the Post put the article on its Internet edition. What happened then, is described in this hilarious article in the St. Petersburg Times.

In Washington Mr. Jiang will be greeted by thousands of protesters from US-based human rights groups, Tibetan exiles and the Taiwanese-American community.

A protest rally will be held on October 29th outside the White House when President Bill Clinton hosts Mr Jiang at a state dinner. International Campaign for Tibet spokesman Bhuchung Tsering said it would be a robust protest. Christine Haenn, of Amnesty International, said at least 1,000 people were expected to crowd into Lafayette Park, including US actor Richard Gere, a student of the Dalai Lama. Gere's new film, Red Corner, about an American caught in the Chinese legal system, will premiere in Washington the week before the summit.

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