President Bush delivers his preference for US-style values at Tsinghua University, but emphasizes Washington's hope for better relations with Beijing.
President Bush, perhaps taking a leaf from<注1> his wife's gift for teaching, delivered a primer<注2> on the America he knows to Chinese university students, telling them that "in a free society, diversity is not disorder. Debate is not strife, and dissent is not revolution."
Speaking before an audience of 240 Tsinghua University students in the school's main auditorium,<注3> the president said, "Life in America shows that liberty, paired with<注4> law, is not to be feared....A free society trusts its citizens to seek greatness in themselves and their country."
At the end of his remarks, the president fielded<注5> questions for 20 minutes with the young audience, clearly enjoying the exchange. When one young woman asked why he wouldn't like his daughters, Jenna and Barbara, to come to China and attend this historic university, Bush told them: "I'm afraid they don't listen to me anymore, if you know what I mean." He said the Chinese youngsters certainly have an amazing country and he thought his daughters should visit it.
The president told the students he was speaking on the 30th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's trip to China that changed the two countries' relationship. Nixon's visit was a trip designed to "end decades of estrangement and confront centuries of suspicion."<注6> During the years since, "America and China have exchanged many handshakes of friendship and commerce.""In fact, Americans feel a special responsibility for the poor and the weak. Our government spends billions of dollars to provide health care and food and housing for those who cannot help themselves ... Many of our citizens contribute their own money and time to help those in need. "
Bush said his "country certainly has its share of problems and faults. Like most nations, we're on a long journey toward achieving our own ideals of equality and justice. Yet there is a reason our nation shines as a beacon<注7> of hope and opportunity, a reason many throughout the world dream of coming to America."We are a free nation, where men and women have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. No matter your background or circumstance of birth, in America you can get a good education, start a business, raise a family, worship freely and help elect the leaders of your community and country. You can support the policies of our government, or you are free to openly disagree with them. Those who fear freedom sometimes argue it could lead to chaos, but it does not, because freedom means more than every man for himself."
Bush told the students: "We are a nation of laws. Our courts are honest and independent. The president can't tell the courts how to rule and neither can any other member of the executive or legislative branch.<注8> Under our law, everyone stands equal. No one is above the law, and no one is beneath it.
"All political power in America is limited and temporary, and only given by a free vote of the people.<注9> We have a Constitution, now two centuries old, which limits and balances the powers of the three branches of our government: judicial, legislative and executive."
President Bush made his remarks at Tsinghua University, sometimes called China's MIT<注10> because it is a science and engineering school of the same prominence as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The students seemed eager to ask him questions, several posing the question first in Chinese and then asking it in English. 'Even the students were soft on me by posing non-confrontational questions.' Bush said.
When asked what was the most different since his visit 27 years ago, Bush answered that "everybody wore the same clothes. Now people pick their own clothes. Just look at the front row, everybody's dressed differently."
Bush also told the audience that President Jiang had agreed to visit the United States next October in conjunction with<注11> his attendance at the Asian Pacific Economic Conference and that Vice President Hu Jintao would be visiting the United States shortly.
A professor at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences said: 'Mr Bush's trip is successful because it paves the way for high-level contacts, and allows smoother exchanges at other levels.'
Thirty years have passed since President Richard Nixon's breakthrough trip to China in mid-February 1972.That was an 'Ice-Breaking' Visit to China, marking the beginning of a normalization process for relations between the two countries. On February 21, 1972, Richard M. Nixon arrived in China for an eight-day official visit. He was the first U.S. president to visit the People's Republic of China since 1949.
After meetings of exchange of views on major issues, Nixon and his wife visited the Great Wall, the Ming Tombs and the Imperial Palace during their stay in Beijing.
Nixon's visit to China resulted in a pledge to expand cultural contacts between the two nations and plans to establish a permanent U.S. trade mission in China.
As they left the airport that day, Premier Zhou Enlai said to President Nixon, "Your handshake came over the vastest ocean in the world twenty-five years of no communication."
Like Mr Nixon, Bush visited the Great Wall. He asked the guide where Mr. Nixon had climbed up to. 'At the top of the northern tower, about 760 m high,' the guide told him that Nixon had stopped there. Mr Bush said: "Good. Then, I will take a few more steps."
Mr Bush also pointed out to President Jiang that he was the first American President to visit China twice in four months—the first time being for the Asia-Pacific summit in Shanghai last October.