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Think Tank

Xi Jinping: From The Oval Office To The Basketball Court

It may be a day dedicated to love. But for Xi Jinpin, China’s presidential heir apparent, it is a day dedicated entirely to business...and basketball.

Trade deficits, currency devaluations and human rights issues are the topics dominating the dialogue between President Obama and Xi Jinpin, whose highly anticipated visit to Washington D.C. today is generating its own conversations in the media.

Here's what they're saying:

Fair Trade and Human Rights

For Obama, the meeting is hot on the trails of a request he made to Congress yesterday for $26 million and a panel of 50 people to “investigate unfair trade practices in China and other countries,” according to Bloomberg. Obama is driving home the point that China’s growing economic power requires policing to ensure “balanced trade and to recognize the aspirations of all people for greater rights.”
Read the article here.

Waging Peace

Jeffery Bader wrote an op-ed in the Financial Times highlighting the need for Xi’s success in both foreign and domestic affairs in order to ensure peace between the U.S. and China.

“The world's major rising power is indeed a global competitor of the United States, but it is at the same time a country beset by staggering problems at home that will preoccupy Xi's tenure. It is too soon to know whether Xi will aggressively tackle China's economic and governance problems with preemptive reforms, as former Premier Zhu Rongji did 15 years ago, or whether he will pursue a cautious course and simply seek to muddle through. It is in Washington's interest that he succeed if he takes the former route. American condemnations of China, its leadership, and its development achievements will not derail Xi or prevent China from achieving its national destiny, but they will ensure that most Chinese will see America as its adversary rather than its partner.”

Read the article here.

Unfriended by Mao, Will Xi be a Friend to the U.S.?

Xi’s experiences as a child growing up during the Cultural Revolution ranged from privilege to poverty. His father was a communist party hero of the revolution who fell out of favor with Mao Zedong. A profile about Xi in The Wall Street Journal praises his “elite party pedigree, populist sensibility, and earthy pragmatism.” These traits are “fueling hopes in China and the U.S. that Mr. Xi will galvanize an unwieldy collective leadership, and set a fresh timbre for relations between Beijing and Washington over the next decade.”
Read the article here.

An Unusual Stop

The New York Times notes that Xi’s stop at the Pentagon was highly unusual since he is a civilian official. This visit underscores the "strained military relationship" between the countries in recent months, the article notes, "with China balking at Mr. Obama’s reassertion of the American military presence in Asia."
Read the article here.

A Taste of Linsanity

These days, it seems like basketball fans will use any excuse to talk about Jeremy Lin, the undrafted point guard who led the Knicks to five straight wins. Xi will use his downtime in Los Angeles to attend a basketball game at Staples Center. “That Lin, a Chinese-American, and Xi, the Chinese leader who will preside over the NBA's largest potential market, are cementing U.S.-China links on the court should make NBA Commissioner David Stern smile.”
Read the article here.

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