> Nation
Shanghai youth: Let's get personal
By Yu Ran, Xu Junqian and Ding Jieying (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-11-12 08:49

SHANGHAI: Personal questions rather than political ones will greet United States President Barack Obama when he meets young people of Shanghai on Monday, during his first state visit to China.

A phone survey of university students by China Daily showed a majority of the young scholars found Obama's personality most captivating and inspiring.

"He is handsome and charming," said Qin Hao, 22, a post-graduate student of politics and public management at Hunan University, who is an intern at a company in Shanghai.

He said he is fascinated by Obama's rise against all odds to the top job in the US. Although he believes Obama has the talent and skill to be a successful leader, he questioned his lack of experience in economic and foreign affairs.

"I would like to ask him what his personal feelings about China and the Chinese people are at a time of increased trade friction with his country because of the global economic downturn," Qin said. "Is he a protectionist at heart?"

Xu Junnan, a 22-year-old journalism major at Shanghai's East China Normal University, said that when she watched Obama's presidential campaign he came as a sincere and honest person. She said she supports Obama's healthcare reform because she believes that China is also troubled by shortcomings in its healthcare system.

What will she ask Obama if she has a chance? "He has brought up two lovely daughters and I would like to ask him what advice he would give to Chinese girls to realize their 'Chinese dream', which isn't all that different from the 'American dream'," Xu said.

Jian Shuyuan, a 22-year-old student of international politics at Fudan University, said that she was in the US as an exchange student when Obama was elected president.

"I was thrilled by the carnival-like atmosphere in the University of California Berkley campus, where faculty members and students joined in a huge parade to celebrate Obama's victory," she said.

Jian said she would like to know what Obama really thinks about bilateral trade and economic relations between the US and China. And, by the way, "I am keen on hearing the president talk about his personal experience as a student in law school," she said.

On a less personal note, 20-year-old Wang Tianyu, who majors in international relations at Fudan University, asked: "Will the president review his administration's Sino-US policy once the world economy is firmly on the path to recovery?"

First he takes Shanghai

Experts and businesspeople think Obama's trip to Shanghai, China's financial center and largest city, will promote Sino-US economic ties.

Liu Aming, a researcher with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, said that Obama will be the first US president to first set foot in Shanghai during his state visit to China.

"It shows how important Shanghai is in China's economic development as he attaches great importance to Sino-US economic interactions."

Kenneth Jarrett, former US consul general in Shanghai and vice-chairman of APCO Worldwide, Greater China, said: "The Shanghai stop will give the president a chance to see another part of China before his official activities in Beijing."

"Shanghai is China's financial and business capital as well as the home of significant investment by US companies," he said.

Cao Li and Daniela Meyer contributed to the story

(China Daily 11/12/2009 page3)