Face-to-face meeting bridges all

By Wang Zhuoqiong (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-11-17 07:54

Face-to-face meeting bridges all
Vice-President Xi Jinping presents a gift of flowers held by a girl to US President Barack Obama upon his arrival in Beijing from Shanghai yesterday. [Pang Xinglei/China Daily]

It was a learning experience for both sides.

"Nong Hao!" Those were US President Barack Obama's first words to the Chinese public Monday.

The US leader had learned to say "hello" in the Shanghai dialect from his ambassador Jon Huntsman, to the delight of listeners during his dialogue with Chinese college students in Shanghai.

At his first stop of a four-day trip to China, the president of "change" and "Yes, we can" carried a clear message of "cooperation" to Chinese young people, said Lei Xiangling, 24, a graduate school student in China Agriculture University.

The visiting president's remarks in encouraging a more open and free online community have made an impression on Internet users.

"It makes sense to have less restriction and more freedom in blogs, websites and forums," said Li Nan, 25, a software engineer in Hunan province.

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"Maybe some of the comments on the forums are biased and even wrong. But as Internet users become mature, they will gradually develop more objective opinions."

Obama's modest comments on his Nobel Prize fulfilled many people's curiosities including Meng Si, 22, a writer for an environmental organization.

"I have great expectations for Obama since he gave the 'Yes, we can' speech in last year's election."

Li Li, co-founder and chief director of China Youth Climate Action Network, said he was excited over the possibility that Obama might have reached consensus on emissions reduction.

"Without the agreement from the US and China, the negotiations in the upcoming Copenhagen meeting on climate change will be even more challenging," he said.

Li, who has been actively involved in exchanges and communications with US young people on climate change issues, said China has made a great deal of efforts in reducing emissions.

"The US has been restricting our development rights by adopting climate change as a political vehicle," Li said. "I think they are worried about changes to their own lifestyle."

He Liangliang, a commentator for Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV, said the interactions with young Chinese people will be inspiring to both sides.

"Obama does not understand China very much," he said.

Face-to-face meeting bridges all

"The questions from Chinese young people, the issues young people care about most, are one of the most crucial parts of Obama's interactions with the Chinese public," he said.

"To know more about the future leaders is one of the best ways to understand a country," said Dai Wenming, an international news editor in Shanghai.

"Chinese students demonstrated a wide range of knowledge of international affairs during the meeting," she said.

However, the dialogue missed many heated issues in the Sino-US relationship, such as trade frictions, and the US' energy and Asian strategies, Dai said.

Face-to-face meeting bridges allFace-to-face meeting bridges all

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