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Post Mixed Reception Awaits Chinese President in U.S.

Seattle, April 17 - Red and gold Chinese flags drape the International District in celebration of Chinese President Hu Jintao's two-day stop here en route to Washington D.C. But some Seattle residents are not happy that the city and state are rolling out the red carpet.

Hundreds of demonstrators are expected downtown after Hu's arrival Tuesday.
Practitioners of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement labeled an "evil cult" in China, will be protesting oppression. Taiwanese-Americans will be asserting that island nation's right to independence. Tibetans will be calling for an end to China's rule of their homeland.
But for many, Hu's visit here - his first U.S. stop before going to Washington, D.C. - is good news.
"There's pride in the International District about China's rise, and lots of people will be quite happy that he's coming," said David Bachman, a professor at the University of Washington's Jackson School of International Studies.
Assunta Ng, who publishes the Northwest Asian weekly, said Hu's visit will be a test of his diplomacy. "The world is watching," said Ng, who also publishes the Chinese-language Seattle China Post, which last week offered a 12-page special section on Hu's visit.
Chinese-American community leaders organized a welcoming party "to counteract the protest," said Ng, who plans to join other media, including scores of reporters from China and Hong Kong, at Boeing Field for his arrival.
There won't be many protests from labor, said David Grove with the Washington State Labor Council. This is one state where the balance of trade with China is not a problem, he said. Just last week Beijing placed a tentative order for 80 Boeing jets, and Hu planned to visit Boeing's Everett plant Wednesday.
"Our members understand the significant role China's going to play in airplane sales for the next 20 years," said spokeswoman Connie Kelliher at Machinists Lodge 751, whose members help build those planes. "Our concern is always about how they treat their people," she said of the human-rights issues that continue to shadow China.
Hu is dining Tuesday with Microsoft founder Bill Gates, whose company also does big business with China. On Friday, China announced a ban on sales of computers without legal software to ease Microsoft's concerns about piracy.
The Chinese president is also meeting with Gov. Chris Gregoire and other U.S. Northwest leaders.
Tibet has been chafing under Chinese rule for decades - and, from 1988-1992, under Hu's leadership there.
"When he was there, the big pro-independence demonstration in 1989 was brutally cracked down under his orders," said Tenzin Wangyal of Seattle, whose family followed the Dalai Lama, the Nobel Peace Prize-winning spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism, into exile in India.
"A lot of peaceful protesters were killed and arrested and tortured and some to this day we don't know what happened to them," Wangyal said. "We feel that he has responsibility for what he has done."
Wangyal said he expects about 100 people, members of the Tibetan Youth Congress, Students for a Free Tibet and supporters from Seattle, Portland, Oregon; and Vancouver, British Columbia.
Another 100 people are expected by Stanley Hsiao of Bellevue, Washington, a member of the Taiwanese-American Association of Greater Seattle. Taiwan split with China in 1949 amid civil war, but the mainland claims the island as part of its territory.
"Of course China, they try to indicate that they like to be friends with Taiwan but ... they have more than 800 missiles aimed at Taiwan," Hsiao said. He was wary of the motivation for Hu's visit, suggesting it was a "trick to temporarily please the American people."
Publisher Ng says Hu is different from his predecessors - younger, and an engineer by training.
"It's kind of unfortunate that even though he's young, his mind is old," countered Dr. Juang Lu Lin of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Commission. "He still stick to the old Chinese principle that Taiwan cannot separate from China."
Falun Gong practitioner Zhi-ping Kolouch said she hopes 300 people - from California, Oregon and Montana as well as the Seattle and Spokane areas - will join her Tuesday to protest Chinese oppression. She saw China's influence in the denial of a demonstration permit for her group.
"We're still going to have a sidewalk parade ... tell the people what's going on," she said, referring to imprisonment and torture that have drawn criticism from United Nations human-rights investigators. China said the investigators were not in the country long enough to understand its complexities.
"As long as persecution keep going, protest keep going, too," said Kolouch, who questioned why the state would do business with such a regime.

plz pray,
God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed him! How shall we console ourselves, the most murderous of all murderers? The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed, has bled to death under our knife....
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