White House Press Corps 'Welcome' in Beijing

When I arrived in Beijing with other members of the White House press corps following President Bush to the Olympics on a chartered aircraft, we received an interesting introduction to the bureaucratic ways of China. Check out my latest entry to our On The Plane blog, about traveling with the president.

--Michael Abramowitz

August 8, 2008; 4:20 AM ET  | Category:  Postmark Beijing
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Government bureaucracy is the same everywhere you go. My own experience dealing with bureaucracy in the U.S. is something I'd never forget.

Posted by: Mickey | August 8, 2008 12:34 AM

When I arrived in Beijing with other members of the White House press corps following President Bush to the Olympics on a chartered aircraft, we received an interesting introduction to the bureaucratic ways of China

Posted by: martin | August 8, 2008 7:26 AM

It is understandable that the White House press corps that experienced the abnormal delay and search this morning in Beijing might be a little reluctant to complain too vigorously or speculate about the motivations of the government of China. However, to this outside observer it seems possible that this could have been an attempt to do two things: provide a little payback for the criticism that Bush has been doling out in the last few days, and intimidate the White House press corps as well as the visiting press of the other free countries.

On the first point, the Chinese government may not want to provoke Bush directly with a retaliatory gesture, so it may have chosen the safer alternative of giving his entourage a hard time. On the second point, if I were a reporter in that group, I might be tempted to hold my tongue a bit until I was safely back home. For those reporters who are not under the wing of the President, i.e. most of the visiting press, there may be an even more intimidating message: those who criticize the Chinese government or its handling of the Olympic games might find that it a little longer and harder process than they thought to get home. If the White House press corps was given an unusually hard time, imagine what they might come up with for the rest of the press.

China’s massive effort to win standing in the world with a impressive Olympics my fall far short of its goals if they are found to be too heavy handed in the way that they manage the event and handle dissent. It seems like a safe assumption that the White House press corps is already somewhat less impressed than they might have been without the unusual little detour and search that their hosts arranged for them in the wee hours of the morning.

Posted by: Gary | August 8, 2008 4:35 PM

Can't you even tell that Bush is not welcome to China? After hearing all those insults from this foolish guest, I don't think the chinese want him to be in the party.

Posted by: Maersk | August 8, 2008 5:32 PM

Bush’s statements in South Korea and Thailand before arriving in China were the regular and important criticisms of the Chinese government for its poor human rights record and its slow progress in granting freedoms to its own people. Does anyone think that Bush would not have received a torrent of domestic criticism if he had failed to make such statements before attending the games? Many did not want him to show up at all. But instead of applauding or just remaining silent about his recent statements it seems that some of his critics will not be satisfied; in an earlier post in this series he is chastised as a foolish and insulting guest. I am quite critical of many of Bush’s policies myself, but his recent stands in favor of human rights and freedoms for Chinese citizens seem above criticism. One suspects that certain of his detractors would blast him no matter what stand he took on an issue.

Posted by: Gary | August 8, 2008 6:43 PM

The fictional "George and the Dragon" story is not the same as what's happening today at the Olympics: George Bush befriending the Dragon (China). Anyway, I admire the Chinese people, but I still have this unsettling fear that sooner or later the Dragon will grow stronger, then gobble up the west. This is because George and rest of the world are feeding the Dragon in the name of One World, One Dream. But the secretive Communist Party of China never released the full text of the Olympics slogan, which reads: "One World, One Dream, under Chinese Rule." We might soon be revising the story into "The George Gobbling Dragon".

Posted by: Drexel | August 8, 2008 10:09 PM

Freedom lovers, beware, Chinese pride is also growing along its booming economy. Of course, we equally hate American Pride, but at least American hegemony is tempered by Religion and Christian based constitution. China has none of these God-Love-Justice concept. Why invest in China when there are other Asian countries whose cultures are compatible with western ideals?

Posted by: Lapi-dah | August 8, 2008 10:29 PM

When I watched the Olympics Opening Ceremony on TV, I was not moved into tears, like when I watched on TV the previous Olympics in Greece and Australia. Something is missing despite the spectacular show. I failed to detect genuine goodwill for all mankind. Its like a plastic show or something. And I can almost visualize a Red Army Soldier in his green uniform saying to me - SEE, WE CAN DO THIS BETTER THAN YOU.

Posted by: Manilyn | August 8, 2008 10:44 PM

You can't breath the fresh air of democracy in there. The smog of tyranny is polluting the city.

Posted by: Ike | August 8, 2008 10:48 PM

Contrary to what the mainstream media want to project, my China experience is not as enjoyable. When I saw the huge portrait of Chairman Mao I kept asking myself 'What is that mass murderer's face doing at the olympics? Isn't this an event that promotes peacemakers only?

Posted by: Calogero | August 8, 2008 11:05 PM

Oh no! Its the Hitler Olympics all over again. GIVE US FREEDOM, or give us refund!

Posted by: Tourist | August 8, 2008 11:14 PM

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