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Chinese President Hu Jintao concluded a four-day trip to the United States this weekend. It was a rare visit from the leader of the world’s second largest economy to the world’s largest economy, China and the United States, respectively. The two nations have had increased tension in their relationship over the last year over trade disputes. In the meetings this week, President Barack Obama was pushing for a more even playing field for American products in China, for China to stop devaluing its currency, and for greater protection of intellectual property in China. China is seeking greater market access to sell its products in the United States and wants more opportunities for investment here. A trade package was announced that will result in $45 billion in U.S. exports to China, which will help support 235,000 U.S. jobs. President Obama placed pressure on China to improve its human rights policies while President Hu made a surprising proclamation that a lot still needs to be done on human rights in China.


  1. Can President Hu’s visit be considered a success for President Obama? Should it be considered a success from China’s perspective?
  2. Some analysts believe that President Hu’s comments and those by his advisors during his visit indicate that China may let its currency the yuan appreciate faster than it has been doing since June of last year. What are the implications to China of allowing its currency to appreciate?
  3. China has been criticized for its policies on human rights and its treatment of religious minorities. Evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of the United States using trade policies as a lever for bringing about social change in a nation.
  4. China launched a media campaign promoting itself that featured basketball star Yao Ming and other famous Chinese people to coincide with Chinese President Hu’s visit to Washington. Will the advertising campaign be successful in portraying the country and its citizens in a positive light?


DATE: January 18, 2011


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