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China's nose thumb at the Obama Administration

I sure am glad that we're led by one of the brightest, smartest, most intellectual leaders we've ever had in office:

How to evaluate the results of last week's China-U.S. summit in Washington? Improbably, the key for the entire event may lie in what is usually the least memorable portion of these carefully choreographed occasions: the cultural program at the concluding state banquet.

During the dinner's musical interlude and following a duet with American jazz musician Herbie Hancock, Chinese pianist Lang Lang treated the assembled dignitaries to a solo of what he described as "a Chinese song: 'My Motherland.'" (You can watch this on YouTube.)

The Chinese delegation was clearly delighted: Chinese President and Communist Party chief Hu Jintao, stone-faced for many of his other photo ops in Washington, beamed with pleasure upon hearing the melody and embraced Lang Lang at the song's conclusion (see it on YouTube too). President Obama, for his part, amiably praised Lang Lang for his performance and described the event as "an extraordinary evening."

But what, exactly, is this "gorgeous" and "beautiful" (Hu's words) tune that so entranced China's visiting leadership?

"My Motherland" is not a "Chinese song" in any ordinary meaning of the term. Instead, it is a Mao-era propaganda classic: the theme from "Triangle Hill" (Shangganling), a film in which heroic Chinese forces fight, kill, and eventually beat Americans in pitched battle during the Korean War.

"My Motherland" epitomizes the "Resist America, Aid [North] Korea" campaign that Beijing embraced during and after the Korean War. It celebrates Sino-American enmity. The gist of the tune can be seen in its lyrics (see the Wikipedia translation):

When friends are here, there is fine wine
But if the wolves come
What greets it is the hunting gun.

(Two guesses who "the wolves" are.)

"My Motherland" is still famous in China; indeed, it is well-known to practically every Chinese adult to this very day. Unfortunately, this political anthem and its significance were evidently unknown to the many members of the administration's China team--the secretary and deputy secretary of State, the assistant secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific, and the National Security Council's top two Asia experts--who were on hand at the state dinner and heard this serenade. Clueless about the nature of the insult, they did not know to warn the president that he would embarrass himself and his country by not only sitting through the song, but by congratulating Lang Lang for it afterward.

Although Americans are often tone-deaf to cadences of symbolism in international relations, the Chinese are not. And for Chinese audiences, the symbolism of performing "My Motherland" to a host of uncomprehending barbarians in the White House itself hardly required explanation. This was a triumph of sorts for a newly assertive, and more nakedly anti-American, strain in Chinese foreign policy. The episode has reportedly already gone viral over the Chinese Internet, where the buzz on this crude and deliberate snub is overwhelmingly and enthusiastically positive. Hu can thus return home confident his visit to America will widely be regarded as a success domestically-- for reasons his American counterparts do not yet seem to comprehend.

The piece goes on to note why it is that this administration's incomprehension on this and other matters dealing with China is most problematic.

While all this is ignored, leftist attacks on Sarah Palin's intelligence continue from the ignorant and clueless.


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Comments (12)

Where's that RESET button w... (Below threshold)

Where's that RESET button when you need it, Barry?

The real insult here is tha... (Below threshold)
Don L:

The real insult here is that China is the very culture that sees dishonor in everthing, being ultra sensitive to insult. For them to act as they did to our hyper-bowing-submissive president is doubtfully an accident.

If you need to prop up your... (Below threshold)

If you need to prop up your stature with your people it's a recipe guaranteed to work almost every time. Meet Obama somewhere (your country, the United States, the setting doesn't really matter) set up a situation that reinforces his impotence and you accomplish your goal without breaking a sweat. Heck, you can do something disrespectful like this and he'll even bow to you ("please sir can I have another"). I assume these leaders feel by our electing this guy he is a reflection of the United States today. I think Obama was not kidding when he said he was a blank slate. Blank indeed.

This from the 'smartest' ad... (Below threshold)

This from the 'smartest' administration evah...

I seriously doubt they have any clue as to Chinese culture and background other than they know takeout can be delivered.

I'm betting the Chinese recognized the (P)resident is subservient and are rubbing it in his face.

Donald Trump was a guest on... (Below threshold)

Donald Trump was a guest on the Sean Hannity show recently (last week I believe) and he emphasized the fact that right now, the Chinese have no respect for us. In his opinion, China will always have the upper hand until we earn their respect.

Of course this probably makes a lot of liberals happy, since they feel guilty any time America demonstrates any kind of strength.

WTF? [Winning The Future]<... (Below threshold)

WTF? [Winning The Future]

WTF= Wanting To Fail... (Below threshold)
jim m:

WTF= Wanting To Fail

I blame Bush ... (Below threshold)

I blame Bush

Best and Brightest Administ... (Below threshold)

Best and Brightest Administration, evah! Led by "The Smartest Man in the World!"

"we're led by one of the br... (Below threshold)

"we're led by one of the brightest, smartest, most intellectual leaders "


It must be that the criteria for evaluating intelligence, IQ have been reversely changed overnight. Are you sure we are not led by the biggest mouth in the office?

Who cares about a nose thum... (Below threshold)

Who cares about a nose thumbed when our rectum is being reamed?

When is Barry's Shang Hai s... (Below threshold)

When is Barry's Shang Hai shakedown scheduled? Before or after his Bangladesh bow down? Losing track of the clueless boy blunder.

WTF= Watch This Fool






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