Obama Free Speech Plea In China Not Free

China’s media heralded the event as one in which President Obama would dialogue with Chinese university students, but after several moments, the entire process was cut off from viewers. The American president was speaking to government selected group of students who sat silently throughout Obama’s presentation in which he uttered such un-Chinese statements as, “that all men and women are created equal and possess certain fundamental rights. The government should reflect the will of the people and respond to their wishes. That commerce should be open, information freely accessible and that laws, not simply men, should guarantee the administration of justice.” In fairness, it should be noted the Chinese government did allow a few minutes of this talk to appear before they heard the actual words and then cut to some other interesting topic.

Students did ask some questions, or, at least, the questions they were given to pose by government officials. There are reports Obama and President Hu Jintao will have a press conference, but one should expect it will consist of statements from the two leaders, no questions and a quick departure.