Changing China

Giant on the move

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An Unlikely Couple

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Barack Obama and Chinese President Hu Jintao, arguably the world’s two most powerful men, stand shoulder to shoulder for their respective national anthems in Beijing on Tuesday.

But there are few smiles ahead of a morning of bilateral meetings on everything from the value of China’s currency to global warming. With their nations’ fates so bound to the relationship, and faced with the challenge of juggling trade and Tibet, it’s anyone’s guess what’s going through their minds.

It doesn’t help when a slightly disorientated Obama bumps into Hu’s back. But the Chinese President comes to the rescue with a gentle tug in the right direction.

“Which way are we going?” Obama asks Hu (who is not known to speak much English) as they leave their joint press briefing.

It ain’t Confucius’s China any more…

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He knew it the second he landed.

Gymnast Yang Wei knew that mathematically, emotionally, historically and rightfully the men’s all-around Olympic title was his – and the overwhelmingly partisan home-town crowd knew it too.

There was no need for Yang or for his supporters to wait the seemingly interminable minutes for the judges to review his performance on the horizontal bar – as the final participant in the sixth and final rotation of the championship, his lead was so strong that it would have taken a disaster to knock him out of first.

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