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April 27, 2005

Letting ‘Em Know Who’s Hu

In terms of political power, heavy winds are starting to blow from the Orient.

With the old Pope gone, Blair looking tired, Putin losing his pull, and Bush slowly going south, the most aggressive player on the world stage is now Chinese President Hu Jintao.  Although not the visible yet (at least on Western radar), Hu is rapidly elevating his profile with highly obvious, highly pressured, and tightly choreographed confrontations with Japan and Taiwan.

If, a week ago Monday, China’s pride war with Japan brought us this:



The latest visual installment in the face off delivered this:


With China pressuring Japan no-end for an apology over war abuses, Japanese Prime Minister Koizumi finally buckled under and supplied one at this Asia-Africa summit in Jakarta.  Not pacified, though, Hu accepted the regret with a warning that Japan keep it’s nose out of China’s business with Taiwan.

This image couldn’t show the Chinese leader in a more “one-up” position.  He’s front-and-center, as the expression goes, as the Japanese leader (with some hairs literally out of place) passes deferentially by.  In a classic poker expression, Mr. Hu looks impassive, but possibly also a bit smug.  In a less diplomatic pose, the Cambodian Prime Minister is openly laughing, however (possibly in confidence with Hu).  The expression could be random.  Given the politics, however, it’s easy to imagine that there is some snickering going on.

(image: Ed Wray/APApril 23, 2005 in The New York Times)

  • Chris Reed

    In all fairness to Prime Minister Koizumi, his hair always looks like that. In fact, his haircut is as famous as he is in Japan.

  • Annoying Old Guy

    It’s the last gasp of a dieing regime. The PRC is already trying to cut back on the protests because no regime has killed more Chinese than one currently running China. It’s a measure of the desperation of the ChiComs that they had to resort to this kind of dangerous agitation.

  • aethorian

    Koizumi and Hu got a little closer later on. And this isn’t the first time, with happier faces in Chile last fall, and Uncle Vlad chaperoning in Saint Petersburg back in 2003.
    C’mon everybody, put on a suit, a smile, and shake hands. Everyone will feel better, including the folks back home. For those who need some Chinese Cross-Cultural Advice:

    6. Handshakes are a Western greeting imported into China. Traditional Chinese may not be completely comfortable with it. More often than not, handshakes in China are soft and limp, but this should not be taken as a reflection of the person.

    A few minor problems may lie ahead where East meets West (or in-between), but that’s why we have protocol officers.

  • Bruce

    It’s also been retouched. Badly.
    Why is his hair blacker than anything in the photograph? Blacker than the darkest part of the darkest black suit in the scene? Someone boosted the contrast of his entire head in order for him to “pop” visually.
    Strange, and amateur.

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