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Thursday, 21 February, 2002, 15:21 GMT
Cool reaction on Beijing's streets
Chinese walk past a television showing US President George Bush
There has been little excitement about Bush's visit
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Rupert Wingfield-Hayes
BBC Beijing correspondent
line
President Bush's reception in Beijing has been distinctly low key - no big ceremony in Tiananmen Square, no walk through the Forbidden City.

Chinese armed police clear a crowd on Tiananmen Square in Beijing
Many were simply annoyed that their daily stroll was disrupted
Security throughout Beijing has been extremely tight and there have been no public appearances at all during his visit.

So what are ordinary Chinese people making of this visit and what do they think of George Bush the man?

On the streets of Beijing there is little sense of excitement at the US president's visit.

Indifference

As his armoured motorcade swept along the Avenue of Eternal Peace, few pedestrians even turned to look.


Why after America has lost only two buildings, does it continue to kill so many innocent Afghan civilians?

Beijing student

Some expressed disbelief that it really was the US president; others were just annoyed at being barred from strolling on Tiananmen Square.

China's government is giving President Bush a warm welcome but most ordinary Chinese appear indifferent.

One common response is to compare President Bush unfavourably with his predecessor, Bill Clinton.

Negative image

The former US president wowed China with his charm and charisma when he visited here four years ago.

One Chinese newspaper asked students at a top Beijing university to e-mail questions they would like to ask the US president.

From the collapse of Enron corporation to the size of America's defence budget, virtually all were negative.

"Why," one asked, "after America has lost only two buildings, does it continue to kill so many innocent Afghan civilians?"

See also:

21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Bush puts stress on human rights
21 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
China's heir apparent to visit US
20 Feb 02 | Asia-Pacific
Analysis: Neither enemies nor friends
20 Feb 02 | Americas
US-China dialogue warms
18 Feb 02 | Business
China and US reap economic rewards
21 Feb 02 | Media reports
Chinese President's speech in full
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