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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner? 370

Posted by Zonk
from the i-never-get-the-cool-invites dept.
theodp writes to mention a C|Net article about Chinese President Hu Jintao's historic first visit to the U.S.. The catch is that his first dinner won't be at the White House. It will be at Bill Gates' manse. From the article: "The approximately 100-person guest list is a who's who of the U.S. Pacific Northwest power elite, including Starbucks Chairman Howard Schultz and Washington state Gov. Christine Gregoire, said event organizers. The guests will undergo strict security checks before entering Gates' lodge-style, 66,000-square-foot home overlooking Lake Washington with a reported seven bedrooms, six kitchens, 24 bathrooms, a domed library, a reception hall and an artificial estuary stocked with salmon and trout. Gates and Gregoire are expected to introduce and welcome Hu, who will then offer a toast in front of the gathering."
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Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

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  • by Tontoman (737489) * on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:19PM (#15136532)
    Apparently this is a culmination of of Microsoft's effort to reduce software piracy in China [rcpmag.com].
    Founder Technology President Qi Dongfeng said the company would buy $250 million worth of licenses for a Chinese version of Windows over the next three years, to be used on computers sold in China. The two companies also agreed to work together to promote the use of genuine versions of Windows.

    The agreement, which company officials signed at Microsoft's Redmond headquarters, follows high-level talks Tuesday between U.S. and Chinese officials in which China pledged to crack down on piracy and require computers to use legal software. Piracy is thought to be extremely widespread in China, hampering Microsoft's efforts to make money in the vast and growing market.

    The signing ceremony also comes ahead of a visit next week by Chinese President Hu Jintao, who will visit Microsoft headquarters and dine at the home of Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:32PM (#15136582)
    sorry to prick your bubble...but that's whats called counterfeit, not pirated. the former is locally manufactured rip-off, the latter is a perfect, illegal copy of the original
  • by argoff (142580) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:50PM (#15136655)
    ... flock together. They're both controll freaks, they both hate freedom and individual liberty, they both lie about free markets (China's while getting freer is not truely free, nor is MS which relies strictly on license monopolies and not competition), they both think they're smart and have large number of resources, they're both more interested in power and prestige than making a mark. Bill wants a billion people in his market, China wants total information controll over their citizens. In all truth, I wouldn't be suprosed if they slept together.
  • Security? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sumdumass (711423) on Saturday April 15, 2006 @11:54PM (#15136672) Journal
    I wonder how security is going to be handles here. It seems that if some terrorist like the one wanting to get the WTO, knew about all these power players in one area, could think it might be an attractive target for them. It might have as much umph in the finacial world as the 9/11 attacks.
  • geek pres (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NoInfo (247461) * on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:07AM (#15136731) Homepage Journal
    Did you know Hu Jintao got his degree in hydraulic engineering [wikipedia.org]? Why can't we have an engineer presient?
  • by Dis*abstraction (967890) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:43AM (#15136825)
    I wonder where you've been for the past 20 years, because China's been liberalizing in fits and starts for pretty much that whole time. As bad as government repression is now, it's nothing compared to the Cultural Revolution or even the years immediately following Mao. Nowadays you can pick up all the major foreign dailies at any newsstand and flip to almost any channel on satellite TV. To be sure, random pages get ripped out of Newsweek, and CNN cuts to black every now and then. But for the government to permit even this limited degree of openness would have been unthinkable not too long ago.

    The more China opens up, the more hope there is for the rule of law to replace the rule of guanxi (what we in the West would perceive as corruption), so long as people on both sides of the border keep pushing for free speech and open politics.
  • buddies (Score:2, Interesting)

    by monkeyos (957157) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @12:54AM (#15136859)
    "I suppress ideas", "oh, so do i"
  • by Puff of Logic (895805) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @01:16AM (#15136922)
    ...I give you the future. It used to be that heads of state met openly, whilst businessmen made deals behind the scenes. Today, we see a head of state openly meeting with arguably the most powerful businessman in the United States. In a few years, the business men will simple meet, having done away with the facade of "heads of state." We live in interesting times.
  • Clever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Nemus (639101) <astarchman@hotmail.com> on Sunday April 16, 2006 @01:31AM (#15136971) Journal
    This is probably intended more as a snub towards Bush, as opposed to a show of favor towards Gates. While it is typical for business leaders to meet with heads of state (Gates has done it several times, I believe) they typically do it on the head of state's home soil, as a sign of showing favor towards the nation. On the other hand, by making his first official visit to the U.S. one to the home of a person who is still technically a private citizen, Hu is essentially slapping Bush across the face. Otherwise, theres no real reason for Hu to come to the US, as opposed to Bush visiting China.

    Honestly, I'm really not sure how many times since Western style diplomacy became the Gold standard internationally that something like this has happened. For a foreign head of state to visit a country and not visit at least someone in the government first is highly, highly irregular. This isn't so much a tech story, I think, as a political one.

  • Re:Clever (Score:5, Interesting)

    by interstellar_donkey (200782) <pathighgate.hotmail@com> on Sunday April 16, 2006 @02:34AM (#15137129) Homepage Journal
    It almost seems as if the world doesn't have time to keep up the charade. You can meet with US politicians and talk till your face turns blue, but the reality is action and policy is directed by business leaders, and with rare exception our politicans, from the President on down, are going to accomidate those who fund their campaigns.

    Perhaps China realizes this. Why meet with Bush when you know trade policy is going to be in the hands of the American tycoons? Heck, we probably wouldn't go to war unless it somehow served the interests of America's business power elite.

    I'm not saying this is exactly how it is with America's politics, but it sure as heck seems that way. And if it's true, China is snubbing Bush because they simply want to talk to who's really in charge.
  • Re:geek pres (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metlin (258108) * on Sunday April 16, 2006 @02:54AM (#15137160) Journal


    >Did you know Hu Jintao got his degree in hydraulic engineering? Why can't we
    >have an engineer presient?

    Because we elect ours. Sad but true.



    Umm, India is the world's largest democracy and has a rocket scientist and engineer for a President [wikipedia.org] and an economist/professor of economics for a Prime Minister [wikipedia.org].

    Your point?
  • by fantomas (94850) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @05:49AM (#15137494)
    "Nordic-style welfare capitalism"? I thought that Scandinavian countries were usually politically described as social democracies? Any Scandinavians care to comment on how they prefer to describe their own systems (politely ;-) ) ? Apologies if I've got it wrong, I've just never heard the phrase "Nordic-style welfare capitalism" before. Maybe it's just two different spins on the same system, claims from the right and the left to 'owning' the same model?
  • by AtomicBomb (173897) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @06:04AM (#15137522) Homepage
    Actually, the political spectrum in Taiwan is more extreme. In traditional Chinese society, which is preserved better in Taiwan, most people believe that "well educated man should rule the country". Apart from the notably exception of current president Chen Shui-Bian, all the major current and past party leaders (former president Lee Teng-hui, major oppression leaders Lien Chan, James Soong, Ma Ying Jeou) all have PhD (actually all from major universities in US).

    In fact, I ran into a guy from Taiwan in my postgrad class. He was doing his PhD in electrical engineering at the time. I wondered why he made the decision because I knew he did not really enjoy engineering even for his masters. He told me that he had a strong interest in politics and had helped out the election campaign in the last Taiwan president election. His mentor suggested that the shortcut to enter politics was to get a PhD (any PhD preferrably in USA). This still gives crediblity to many people.

    In the past (pre 20 century), educated man in China means proficient in literature, history and poetry. But, after the shock from interacting with the West, people started to worship "technology" (esp in mainland China). It is not a surprise to see engineer president, even if there is a real election in China today.
  • Re:Clever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by tgd (2822) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @06:36AM (#15137562)
    Well look at the two choices. Gates is an intellectual, one of the biggest philanthropists in history, and is spending billions of dollars helping to improve education around the world (especially in the US with his new project) and helping to cure real killer diseases like Malaria.

    Bush is the crowning achievement of the anti-intellectualism movement in America, couldn't imagine doing something good for another human being, but rather would lie and thieve his way to his own and his frieds' personal benefit at the expense of everyone else.

    Fault Gates as you will for his business practices (although they're tame compared to Balmer and nearly every other CEO or ex CEO in business), but I know which of the two I'd rather spend time with.

  • by bogjobber (880402) on Sunday April 16, 2006 @05:29PM (#15139563)

    I can't believe that this post was modded insightful. This is not true at all. The capitalist (if you can call you that) movement in China started well before Tiananmen.

    Deng Xiaoping [wikipedia.org] saw a distinction between socialism as a political system and socialism as an economic system. He knew that socialism as an economic system was not feasible and went about reforming the Chinese economy. Because of the reforms that he started, China started on the track that has turned them into an economic giant today.

    This definitely has nothing to do with Tiananmen. That whole thing sucked, but it has had extremely little impact on Chinese economic (or even social) policy.

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