Saturday, April 19, 2014   

Biden stirs US-bound Chinese students to challenge status quo
(12-04 15:17)

US Vice President Joe Biden opened a two-day visit to China by urging young Chinese students to challenge their government, teachers and religious leaders.
Arriving mid day in Beijing, Biden went to the US embassy, where he surprised Chinese citizens waiting to get visitor visas processed in the embassy's consular section. Thanking a group of mostly young people for wanting to visit the US, Biden said he hoped they would learn during their visit that “innovation can only occur where you can breathe free.''
“Children in America are rewarded _ not punished _ for challenging the status quo,'' Biden said. “The only way you make something totally new is to break the mold of what was old.''
The vice president seemed to be alluding to the authoritarian rule of China's government as he described a liberal culture in the United States.
“I hope you observe it when you're there,'' said Biden, flanked by US Ambassador Gary Locke. “From the beginning of our country, it's a constant stream of new immigrants, new cultures, new ideas, new religions, brand new people continuing to reinvigorate the spirit of America.''
Biden also offered measured praise for China's educational system, a day after results from a global exam showed American students once again lagging behind many of their Asian and European peers. Students in Shanghai, had the top scores in all subjects on that exam.
“Even though some countries' educational systems are better than America's _ particularly in grade school _ there is one thing that's stamped in the DNA of every American, whether they are naturalized citizens or natural-born,'' Biden said. “It's an inherent rejection of orthodoxy.''
Similar comments from Biden in the past have created a stir. When Biden in May told students at the University of Pennsylvania that you can't think differently in a nation where you can't breathe free, Chinese students said they were offended and requested an apology.
Earlier, Biden was met by a Chinese military honor guard before being whisked to the US Embassy to highlight efforts to reduce visa processing times for Chinese visitors to the US After an official welcome ceremony later at the Great Hall of the People, Biden was to meet with Vice President Li Yuanchao before his evening session with Xi.
   
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