President Hu Jintao is dropping by the White House for a State dinner tonight. This is getting heavy coverage in the Chinese press, of course they don’t refer to him as President, they call him Chairman Hu Jintao. You know, just like Chairman Mao. When asked about this, the White House said it was a “translation issue”. Really?
It’s a translation issue that the public face of the last big Communist oligarchy should be referred to as “President” by the US government and the corporate press that is owned by the transnational companies that benefit from sending our jobs over there. Back home in China they make no pretense that he is “President” of anything but simply reflects the will of an eight man committee that in theory holds all power. Mr Hu is set to retire in 2012 and his deputy will assume the job.
There is debate in the West as to whether or not these eight men really run things or if the various bureaucracies like the military, the security state and the banks are out of control or at least compete for their own interests. This is mostly wishful thinking as China’s resounding success indicates that there is little if any real infighting.
Referring to a non democratic leader appointed by a group of eight unelected leaders as “President” is not a stretch for the establishment in this country. They had no problem in the past referring to non democratic leaders appointed by as few as five unelected people as President and Vice President. It’s just a matter of translation.