The meeting was planned after Hu Jintao cancelled his long-awaited three-day US trip earlier in September so Bush could deal with the Hurricane Katrina aftermath. Hu offered US$5 million in aid and said, "at a time when the American people face the difficulty of serious natural disaster the Chinese people stand steadfastly with them." Bush thanked China for the words of solace.
Despite the friendly gestures, some say the delay of the official visit may have been a relief for both governments, since neither side had appeared particularly conciliatory in the weeks before the planned meeting. There had been high hopes that Hu's first US trip since taking office might repair atrophying relations between the two states. Sino-US relations had been strained by growing tensions fueled by the rising anti-Chinese sentiment in Congress, the US-China textile row that remained unresolved after four rounds of talks; China's ties to states such as Myanmar and Zimbabwe – relationships that Deputy State Secretary Robert Zoellick said would "have repercussions elsewhere." China, in turn, warned the US against helping Taiwan to defend itself against the Mainland. Bush is now set to visit China in November at Hu's invitation.
Meanwhile, Hu traveled to Canada and Mexico as scheduled, giving China the opportunity to strengthen diplomatic ties in America's backyard. In Canada, Hu urged businesses to double the already massive China-Canada bilateral trade by 2010. Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin agreed to work with China on nuclear energy, railway technology and health research.
During Hu's visit to Mexico, Mexican President Vicente Fox said he and the Chinese leader shared a "broad consensus" on the United Nations and the Security Council reform initiative. Despite fiercely competitive trade relations, in a show of cooperation, the two agreed to a framework that may eventually allow Chinese companies to mine iron and other minerals in Mexico.
Joint military exercises
China and Russia held their first-ever joint military exercises in hopes of boosting economic and political cooperation between the giant neighbors and sending a message to the US about their growing power. The eight days of war games involving nearly 10,000 armed forces personnel took place the Russian Pacific near Vladivostok and in China's coastal province of Shandong. As the exercises wrapped up with a mock-air strike, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov hinted that China and Russia may take part in future drills.
China okays torture probe
A top UN official will be allowed to visit China's detention centers as part of an investigation into torture allegations, the UN Human Rights Agency announced. Manfred Nowak, the organization's special investigator on torture, will visit China in November to carry out an inspection and meet with government officials. China outlawed torture in 1996 but activists and lawyers claim that it is still widely practiced in the country, prompting widespread criticism from the international community.
Unpaid migrant workers
Migrant workers often go unpaid for their labor, according to two surveys released by the Chinese government. In 2004, unpaid wages totaled nearly US$2.5 billion and a quarter of 3,288 migrant workers questioned by researchers said they were not fully paid, according to the National Economic Research Institute survey. In Beijing, US$375 million was owed last year to 700,000 laborers working on construction sites, the Ministry of Labor and Social Security survey said.
Human rights accord
Beijing signed an agreement with the UN Human Rights Commission to work on reforming China's legal system and eventually adopt a UN treaty on civil and political rights, but no timetable was set, according to a UN statement. The agreement states the UN human rights watchdog agency will help Beijing to find alternatives to imprisonment, teach human rights in schools and revise the country's criminal procedure laws.
Hu Yaobang remembrance
Hu Yaobang, whose death sparked the 1989 Tiananmen Square demonstrations, will be publicly remembered in a ceremony at the Great Hall of the People for the first time in 16 years on November 20, the ninetieth anniversary of his birth, Beijing announced. Wary of provoking further popular demonstrations, the government had avoided mention of Hu since 1989.
In the latest incidence of the increasingly frequent protests by rural residents against pollution, land requisitions and corruption, dozens of people were injured in Zhejiang province when police clashed with villagers who were demanding the closure of the Tian Neng Battery Factory that they said was spewing lead into the environment, the Associated Press reported, citing witnesses and hospital officials. Following confrontations with the police, thousands of demonstrators torched police cars and broke into government offices, witnesses reported.
Guangzhou's hunger strike
Riot police broke up a hunger strike early September in front of the Guangzhou Pahyu District office by 18 village women demanding the removal of their village chief Chen Jinsheng, whom they accused of embezzling funds from rentals and land sales, the South China Morning Post reported. For a month they had barred entry to the village accounts office and demanded an investigation by auditors from Guangdong. Some were arrested and released; one man was detained and threatened with "education" through forced labor if he did not disclose the names of those behind the demonstration. A reporter from the SCMP was detained for questioning and the windows of his taxi were smashed in.
China-EU deals signed
At the annual China-EU summit, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and EU Commission President Manuel Barroso. The two countries signed several agreements in areas such as transportation, environmental protection, space development and construction. No agreement was made to end the EU's 14-year arms embargo on China.
China Airlines and EVA Airways became the first Taiwan-based airlines since 1949 to receive permission from China's aviation authority to use Mainland airspace. The carriers plan to each make more than 50 passenger and cargo flights a week over mainland China to such destinations as Hanoi, Paris and Vienna.
China, Bangladesh in pacts
Premier Wen Jiabao and visiting Bangladeshi Prime Minister Khaleda Zia oversaw the signing of a number of agreements and several MOUs covering energy, education, tourism and culture. Chinese President Hu Jintao also held separate meetings with Zia, The first woman prime minister of Bangladesh. Zia's visit to China marks 30 years of diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and China, a relationship marked by steady development, Hu said.
China by numbers
China's consumer price index (CPI) rose 1.3% year-on-year in August, compared with a 1.8% year-on-year growth rate recorded in July and 5.3% in August 2004
China's FDI in The first seven months of the year fell 3.4% from a year earlier to US$33.09 billion.
Chinese direct investment abroad increased to US$5.5 billion in 2004 from US$2.9 billion the year before, with the US, Russia, Japan, Germany and Australia being the top destinations for Chinese capital.
China's banking regulator said 1,697 staffers of financial organizations were held for bank crimes in the first half of this year. Of these, 570 were high-profile staffers at banks.
Floods have killed 1,024 people and left another 293 missing in China so far this year, according to China's State Flood Control and Drought Relief Headquarters.
Prices of raw materials and fuel rose 8.1% in August from a year earlier, while prices for copper, aluminum, lead, zinc and nickel increased between 7.5% and 18.1%. Steel-product prices rose between 2.8% and 3.3%.
Japanese companies now account for about 36% of car sales in China, almost twice as much as European models and nearly three times more than US brands.