George W Bush has concluded a trip to China marked by a symbolic visit to one of Beijing’s few recognised Protestant churches. The US president called for greater human rights, including religious freedom in China.
The visit came at a time of tension over the economic effect of cheap Chinese imports to the United States. Bush and his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao agreed to cooperate on achieving more equitable trade and reforming the yuan: “The trade policy must take into consideration your currency, must take into consideration our desire to sell you beef, must take into consideration intellectual property rights,” said Bush, referring to the massive counterfeit trade coming from China. When a reporter then tried to ask a further question, the president cut him off and made for a hasty exit through a set of double doors – but found they were locked. The incident was brushed aside with a joke – “I was trying to escape” – as an aide pointed the president to the correct exit. Rounding off his visit, Bush traded his suit for a wind-breaker to indulge in his favourite sport, going on a bike ride with aspiring Olympic athletes in Beijing. His Asian tour takes him to Mongolia on Monday.