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Jiang's U.S. visit marred by protests

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[October 21, 2002] Jiang Zemin, China's President, arrived in Chicago this morning in the midst of vigorous protests from O'Hare Airport to the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in downtown Chicago where Jiang is staying. To avoid being seen by protesters, Jiang and his entourage entered the hotel through its rear entrance.

Tibetan Youth League and pro-Taiwan groups have staged loud rallies, waving banners and shouting slogans around the hotel. On the contrary, about two thousand adherents from the Falun Gong spiritual movement have shown up with their their hallmark silent meditation to appeal for their fellow followers in China.

Jiang is expected to host a banquet tonight for local officials and business leaders at the Ritz-Carlton before leaving for Houston the next morning. He is scheduled to meet President Bush at Crawford Ranch on October 25 to discuss a range of issues such as nuclear program in North Korea, anti-terrorism cooperation, the Taiwan issue, Iraq, and human rights, sources say.

Three buses of Chinese students were shipped to the Ritz-Carlton to welcome Jiang. One of them told a reporter that he received a free sweater and $35 from the Chinese Consulate General in Chicago for showing up at the welcome rally. At one point, these students had some loud verbal exchanges across a guarded street with the Tibetan group and pro-Taiwan group.

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