China, Barbara Bush, Beijing discussed on All Things Considered


There have also been remembrances of President Bush outside the US, of course in China and editor in the state run. People's daily called him, quote, an old friend who helped set the course for ties Bush was stationed in China in the mid nineteen seventies as America's unofficial embassador is was before the US and China had established formal diplomatic relations, and to talk about Bush's time there and the impact he had on U S China relations. We're joined now by journalist and historian Orville. Schell? Welcome good to be with you. So what would George and Barbara Bush had encountered when they took up residence in Beijing in nineteen seventy four well, it was a very different time Kissinger and Nixon had just been there a few years before and we didn't yet have formal diplomatic relations. So they ran the liaison office, which is sort of a holding operation and Beijing in those days, I mean was utterly different than it is now the streets were empty of cars, people were on bicycles, and the idea of a foreigner, particularly one on a bicycle Bush's hit all the time was a kind of a circus act almost so it was a very very early time when China was just beginning to re-engage with the world outside. Now, you have the opportunity to directly meet with Bush in Beijing in nineteen seventy five I understand what was Bush's mission at the time. Well, his mission was to begin to sort of so back together, the US and China. In the absence of diplomatic relations. It was something of an incomplete diplomatic mission. But I think like many people who come into contact with China in for better or worse. They kind of never get over it. They bond with it in some kind of very organic way. And I think that was very true of that year, the Bush spent there would you say though, within the span of just that one year that Bush was successful to some extent. What did he lay the groundwork for? I think he was one of the very first Americans of any stature who actually live there who got to know the Chinese leadership. He loved to play tennis and played often with people from the foreign ministry, and he became the kind of the original old friend of China, and that served him in very good stead as the years went on. I want to fast forward to nineteen eighty nine a year that has been burned into the minds of many people. It's when the Chinese government violently crackdown on the pro-democracy. See movement in Tiananmen Square. Bush is president at this point. And he sends Brent Scowcroft national security adviser to Beijing to meet with shopping China's leader at the time, which was a very controversial move. What did that move say to you about Bush? Well, it wasn't extremely controversial move. And I remember it well because people were still just reeling from this, very savage attack that had taken place right in the center of the center of the center of China and Tiananmen Square and the avenues leading into it. At the moment. I think there were very few people who felt particularly comfortable about it. But in retrospect, I think history shined a little more kindly on it, and I think Bush properly recognized and his original intention. Remember was to do it secretly. But CNN got a hold of the news that Scowcroft was there and revealed it so his intention was to do it secretly. And to recognize that China wasn't gonna go away just because of this tragedy, and that we had to keep a relationship up with them, even as we censured them and indeed sanctioned them. So there have been many occasions Chinese American relations of this this kind when it might seem morally repugnant to engage. But in fact, the reality is the China isn't going away. It's there and it needs to be engaged whatever the state of grace of the relationship is Orville Schell is the director of the center on US China relations at the Asia Society. Thank you. Very much for joining us today. Great pleasure. In Poland climate negotiators from around the world are meeting to figure out how to keep greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere. The task looks harder than ever as NPR's. Christopher. Joyce reports. New research shows emissions are getting worse for three years. The news about global emissions of the biggest greenhouse gas carbon dioxide was pretty good. They were leveling off. But then they started to rise again in two thousand seventeen and they're still going up. Rob Jackson is a climate researcher at Stanford University last year, we thought was a blip or could be a blip. But it isn't this year. We're up again the second year in a row and emissions arising the slowdown. And then the uptick are largely the result of what's been happening in China. Their economy has been slowing a bit, which is one reason the mission stalled, but now the government is trying to boost growth, and they're green lighting some coal projects that had been on hold. India is also using a lot more coal as the government tries to bring electricity to millions. Who don't have it writing in the journal environmental research letters Jackson notes that Americans are using way less coal now. But like most everyone else in the world, they're using a lot more of another kind of fossil fuel. It's cheap gasoline were buying bigger cars, and we're driving more miles per vehicle. Another hurdle reported in the journal nature this week China is cleaning up its air pollution. That sounds great for pollution, weary Chinese citizens. But some of that air pollution, actually, cools the atmosphere. It blocks out solar radiation, less pollution aerobically. Could mean more warming some climate experts meeting in Poland are eager to point to successes rather than a looming carbon apocalypse, like Corey Lee Kerry from the university of East Anglia in Great Britain. She says take a look at clean energy growth owner and wind power has been in Batman. By governments and by businesses and wind and solar energy. And these investments have driven down the cost down to where renewable energy can compete with coal for new power plants, but renewable energy is far from replacing fossil fuels and the ghostwriters in Poland just got a rude. Reminder of how hard that will be in France a proposed tax on gasoline meant to cut consumption caused widespread rioting the French government quickly put that idea on ice. Christopher Joyce NPR news. You're listening to all things considered on WNYC CBS ousted CEO. Les Moonves says following multiple accusations of sexual harassment and assault. Now, it seems moon vests will not receive his big severance package CBS's outside lawyers say that if CBS wants to fire him for 'cause they are certainly able to do so to have more than enough..

Coming up next