State, Colin Powell. It's good to see you, Mr. Secretary. (Applause.) And
I see my National Security Advisor, Ms. Condoleezza Rice, who at one time
was the provost at Stanford University. So she's comfortable on university
campuses such as this. Thank you for being here, Condi. (Applause.)
I'm so grateful for the hospitality, and honored for the reception at one
of China's, and the world's, great universities.
This university was founded, interestingly enough, with the support of my
country, to further ties between our two nations. I know how important this
place is to your Vice President. He not only received his degree here, but
more importantly, he met his gracious wife here. (Laughter.)
I want to thank the students for giving me the chance to meet with you, the
chance to talk a little bit about my country and answer some of your
The standards and reputation of this university are known around the world,
and I know what an achievement it is to be here. So, congratulations.
(Applause.) I don't know if you know this or not, but my wife and I have
two daughters who are in college, just like you. One goes to the University
of Texas. One goes to Yale. They're twins. And we are proud of our
daughters, just like I'm sure your parents are proud of you.
My visit to China comes on an important anniversary, as the Vice President
mentioned. Thirty years ago this week, an American President arrived in
China on a trip designed to end decades of estrangement and confront
centuries of suspicion. President Richard Nixon showed the world that two
vastly different governments could meet on the grounds of common interest,
in the spirit of mutual respect. As they left the airport that day, Premier
Zhou Enlai said this
to President Nixon: "Your handshake came over the vastest ocean in the
-- 25 years of no communication."
During the 30 years since, America and China have exchanged many handshakes
of friendship and commerce. And as we have had more contact with each
other, the citizens of both countries have gradually learned more about each
other. And that's important. Once America knew China only by its history as
a great and enduring civilization. Today, we see a China that is still
defined by noble
traditions of family, scholarship, and honor. And we see a China that is
becoming one of the most dynamic and creative societies in the world -- as
demonstrated by the knowledge and potential right here in this room. China
is on a rising path, and America welcomes the emergence of a strong and
peaceful and prosperous China. (Applause.)
As America learns more about China, I am concerned that the Chinese people
do not always see a clear picture of my country. This happens for many
and some of them of our own making. Our movies and television shows often
do not portray the values of the real America I know. Our successful
businesses show a strength of American commerce, but our spirit, community
spirit, and contributions to each other are not always visible as monetary
Some of the erroneous pictures of America are painted by others. My friend,
the Ambassador to China, tells me some Chinese textbooks talk of Americans
of "bullying the weak and repressing the poor." Another Chinese textbook,
published just last year, teaches that special agents of the FBI are used to
"repress the working people." Now, neither of these is true -- and while
the words may be leftovers from a previous era, they are misleading and
In fact, Americans feel a special responsibility for the weak and the poor.
Our government spends billions of dollars to provide health care and food
and housing for those who cannot help themselves -- and even more important,
our citizens contribute their own money and time to help those in need.
American compassion also stretches way beyond our borders. We're the number
provider of humanitarian aid to people in need throughout the world. And as
for the men and women of the FBI and law enforcement, they're working
people; they, themselves, are working people who devote their lives to
fighting crime and corruption.
My country certainly has its share of problems, no question about that. And
we have our faults. Like most nations we're on a long journey toward
achieving our own ideals of equality and justice. Yet there's a reason our
nation shines as a beacon of hope and opportunity, a reason many throughout
the world dream of coming to America. It's because we're a free nation,
where men and women have the opportunity to achieve their dreams. No matter
your background or your circumstance of birth, in America you can get a good
education, you can start your own business, you can raise a family, you can
worship freely, and help elect the leaders of your community and your
country. You can support the policies of our government, or you're free to
openly disagree with them. Those who fear freedom sometimes argue it could
lead to chaos, but it does not, because freedom means more than every man
Liberty gives our citizens many rights, yet expects them to exercise
important responsibilities. Our liberty is given direction and purpose by
character, shaped in strong families, strong communities, and strong
religious institutions, and overseen by a strong and fair legal system.
My country's greatest symbol to the world is the Statue of Liberty, and it
was designed by special care. I don't know if you've ever seen the Statue
of Liberty, but if you look closely, she's holding not one object, but two.
hand is the familiar torch we call the "light of liberty." And in the other
hand is a book of law.
We're a nation of laws. Our courts are honest and they are independent. The
President -- me -- I can't tell the courts how to rule, and neither can any
other member of the executive or legislative branch of government. Under
our law, everyone stands equal. No one is above the law, and no one is
All political power in America is limited and it is temporary, and only
given by the free vote of the people. We have a Constitution, now two
old, which limits and balances the power of the three branches of our
government, the judicial branch, the legislative branch, and the executive
branch, of which I'm a part.
Many of the values that guide our life in America are first shaped in our
families, just as they are in your country. American moms and dads love
their children and work hard and sacrifice for them, because we believe life
can always be better for the next generation. In our families, we find love
and learn responsibility and character.
And many Americans voluntarily devote part of their lives to serving other
people. An amazing number -- nearly half of all adults in America --
volunteer time every week to make their communities better by mentoring
children, or by visiting the sick, or caring for the elderly, or helping
with thousands of other
needs and causes. This is one of the great strengths of my country. People
take responsibility for helping others, without being told, motivated by
their good hearts and often by their faith.
America is a nation guided by faith. Someone once called us "a nation with
the soul of a church." This may interest you -- 95 percent of Americans say
they believe in God, and I'm one of them.
When I met President Jiang Zemin in Shanghai a few months ago, I had the
honor of sharing with him how faith changed my life and how faith
the life of my country. Faith points to a moral law beyond man's law, and
calls us to duties higher than material gain. Freedom of religion is not
something to be feared, it's to be welcomed, because faith gives us a moral
and teaches us to hold ourselves to high standards, to love and to serve
others, and to live responsible lives.
If you travel across America -- and I hope you do some day if you haven't
been there -- you will find people of many different ethic backgrounds and
many different faiths. We're a varied nation. We're home to 2.3 million
Americans of Chinese ancestry, who can be found working in the offices of
our corporations, or in the Cabinet of the President of the United States,
or skating for the America Olympic team. Every immigrant, by taking an oath
of allegiance to our country, becomes just as just as American as the
President. America shows that a society can be vast and it can be varied,
yet still one country, commanding the allegiance and love of its people.
And all these qualities of America were widely on display on a single day,
September the 11th, the day when terrorists, murderers, attacked my nation.
American policemen and firefighters, by the hundreds, ran into burning
desperation to save their fellow citizens. Volunteers came from everywhere
to help with rescue efforts. Americans donated blood and gave money to help
the families of victims. America had prayer services all over our country,
and people raised flags to show their pride and unity. And you need to
know, none of this was ordered by the government; it happened spontaneously,
by the initiative of free people.
Life in America shows that liberty, paired with law is not to be feared. In
a free society, diversity is not disorder. Debate is not strife. And
dissent is not revolution. A free society trusts its citizens to seek
in themselves and their country.
It was my honor to visit China in 1975 -- some of you weren't even born
then. It shows how old I am. (Laughter.) And a lot has changed in your
country since then. China has made amazing progress -- in openness and
enterprise and economic freedom. And this progress previews China'a great
China has joined the World Trade Organization, and as you live up to its
obligations, they inevitably will bring changes to China's legal system. A
modern China will have a consistent rule of law to govern commerce and
secure the rights of its people. The new China your generation is building
will need the profound wisdom of your traditions. The lure of materialism
challenges our society -- challenges society in our country, and in many
Your ancient ethic of personal and family responsibility will serve you
Behind China's economic success today are talented, brilliant and energetic
people. In the near future, those same men and women will play a full and
active role in your government. This university is not simply turning out
specialists, it is preparing citizens. And citizens are not spectators in
the affairs of their country. They are participants in its future.
Change is coming. China is already having secret ballot and competitive
elections at the local level. Nearly 20 years ago, a great Chinese leader,
Deng Xiaoping, said this -- I want you to hear his words. He said that
China would eventually expand democratic elections all the way to the
I look forward to that day.
Tens of millions of Chinese today are relearning Buddhist, Taoist, and local
religious traditions, or practicing Christianity, Islam, and other faiths.
Regardless of where or how these believers worship, they're no threat to
public order; in fact, they make good citizens. For centuries, this country
had a tradition of religious tolerance. My prayer is that all persecution
end, so that all in China are free to gather and worship as they wish.
All these changes will lead to a stronger, more confident China -- a China
that can astonish and enrich the world, a China that your generation will
help create. This is one of the most exciting times in the history of your
country, a time when even the grandest hopes seem within your reach.
My nation offers you our respect and our friendship. Six years from now,
athletes from America and around the world will come to your country for the
Olympic games. And I'm confident they will find a China that is becoming a
da guo, a leading nation, at peace with its people and at peace with the
Thank you for letting me come. (Applause.)
Q Mr. President, yesterday I watched the press conference made by you and
President Jiang Zemin. At the conference, you didn't clearly answer a
question, which is a concern by almost everybody. It's why the TMD system
will cover Taiwan. And what's more, whenever you talk about the Taiwan
issue, you always use a phrase just like, peaceful settlement. You never
use the phrase, peaceful reunification. What's the difference and why?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you, very good question. (Applause.) First of all,
I want to compliment you on your English. Very good.
The first thing that is important on the Taiwan issue is that my government
hopes there is a peaceful, as I said, dialogue, that there is a settlement
to this issue. But it must be done in a peaceful way. That's why I keep
emphasizing peaceful. And, by the way, "peaceful" is a word intended for
both parties, that neither party should provoke that -- go ahead, I'm sorry.
THE INTERPRETER: First of all -- sorry.
PRESIDENT BUSH: She's correcting my English. (Laughter.)
THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, Mr. President. (Continues in Chinese.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: We've had many discussions with your leaders, and I've
reiterated support for the one China policy. It's been my government's
policy for a long period of time, and I haven't changed it. (Applause.)
I also, in your question about missile defenses, have made it clear that our
nation will develop defenses to help our friends, our allies, and others
around the world protect ourselves from rogue nations that have the -- that
are trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. To me, that is essential
for peace in the world. We have yet to develop a system, and therefore,
that's exactly what I said yesterday. And it's the truth. But we're in the
seeing if we can't develop a system. And I think it will bring more
stability to the world than less.
And let me just say one general comment that's very important for you to
know. And it's also important for the people of my country to know -- that
my administration is committed to peacefully resolving issues around the
want the issues resolved in a peaceful manner.
And we've got a lot of issues that we deal with. We're dealing in the
Middle East. And if you follow the news, it's a very dangerous period of
time there. We're working hard to bring peaceful resolution there. We're
working hard to bring a peaceful resolution to Kashmir, which is important
for China. And I recently went to Korea and I made it very clear that we
want to resolve the issues on the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful way.
Another question, please?
Q I'll repeat my question in English.
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you.
Q It's a pity you still haven't given us -- sorry -- give us a clear
question about whether you always use the peaceful settlement. You have
never said "peaceful reunification." It's a pity.
PRESIDENT BUSH: We're back on Taiwan again -- (laughter) -- go ahead.
Q This is a question our Chinese people are extremely concerned about.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Yes, I know.
Q Three days ago, during your speech in the Japanese Parliament, you
said, the United States will still remember its commitment to Taiwan.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Right.
Q But my question is, does the U.S. still remember its commitment to 1.3
billion Chinese people? (Applause.) Abiding by the three Joint Communiques
and three notes. Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Thank you very much. As I said, this seems to be a topic
on people's mind, obviously. I can't say it any more clearly, that I am
that there be a peaceful resolution that's going to require both parties to
come to a solution. And that's what I mean by peaceful dialogue. And I
happens in my lifetime and I hope it happens in yours. It will make a -- it
will be an important milestone.
And, secondly, when my country makes an agreement, we stick with it. And
there is called the Taiwan Relations Act, and I honor that act, which says
we will help Taiwan defend herself if provoked. But we've also sent the
same message that there should be no provocation by either party for a
Next question. Yes, ma'am. That's not a ma'am; that's a male. Sorry.
Actually, I said, yes, ma'am, but --
Q Now, please let me repeat my question in English. Mr. President, I'm a
student coming from the School of Economics and Management in Tsinghua
University. As we can see, China and the United States have a bright future
in scientific and cultural exchanges. Now -- just now, you have made warm
remarks about our universities. So my question is, if possible, do you --
will you be happy to encourage your daughters to study in our university?
Thank you. (Applause.)
PRESIDENT BUSH: I'm afraid they don't listen to me anymore. (Laughter.) If
you know what I mean. Let me -- first of all, I hope they do come here. It
is an amazing country. You know, as I said, I was here in 1975. It is hard
me to describe the difference. It is an amazing transformation. I first
saw that in Shanghai, earlier this fall -- or last fall.
They would benefit from coming here, as would a lot of other United States
students. I think our student exchange program is very important. I think
our nation must be welcoming to Chinese students who would like to go study
in America. I think that would benefit the students, but, as importantly,
benefit American students.
It's so important for people to realize in both our countries that we're
dealing with human beings that have got desires and loves and frustrations.
Even old citizens like me and the Vice President -- (laughter.)
THE INTERPRETER: I'm sorry, sir?
PRESIDENT BUSH: Even old citizens like me and the Vice President --
(laughter) -- can benefit by spending time getting to know each other.
Obviously, there are some issues in our relationship that we don't see 100
percent -- don't have a 100 percent agreement on. But it is so much better
to discuss these issues after you get to know a person, as a person.
We're human beings, first and foremost. There are just some important
characteristics that are real. And, you know, I talked about my families in
my speech. Family is just such an important, integral part of any society.
And China has got a grand history of honoring family that is an important
an important part of your culture. And I hope my country, as well, has a --
known for a strong tradition of family. That's a concept that is not owned
by a particular country; it is universal. And when students get to know
each other, they learn the universality of many values. And that's going to
be important for peace in the world.
Q Please let me translate my question in English. Mr. President, I'm a
student from Center for International Communication Studies. Younger Bush
Neil Bush visited our university just before last Christmas, and he
mentioned that there are many Americans, especially politicians, have a lot
of misunderstandings about China. So just like -- just as our Vice
President Hu Jintao and you mentioned, you all want to make efforts to
promote the Sino-American relationship to go ahead smoothly. So my question
is, being the President of the United States, what will it take -- some
action to promote the contacts and exchanges between the two countries,
between the peoples at all different levels? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, thank you, that's a very good question.
Q Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Well, first of all, my trip here and my discussion here
helps promote -- (applause) -- people in my country are paying attention to
my visit here. And it should interest you that I was here in the fall and
here again in the winter -- twice, in a very brief period of time. That
say something about the importance of our relationships.
It's important for our political leaders to come to China. And I know many
have, and more ought to come. It's important for the rhetoric, when we
describe what we've seen to be accurate and real. And when I go back home,
I describe a great nation, a nation that has not only got a great history,
but an unbelievably exciting future.
Many people in my country are very interested in China, and many come, as
you know. They come to not only see the beautiful countryside, but they
learn more about the culture and the people. And we've got to continue to
encourage travel between both our countries. (gap in feed --)
In 1975, everybody wore the same clothes. Now, people pick their own
clothes. Just look here on the front row, everybody's dressed differently.
Because you thought, this is what you wanted. You made the decision to wear
a beautiful red sweater. And when you made that decision, somebody made it.
And, in other words, the person, the individual, the demand for a product
influences the production, as opposed to the other way around. Recognizing
the desires of the individual in the marketplace is part of a free society.
It is a
part of the definition of freedom. And I see that as the most significant
change that I can see, besides the new buildings and all the construction.
But the most important thing is the human dimension of freeing people to
decide for themselves. And with that freedom comes other freedoms. So you
can understand why the transformation from my memory of 1975 to today is
significant. I mean, it is an amazing change -- for the better, I might
I'll answer one more question, then I've got to go have lunch with your
President. (Laughter.) Yes, sir, in the blue.
Q Thank you, Mr. Bush. Thank you, Mr. President, for giving me the last
chance to ask you a question. I have read your autobiography, and in it you
wrote about some social problem in the U.S. today, just like the violence in
campus and juvenile delinquency, and such as the children in poverty. And
we know -- a former schoolmate of our university, Tsinghua, and he studied
in USA and was killed last year. And I feel so sad. And I know this kind
of crime has
become more and more serious in today U.S. As the President, do you have any
good plan to improve the human rights today in
the U.S.? Thank you.
PRESIDENT BUSH: Sure. Well, first of all, I'm proud to report that violent
crime actually is going down. But any crime is too much crime. I mean,
anytime somebody is violent toward their neighbor, it's too much violence.
there's no question, we've got people living in poverty. But, as I
mentioned, our government is very generous in the amounts of money we spend
trying to help people help themselves. When we all campaigned for office,
one of the big debates is how best to help people help themselves.
Foreign policy is an important part of our campaigns, of course -- at least
for President. But the American voter really is more focused on domestic
politics, what's happening at home, as you can imagine. If the economy is
like ours is now, they want to know what's going to happen -- what are you
doing about the economy? If the economy's good, then they don't talk much
But always we talk about two key issues to address your problem. One is
welfare; how do we structure a welfare system that helps people in need, and
in my judgment, should not make them dependent upon their government. And
the other big issue is education. It's always not only an important part of
campaigns, but it's an important part of being -- once you're in office.
When I was the governor of Texas, I used to always say, an educated child is
one less likely to commit a crime. As a governor, and now as President, I
have spent a lot of time working with members of both political parties to
develop an education plan that starts making sure children learn before they
just get shuffled through the system.
One of the saddest facts about my country is that there are a significant
number of fourth grade students who cannot read at grade level. Imagine a
who can't read in the fourth grade is a child that's not going to be able to
read in the eighth grade. And if a child can't read in the eighth grade,
it's likely that child's not going to be able to read sufficiently when they
get out of high school, and therefore won't be able to go to college. It's
a shame in America that that's the case.
So as part of an education bill I managed to get through Congress last year,
we've got a significant reading initiative, where we'll work with the states
and the local jurisdictions to focus on an education program that emphasizes
reading. This year I hope to work with my wife and others on a early
childhood development program, so the youngsters get the building blocks to
learn how to read.
I'm actually working my way to your question, I promise you. (Laughter.)
Because education is the best anti-crime program. It's important to enforce
law. It's important to hold people accountable for their actions. It is
important to have consistent policy that says, if you harm somebody, there
will be a punishment for that harm. But in the best interests for my
country, the long-term solution is to make sure the education system works
for everybody. And when that happens, there will be a more hopeful future
for people, and there
will be less poverty, less hopelessness, and less crime.
Listen, thank you for letting me come. God bless you all. (Applause.)