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    Repiglican Roast

    A spirited discussion of public policy and current issues

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    I'm furious about my squandered nation.

    Wednesday, July 30, 2008

    Bush's Family Ties to Business With China

    Pictured: Another Member of Bush Crime Family, Prescott
    When President Bush arrives in Beijing on Thursday, he'll embrace a policy that's something of a family tradition.

    Bush's approach centers on promoting U.S.-China economic ties. That's a course favored not only by his father, the first President Bush, but also by his uncle, Prescott Bush Jr., a longtime acquaintance of Chinese President Jiang Zemin.

    The Bush family's ties to China go back to 1974, when President Nixon named George Bush ambassador to China. The college-age George W. Bush spent two months in China visiting his parents during his father's two-year stint.

    Seven years after his brother left the ambassadorial post, Prescott Bush made his first trip to China. He later joined with Japanese partners in 1988 to build a golf course in Shanghai, the first in China. He met Jiang, who was then the mayor of Shanghai.

    [...]

    Along with access, the family name has also brought scrutiny to Prescott Bush's deals:

    • He was criticized in 1989 for visiting China to meet with business and government leaders just three months after the Tiananmen Square massacre, in which army troops fired at pro-democracy demonstrators.
    • His Shanghai partnership with the Japanese firm Aoki in 1988 proved embarrassing when revelations surfaced that Aoki at the same time was allegedly trying to get business contracts by bribing Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega, whom the first President Bush later ousted from power.
    • His connections to an American firm, Asset Management, came into question in 1989, when the company was the only U.S. firm able to skirt U.S. sanctions and import communications satellites into China.
    • When Asset Management went bankrupt later that year, Bush's deal to arrange a buyout through West Tsusho, a Japanese investment firm, raised eyebrows. Newspapers reported that Japanese police were investigating West Tsusho's alleged ties to organized crime.

    Bush declines to discuss those controversies. "That's old news. It's in the past," he says.

    Last year, he opened the U.S.-China Chamber of Commerce offices in Chicago. The membership roster includes United Airlines, American Express, McDonald's, Ford and Arthur Andersen, the beleaguered company that audited Enron's books.

    Bush says opportunities abound now that the 1997-98 Asian financial crisis is in the past: "The Chinese are very much interested in getting foreign capital in. They desperately need the jobs."

    Last fall, Bush hosted a well-attended trade conference in Chicago at which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Zoellick gave the keynote address. At a dinner he sponsored last month at the Yale Club in New York, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Negroponte, was guest of honor.

    Perhaps the most intriguing question about Bush's China connections is whether he played a role in ending a U.S.-China standoff in April, when a Chinese fighter jet collided with a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the South China Sea. The Chinese pilot was killed, and the U.S. plane made an emergency landing on Hainan island, where 24 U.S. crewmembers were held for 11 days.

    The president's uncle traveled to China just hours after news of the incident broke. He flew aboard United's inaugural flight from Chicago to Beijing. Other dignitaries on the largely ceremonial flight stayed a few days, but Bush didn't return home for two weeks. Moreover, U.S. Ambassador Joseph Prueher met Bush — but not the rest of the group.

    [....]

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