First Lady Michelle Obama rounded out her trip to China Tuesday and Wednesday with additional political statements, adding greater value to her excursion.
At a high school in Chengdu Tuesday, she said Americans have “the right to say what we think and worship as we choose,” an obvious suggestion that the same is not true in China.
And she used her and her husband’s ascendancy to the White House as an example of the United States evolving away from discrimination, a clear contrast to Chinese repression of its minorities.
Michelle’s trip to a Tibetan restaurant in Chengdu Wednesday was intended – and is being interpreted within China – and a show of support for China’s oppressed Tibetan population.
But as her tour of Panda Base Chengdu today with her daughters and mother illustrated, this trip has on balance been a hugely expensive taxpayer-funded adventure travel vacation for Mrs. Obama.
From today’s pool report:
Pool arrived Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Walked through groves of bamboo, cool misty morning, pink blossom trees, birds chirping. Shut to the public for Obama visit. Cameras and reporters lined up about ten feet back from low wood fence, pit for five pandas and their bamboo shoots below the fence.
Nevertheless, the trip can no longer be classified as an utter, frivolous waste. And by making political points subtly – though within China, noticeably – Mrs. Obama helped make it more difficult for Chinese authorities to block her message than if it were delivered into their faces.