Pandas! Great Walls! The Forbidden City. Ancient statues. A show . . .
First Lady Michelle Obama plans to pack in an exciting week of sightseeing during what is definitely NOT a vacation excursion with her daughters, who are on spring break, and her mother, who likes to go on Michelle’s trips.
The White House refuses to say how much it will cost you, according to the New York Times.
Well, I can reveal it here:
A couple of air force planes – one for Michelle and one for her stuff – security costs, staff, lodging for everyone. Pay up, suckers.
But this is not a vacation. Please repeat to yourself. This is not a vacation.
I’ll give you a moment.
And on this “official” excursion, no reporters will be permitted to tag along, and Michelle won’t be giving any interviews.
This trip is actually designed to address Mrs. Obama’s lifelong interest in educating Chinese children. And Mrs. Robinson and the first daughters are a crucial element, according to Tina Tchen, Mrs. Obama’s chief of staff:
I will say this as a Chinese American — of family and of three generations of family traveling together, which I think the Chinese will appreciate, and will appreciate the ties and the bonds that the Obama family have with one another across generations. And this is a great opportunity for the Obama family to experience that, and I think for the Chinese to see that as well in an American family.
OH PLEASE HOW STUPID DO YOU THINK WE ARE?
Here’s her itinerary, according to the Associated Press and other reports:
THURSDAY: Arrives Beijing.
FRIDAY: Joins Chinese first lady Peng Liyuan at Beijing Normal School; visits Forbidden City; meets with Peng and joins her for dinner and performance. Peng will lead Obama on a tour of the Forbidden City, which was the seat of Chinese imperial power from the Ming Dynasty to the Qing Dynasty, and the two will see a show and have a private dinner.
SATURDAY: Addresses students at Stanford Center at Peking University; participates in virtual discussion with American youth; visits Summer Palace; meets with staff and families of U.S. Embassy.
SUNDAY: Hosts roundtable on education; visits the Great Wall of China.
MONDAY, March 24: Arrives Xi’an, visits Terra Cotta Warriors Museum, Xi’an City Wall.
TUESDAY, March 25: Visits Chengdu No. 7 High School; meets with staff and families of U.S. Consulate.
WEDNESDAY, March 25: Visits Chengdu Panda Base; has lunch at a Tibetan restaurant.
She won’t, as I’ve reported, meet with any victims of China’s gross human rights violations.
But I’m wondering what’s with the Tibetan restaurant. Is this a subtle political statement? A sign of solidarity with Tibetans who are being oppressed and whose culture is being destroyed by the Chinese government?
Or is it merely a chance to sample some tasty Tibetan food . . .