THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
(Shanghai, People's Republic of China)
For Immediate Release
June 30, 1998
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
IN DISCUSSION AND CALL-IN
ON SHANGHAI RADIO 990
Studios of Shanghai Radio
Shanghai, People's Republic of China
12:14 P.M. (L)
PRESIDENT CLINTON: First of all, I want to thank the Mayor
for welcoming me to Shanghai, and say I very much enjoyed my first morning
here. We did go to the library, my wife and I did, and we met with a
of citizens from in and around Shanghai who are involved in one way or
in China's remarkable transformation. And they helped us a lot to
what is going on in China.
I also want to say a word of appreciation to President
for the very good meeting we had in Beijing and for making it possible for
to reach out to the people of China through televising our press conference
together, and then, of course, I went to Beijing University yesterday,
and spoke with the students there and answered questions. And that was
And then to be here in Shanghai, one of the very most
places in the entire world, to have the chance to begin my visit here with
this radio program is very exciting. So I don't want to take any more
I just want to hear from the questioners and to have a conversation so that
when it's over, perhaps, both the American people and the people of China
understand each other better.
MR. ZUO: Mr. President, you already can see our TV screen
right in front of you there are so many people waiting in line to talk to
We're really happy about this. How about we just start right here, okay?
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Let's do it.
Q I am in a foreign trading company in the city
of Shanghai, and the question I'd like to ask of President
Clinton is as follows: Right now, America is the number two
trading partner of China and the President of the United States,
in facing the Southeast Asian crisis today, and also as far as
increasing the cooperation between our countries, what do you
think and what would you like to do to make this better?
THE PRESIDENT: First of all, Mr. Fong, that is a
very good question and it has occupied a major amount of my time
since last year, when we saw the difficulties developing in
Indonesia, in the Philippines, in Thailand, in Korea and, of
course, in Japan.
I would like to begin by saying I believe that China
has done a very good job in holding its currency stable, in
trying to be a force of stability during the Southeast Asian
crisis. Secondly, we are working together, the U.S. and China,
and we are working through the IMF to try to help all these
countries stabilize their economies and then restore growth.
But I think the last point I'd like to make is that
we cannot see growth restored in Asia unless it is restored in
Japan. Now, in Japan the people are about to have an election
for the upper house of the Diet, so this is not an easy time for
them. But the government is going to disclose in the next couple
of days what it intends to do in the area of financial reform.
If it is a good proposal and the confidence of the
investors of the world is raised, then I believe you will see the
situation begin to turn around and the pressure will be eased in
China and we can see some economic growth come back to Japan and
these other countries. It is very important to the United States
and very important to China. We're working hard on it.
MR. ZUO: Yes, that's right, everybody should know
that we've been working so hard, we in China have been working so
hard to try to not devaluate the RMB. That would be a great
pressure on us. Mayor, it seems to me that I remember that the
United States has a lot of trade going very well with us here
right now; is that right?
MAYOR XU: Yes, that's right, you're right about
that. This year we had a lot of trade growth between us and the
United States. It was up 30 percent in the first five months.
To Shanghai, as far as imports and exports go, actually there's
pretty much of a balance because in Shanghai we import a lot of
equipment, high-tech stuff from the United States. We hope that
our trade will continue to develop with the United States.
MR. ZUO: Okay, Mr. Fong. Today there are a lot of
people wanting to talk to the President so we'll just end it
Mr. President, you were just at the library before
this and now there's somebody from the library calling -- look at
that. (Laughter.) They'd like to engage an exchange with you,
Q Mr. President, I am from the Shanghai Library.
I work there and my name is Mr. Chung. When you were touring our
library with Mayor Xu just now and talking with him when you were
at the library I was very happy. I was so happy that you were
there doing this. And the question that I'd like to ask you is
as follows: Please, can you tell me, as far as getting the
Shanghai Library and American libraries going for better and
better exchanges, what can we do to increase the amount of
exchange and cooperation between them?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I think that we
need to make sure that all of our major libraries are connected
through the Internet so that we can ship information back and
forth over the Internet that is not available in the libraries
themselves. For example, if you have total Internet connection
with the New York Public Library, which is our largest public
library, then there would be things that you have they don't
have, but you could send them over the Internet. There would be
things that they have that you don't have that could be shared.
So what I will do, since you have asked this
question, is, when I get home, I will ask the people who are in
charge of our major libraries -- the Library of Congress, which
is the biggest library in Washington, D.C., it's our national
library, and the New York Public Library, and perhaps one or two
others, to get in touch with the Shanghai Library and see whether
we can establish a deeper partnership.
I was very impressed that the Shanghai Library has
300,000 members who actually pay the annual membership fee -- 10
yuan. And I think that -- we have many people using our
libraries, too. I would also like to figure out, if I might, how
these big libraries in America and China can better serve the
small libraries in the rural areas, where people are so hungry
for information and they don't have as much as we do, those of us
who live in the bigger areas. So I will work on this.
Q Okay. Thanks, Mr. President.
MR. ZUO: Mr. President was just saying that
libraries, especially in the rural areas should expand what they
can provide. We agree, not just for the people living in the
city, but a lot of people are saying, our farmers, or those
people living -- they want to read, too. Give them books to
read. A lot of people -- what we're doing now is teaching them,
we're bringing libraries to the countryside.
THE PRESIDENT: But as you know, you now have the
computers with the Internet hookups, and if you have printers
there, then people all over China can order articles out of the
Shanghai Library and just print them out on the computer. So
that all you have to have now is a hookup with a printer in the
small libraries, in the smallest villages and anything in the
Shanghai Library can be sent to them. Of course, it's more
expensive if it's a book. But if it's just an article it's easy
to print out, takes just a couple of minutes.
MAYOR XU: Yes, but we really have to take computer
knowledge and spread it, right. It's very important here,
computer-wise, we have to get everyone connected, connected to
the Information Superhighway. For the countryside in China there
are a lot of people that don't even have a power grid, that don't
even have electricity there. So first we've got to get the power
grid going, we've got to get that out to everyone. That's the
first thing we've got to do, because I think, what I'd like to
add here is that this library has like 300,000 people who have a
library card. And every year they pay 10 RMB, or something like
that. But they only take up five percent of the entire
resources, they only make up five percent of the budget. And the
government has to make up a lot of that.
As the Mayor, I'm willing to put that money in. I
think that's very important, the best investment you can make to
improve the life and education and information situation for the
people living in Shanghai. So I'm willing to do that.
and also acquire the skills necessary to operate in the
MR. ZUO: Right now we're talking about libraries.
Look, here we have somebody talking about education issue. We
have Mr. Wong on here and he'd like to ask Mr. President and the
Mayor to talk about education in China and the United States.
Q Distinguished Mr. Clinton and Mayor Xu, I am
very happy that I was able to get in on this call. I am one of
the college professors living in Shanghai and I'd like to ask a
question, which is, you are both connected with education.
That's your fate. You're both education type people. Mr.
Clinton, since you've been in office you have been advocating
education reform, and I think you, Mr. Xu, have been the
president of a university. So can you both talk about
educational exchanges and the future for them between the United
States and China? That's the question I'd like to ask here.
PRESIDENT CLINTON: Well, first of all, let me say
that we are working very hard in America to make sure that more
of our own people go on to university, and also acquire the
skills necessary to operate in the computer age. So, I have
worked very hard to open the doors of universities to more
people, to make sure that the cost of the education is not a bar
to people going.
Now, in addition to that, we want to promote more
exchanges of students. I want more American students to go to
other places in the world, including China, to study, to learn
the language, to learn the culture, to understand the nation.
And I very much want to bring even more students from around the
world to the United States to study. So perhaps there's
something we can do coming out of this trip -- the Mayor and I --
to have more exchanges with people from the Shanghai area,
because I believe it's very important. And I think it will only
grow more important as we move into this new century.
MAYOR XU: Oh, I very much agree with what President
Clinton said about how important education is. And we have to
let everybody have the access to education -- everyone have the
privilege to have education. I agree. In Shanghai, the
education is quite universal. It's more universal here than it
is anywhere else in the country. We, right now, among our high
school graduates, 60 percent of them get into colleges. But we
right now would even like to raise that percentage. We'd like to
work through radio education, TV education, or adult education,
to try to fill up the extra 40 percent, to make up that gap.
As for the education issue, I would like to talk a
little bit here with the President about something. Let's talk
about traditional Chinese education versus American education.
We have a different way -- a different way of thinking about it.
For example, in the Chinese education, we talk about the filling
of information into the student, whereas in the United States,
they try to make the students more able, they try to teach you
how to have ability to do things. So a lot of tests -- Chinese
students are very good at getting very good grades on tests, but
not necessarily when it comes to scientific research. I think in
this area, the two of us should try to reach a balance point. I
think that's very important.
Another thing I'd like to say here is that whether
you're talking about the parents or the schools in China, we have
very high standards for discipline. They have to work together,
and they have to be disciplined. We have high standards in this
area. And in the United States, I believe, they emphasize the
students being free, they want to give them more freedom.
So a lot of the professors in China think it's so
hard to understand how it's going on there. They think it's such
a messy, loud situation in the classes, or that it's not so
organized. They think it's so weird. A lot of times when you
ask questions here in China, the students are too shy to raise
their hands and ask the questions, because they're used to
listening to the teacher speak, not listening -- to
participating. So what I think, in educational exchanges, a good
basis for these exchanges would be that we have to first talk
about our basic thoughts, our basic philosophy towards education.
I think both types of education have good points to them, but I
think we have to learn from each other.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, actually, here's a case where
I think we would greatly benefit from working together, because
there is no perfect system. If you just start with the issue of
discipline, we know that without a certain amount of discipline
and order in the classroom, it's impossible for learning to
occur. We also know if there is too much order, where everything
is structured, the child may close up and not be open to
information and to learning. So we have tried all kinds of
In our country, for example now, many of our schools
are going back to an older practice of requiring the students to
wear uniforms every day, as is the case in many other countries,
on the theory that it makes people more disciplined, it also
gives a spirit of equality. This is sweeping our country,
really, and doing very well. On the other hand, we want enough
freedom in the classroom so that the children have the confidence
they need to participate in the class discussion.
Now, on the second matter, which I think is very
important, does education emphasize drilling information into the
head of the student, or should it emphasize sort of creative or
critical thinking? I think the answer is, clearly, both. How
can you be a creative thinker if you don't know something in the
first place. First, you must know what you need to know. You
must have the information.
On the other hand, if you look at how fast things
are changing -- in this Information Age the volume of facts in
the world is doubling every five years. That's a stunning thing.
The volume of information is doubling every five years.
Therefore, it's very important not only what you know today, but
what you are capable of learning and whether you can apply what
you know to solving new problems.
So I think what we need is a careful balance between
making sure our students have the bedrock information without
which you can't make those decisions, but also learn to be
creative in the way you think to deal with the exploding
information of the world.
MAYOR XU: Yes, after listening to you talk, Mr.
President, I think you have a very deep understanding of
education. I also agree with what you're saying. So if the
Chinese and the United States want to engage in exchanges, first
of all, we have to have a new consensus on our concept of
education. And that way we can have better exchanges.
Recently, there was an example we had where we had
some American teachers come here to teach high school. And a lot
of parents didn't like it because the teachers didn't give enough
tests. So they could speak English okay, but they couldn't pass
the tests. So a lot of the parents in China didn't think this
was the right way. A lot of times what we do here is we make
them memorize a lot of grammar and make them memorize a lot of
vocabulary -- that's our way of doing it. So I think we need to
have more exchanges in this area.
THE PRESIDENT: But, to be fair, we need more
exchanges, too, because what sometimes happens in America is, if
you don't have pretty high standards for measuring whether
everybody knows what they should know, then the very best
students may do better under our system and they go on and win
the Nobel Prizes or they create the new companies, but we leave
too many behind because we don't make sure they know.
So I think there's something we have to learn from
each other and we really should work on this. Because every
advanced society -- the Japanese could join with us in this, the
Russians could join with us in this. We all have the same
interests here in finding the right balance in our educational
MR. ZUO: Look here, the President and the Mayor
have been having such an enthusiastic discussion about education,
even I'm jumping into this discussion. Usually when I do a
program like this education becomes an issue a lot, becomes a
topic that we discuss. But the topic that comes -- when we have
an issue like this I want to get into, I want to talk to the
President about it.
How about investment in education? A lot of times
it's a slow process. You have to invest in a project or a
company, though, it's fast -- you can get a payback right away.
So a lot of people think, oh, I don't know what to do in this
area, should I invest in education, because it's a long payback
period. What do you think and how do you -- what do you do in
THE PRESIDENT: Well, it is a long payback period
but it has the highest payback of any investment. If you invest
in a child's education -- maybe they're five years
old when they start, and maybe they're in their early 20s when
they get out of university -- that's a long time. And you have
to hire all these teachers along the way and pay for all the
laboratory facilities and all that. But there's nothing more
And then the young person gets out into world in
which ideas create wealth and gives back to society many times
over. So people shouldn't look at it just as one person
investing in another; it ought to be China investing in its
future, the United States investing in its future, together
investing in a peaceful, stable, prosperous world.
Education, ideas, information -- they give us the
capacity to lift people out of poverty and to lift people out of
the ignorance that make them fight and kill each other, and to
give us an understanding about how to solve the environmental
problems of the world, which are great -- this is worth investing
in. It's more important than everything else.
Yes, it takes a long time to pay out in the life of
one child. But the payouts for a country are almost immediate.
MR. ZUO: Yes, that's right. So, in other words, we
have to have far-reaching and ambitious goals. We have to look
toward the future. We have to make investments in the long-term.
The same thing for the Sino-U.S. relationship -- we have to
invest and look toward the future.
Okay, how about we talk about a question here that
everyone seems to be very interested in. Somebody wants you to
predict who is going to win the World Soccer Cup. Can you do
that? In a minute we're going to ask you this, we're going to
test you on this question. Get ready, get prepared.
Q Hi. My name is Lee. Here is the question that
my friends and I want to ask. We're very happy and we welcome
you here. We're very happy about your visit. We noticed that
you've been involved in a lot of activities and you seem to very
healthy, and you seem to have a very nice figure, Mr. President.
And we like a lot of sports, too, in our university. We're into
sports. So I'd like to ask you, Mr. President, first of all,
when you were in college, which sports did you like to play?
That's the first question.
The second question I'd like to ask, if you could
answer, Mr. President, is how do you maintain your energy in your
work? And then, also, the last thing I'd like to ask, can you
predict who's going to win, which team is going to win the World
MR. ZUO: Oh, yes, so many questions. You threw a
lot of questions at him all at once.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, when I was in college, I liked
to play basketball, which is very popular in America, and I liked
to job. I have jogged -- I am a runner, you know, and I did that
for most of the last almost 30 years. Then, about a year and
half ago I hurt my leg, and I couldn't run for several months,
and I began to work on the Stairmaster. You know, it's the
machine, you find them in a lot of these gyms. You walk up and
down stairs. And I do that quite a lot now because it's quicker
than running. And I play golf. I like golf very much. It's my
favorite sport. Even though it doesn't burn a lot of calories,
it makes my mind calm. So I like it.
Now, on the World Cup, it's hard for me to predict.
I will say this -- the World Cup is now becoming important to
Americans in the way it's important to other countries, because
soccer came rather late to America because we had football and
basketball. Now, more and more of our children are playing
soccer. And I think the World Cup is a great way of bringing
people together. You know, the United States has been estranged
from Iran for a long time, but we had this great soccer game and
they beat us fair and square -- it was heartbreaking for
Americans, but they won a great, fascinating soccer match and
they eliminated us from the World Cup.
I'm not an expert in soccer, but I think the
Brazilians are always hard to beat. I've watched them play a lot
and they're very good.
MR. ZUO: So since we're taLking about soccer, now
even I am inspired to ask some questions here. Everybody knows
that the United States and Iran was a competition that everyone
was interested in in the World Soccer Cup. Everybody was
thinking about that time a long time ago that the ping-pong
diplomacy, those 20-something years ago, that started the
relationship between the United States and China.
Now the question we'd like to ask you, Mr.
President, is, is it possible that we can do soccer diplomacy in
this area? Can you give us some information in this area,
because we here in Shanghai are very interested in international
THE PRESIDENT: I think it could be possible. The
Iranians like wrestling very much, and we have exchanged
wrestling team visits. And they treated our American wrestlers
with great respect and friendship, which meant a great deal to
me. And then we were honored to receive their wrestlers.
So I think -- the new President of Iran seems to be
committed to not only lifting the economic and social conditions
of his people, but also having a more regular relationship with
the rest of the world, in accordance with international law and
basically just conditions of good partnership. So I'm hoping
that more will come out of this.
But I think Americans were riveted by the soccer
game. And they were impressed because we were supposed to win
the game and we had lots of chances and our players played very
well -- they played very well, they had lots of chances, they
could have scored eight times or something -- but the Iranians
had two fast breaks and they played with such passion and they
had those two chances and they capitalized on both of them. And
we respect that. It was very good.
MR. ZUO: Of course we hope for peace between our
two countries, but not only that, we hope for peace all over the
world, right? Okay, how about now let's continue to get some
calls here. We have caller number four, who has a very
interesting question here. Go ahead.
Q Hi. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, Mayor Xu.
MAYOR XU: Hi, how are you?
Q Hi. I'm just a regular citizen here of the
city of Shanghai. I am just an employee at a certain place in
Shanghai. I'd like to ask a question. Right now in Shanghai we
are encouraging people to have private cars. Is this going to
make the traffic conditions worse, more crowded in Shanghai? And
also is this going to make more environmental pollution for our
city? I'd like to ask the mayor this question.
MAYOR XU: You've asked quite a good question here.
We at the city government are just in the process of considering
this. We are often debating this issue when we talk about
traffic in the city because there are 13 million people in the
city of Shanghai and it is very, very densely populated.
So our basic policy is to develop the public
transportation system -- that's our priority -- like the subway
system, buses, all these types of public transportation. Of
course, though, I would just like to correct you for a second.
We didn't encourage people to buy, private citizens to buy cars.
We just relaxed the regulations on and the restrictions on
individuals buying cars. Because in the past few years there
have been some citizens who have bought apartments, then also
they bought cars. And they were living far away and they didn't
have a car, so they needed to have a car.
And then there were other people who bought houses
that you Westerners live in that are farther away, and they
thought that it would be better if they had own cars. So in the
past few years what we did was we had like an auction, sort of,
on the license plate that you could get for your car, and the
amount you had to pay for the license plate was pretty much as
much as the car itself cost. So, as far as this goes, we've
relaxed the restrictions. The government has decided pretty much
to relax it to maybe 10,000 cars. As for how much this is going
to affect the traffic situation, we still have to try to --
whatever the situation, we have to meet the needs of the people
at all different income levels.
And as for the environmental question, we have to
use unleaded gas. I think leaded gas should not be used in
Shanghai. And then by 2000, we're also going to have use
purifiers, these filters -- these filters that will make the
emissions that come out of the cars up to standards. We'll use
these methods to control the situation, because right now, we
have, like, I think only 700,000 or so cars, less than in
Beijing, less than in Tokyo, less than in Hong Kong. And our
roads also need improvement.
But what the most important is that we need to
manage -- we need to the "software" of how to managed the
roadwork system. We have to know how to manage better the roads,
the road system. For instance, for the one-way roads, we have to
have maybe some roads that are not -- some will be one way, some
will not allow you to park or stop, things like that, measures
like that will help us improve the traffic situation.
I really understand what you're thinking. As the
Mayor, I'm also afraid of there being too many cars. Thank you
very much for asking that question. Do you have any other
questions that you want to ask?
MR. ZUO: Even though Mr. President is here, look at
this -- some of the people here are still interested in asking
questions of the Mayor about their city, because they're
interested and they're excited.
THE PRESIDENT: Well, they should be. I mean,
that's a very basic thing.
I would like to comment on one thing the questioner
asked, because I was impressed that he is concerned that if
everyone has a private car, the air pollution will grow worse.
Let me say, this is a big problem everywhere in the world. But I
once told President Jiang, I said, my biggest concern is that
China will get rich in exactly the same way America got rich, but
you have four times as many people, so no one will be able to
breath, because the air pollution will be bad.
Now, one of the things that you need to know is that
when a car, an automobile burns gasoline, about 80 percent of the
heat value of the gasoline is lost in the inefficiency of the
engine. But they are now developing new engines, called fuel
injection engines, where the fuel goes directly into the engine
and it is about four times more efficient. So I hope that within
a matter of just a few years, in the U.S., in China, and
throughout the world, all these engines will be much, much less
polluting. And that will be very good for the health of the
people of China and for the health of world environment.
MAYOR XU: Correct. That's a good thing. We, right
now, are in the process of thinking about natural gas, LNG, that
is, using it for cars, for taxis --
THE PRESIDENT: Very good.
MAYOR XU: -- for buses. And at the same time, even
for personal motorcycles. We're thinking of making them electric
instead of gasoline.
MR. ZUO: Mr. President, we were just talking about
cars a second ago, and do you agree that, as for the development
of cars, including in Shanghai and in China, we shouldn't make
the same mistakes that you guys made in America necessarily, we
should do it as suits the conditions in China, the development of
the automobile market?
THE PRESIDENT: Absolutely. I think, for one thing,
you should be much more disciplined than we were about making
sure you have good, high-quality mass transit, because in the
cities where we have good mass transit, people use it. So, if
you have good mass transit, then I think people should be free to
have cars, and it's a nice thing to have, but they won't have to
drive them so much and you won't have the pollution problems.
Then I think the city, as the Mayor said, can set a
good example. You can have electric vehicles, you can have
natural gas vehicles. And then, as I said, within a few years, I
believe all of us will be driving cars that, even if they use
gasoline, will be much, much more efficient. Otherwise, if we
don't do these things, the air pollution will be terrible and it
will create public health problems that will cost far more than
the benefits of the automobile. You don't want that. And you
can avoid it. You can avoid the mistakes we made with technology
and good planning.
Q Yes, thanks.
MR. ZHU: The time has gone so fast. I would love
if we could make the time go slower. Okay, let's look -- there's
somebody names Ms. Tong, number three.
Q Hi, Mr. Mayor and Mr. President. I work at the
Shanghai gymnasium, and I'd like to ask of the two of you -- or I
should say I'd like to tell the two of you something. In 1996 I
went to America and I studied a little bit for 10 months there.
And I felt like it really enriched me and I felt like the United
States was a beautiful, rich and very open country -- especially
I went to certain places where there were some gardens and pretty
places. And I felt so at home when I saw these things, that they
sort of reminded me of the Orient, of the Eastern places.
And I thought, oh, this is in the United States?
I'm glad to see this. But what I felt bad was that my kid was
studying at a school there and a lot of the American friends
there, American teachers there thought that Cantonese was
Mandarin -- because a lot of the early immigrants, Chinese
immigrants to the United States were Cantonese.
I said, no, this is Mandarin. This is the common
language we speak in China. I was hoping that you could have
more exchanges -- whether it's the people or the government -- to
get to know each other better, to get to know even more and get
closer and closer and closer. I think in this way, the Mayor and
Mr. President, you're getting closer and closer, and even if we
don't have any better conditions I would still like to know, what
are you guys planning to do to improve and increase the
cooperation and the amount that we get in touch in the future
between the two of us?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I perfectly
agree with you. I think that this is a very important point.
That's why I came to China. That's why I am very pleased that
the press conference I had with President Jiang was televised and
why I did a question and answer session at Beijing University
yesterday and why I'm doing this today. I think that we need
more of this.
And as I said to an earlier caller, when I go home I
intend to see what I can do about sending more Americans to China
and trying to make it possible for more Chinese to come to
America. Because the more we do these things the more we will be
able to work through our differences and build a common future.
And, besides that, it will make life more interesting and more
Q Okay. Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor and Mr.
MR. ZUO: All right. Let's look at number two. Hi,
I'm very sorry to make you wait so long.
Q Mr. President and Mr. Mayor, hi. I am engaged
in science and technology and I love what I do. And thank you
very much for what you're doing and you're talking about today.
I'd like to ask you today, right now we are in the
Information Age, we are in the knowledge age. We're also in the
economic age, where everyone is worried about the world economy
and the development of it. What I'd like to know is, as far as
expanding, promoting cooperation in science and technology
between the United States and China, what are you planning to do?
THE PRESIDENT: We have had for many years a
U.S.-China science and technology forum -- (inaudible) -- some
research that has helped us to predict extreme weather events.
And it has helped us to predict the coming of earthquakes.
We have also had scientific research which has
helped us to uncover the cause of a condition in newborn babies,
called spina bifida, that is caused in part by the mother's
having not enough folic acid. And that has helped us to have
more healthy children. My wife, two days ago, talked to a mother
whose first child was born with this condition and the second
child was born perfectly normal because of the research done by
our people together.
So we have made a commitment, President Jiang and I,
to identify other areas where we will do more work. And if you
or anyone listening to this program, if you have any ideas you
ought to send them to this station or the Mayor; they will send
them on to me -- because I think we should do more science
Q Okay. So we've talked about a lot of things
here. And in my mind since the President of the U.S. has stepped
off the plane in China there's something that I've been thinking.
I don't know if you've noticed -- I very much admire the courage
that President Clinton has. This time his visit to China was
opposed by some congressmen and senators. And we think that
that's -- we call that people that didn't cooperate or weren't in
harmony with his thinking -- but he still came anyway, he came to
What I'd like to ask here is, after this visit --
right now, of course, it's only part of it -- but up until this
point in time, up until today, can you tell me, do you have
enough courage when you go back to the United States to convince
the people, the nonbelievers, that what you're doing is right?
Do you have facts and materials and information? If you don't
have enough facts, don't have enough materials, I can provide you
THE PRESIDENT: I believe that what the American
people have seen already -- that our media has reported back on
my meeting with President Jiang, and the press conference,
yesterday, the meeting with the students, today, the meeting with
the citizens before I came over here, and this -- it clearly
shows that whatever differences we have in our systems and the
differences of opinion we have about what human rights policy
ought to be, what the scope of freedom of religion ought to be --
any of these differences, that we still have a lot in common and
by working on the things we have in common we may also come to an
understanding about how to manage our differences. And I believe
that the forces of history will bring about more convergence in
our societies going forward.
The Mayor and I were talking earlier about the
education systems and how, in the end, we need to educate young
people with the same kinds of skills. And I believe, as I have
said repeatedly, that high levels of personal freedom are quite
important to the success of a society in the Information Age,
because you need people who feel free to explore, to state their
views, to explore their own convictions, and then live out their
own dreams, and that this will add to the stability of a society
by enriching it. That's what I believe.
And we've been able to have these conversations
here. And the government and the people of China have been very
open. Also, yesterday, the students were very open in asking me
some rather probing, difficult questions. And all of this, I
think, is good. So I think the American people will see when I
go home that this was a good thing that I came here. And it's a
good thing that we have a working relationship.
Q I work in one of the government departments and
my name is Wong. And the question I'd like to ask you is as
follows: As for Chinese accession into the WTO and the
negotiations, these negotiations have been going on for several
years and I believe that the United States has an attitude in
these talks which is very important, which everyone will really
look to. So I hope that the United States will have a more
positive attitude to let China get into the WTO as soon as
possible. As far as this issue goes, can we have President
Clinton talk a little bit about what you think about it? Thanks.
THE PRESIDENT: Yes. First of all, obviously I
think it is important for China to be a member of the World Trade
Organization because China is a major economic power that will
grow only larger over time. Secondly, it should be obvious that
we in the United States want to support China's economic growth.
After all, we are by far the largest purchaser of Chinese
exports. No other country comes close to the percentage of
exports that we purchase in the United States. So we support
But we believe that when China becomes a member of
the WTO, it must do so on commercially reasonable terms; that is,
you must allow access to your markets, not only of American
products, but of others as well, and there should be some open
investment opportunities. And all of this should be done,
however, in recognition of the fact that China is still an
emerging economy, so you are entitled to have certain longer
timetables and certain procedural help in this regard.
So what we're trying to do in America is to say,
okay, China should be in the World Trade Organization, but it has
to be a commercially realistic set of understandings when you
have memberships, and yet we owe you the right to a reasonable
period of transition as you change your economy. And I think
we'll get there. I think we'll reach an agreement before long.
MAYOR XU: We very much hope that what Mr. President
just said will come to fruition. Of course, we're hoping for
that day; we're waiting for that day.
MR. ZUO: Okay, Mr. President, you've noticed and
you've seen that there are so many people waiting in line on the
screen here to talk to you. There is not enough time; that's
obvious. But somebody has asked you that in this constructive
strategic relationship to promote world peace, they want to know
what kind of meaning this has. They also want to know what the
United States -- what else the United States can do in the
Southeast Asian financial crisis, et cetera, et cetera, et
There are a lot of questions, but I think in the
interest of time -- well, I think that in the future we might
have other times to do this again, but I think for the time let's
not take any more calls.
A minute ago when I was talking with you, when I was
talking to the President, he said that in the United States, in
America, he often gets in contact with the citizens, but he's
never done this type of program outside the United States. It's
right, this was the first time? Yes, the first time.
So what I'd like to know is, what do you think?
What impressions do you have of this first time?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, I have enjoyed
it very much. I want to thank all the people who called in with
their questions and tell you that I'm sorry we didn't get to
answer more questions. But it's always the way. People
everywhere want to engage their leaders in dialogue. And so I
thank you for your questions. They were very good ones. And if
I didn't get to answer your question, I'm sorry. But this has
been a historic occasion. And perhaps now when I travel to other
countries, I will ask them if they will do the same thing. This
was a very good idea.
MR. ZUO: Thanks.
Just now, Mayor Xu, you should also have come to see
that in our program the people listening also hope that you will
come back to this program. They'll engage in an exchange with
MAYOR XU: Okay, fine. As long as you arrange it,
I'll come. I myself, as the mayor, that should be part of my
job. That's an important part of my job, to be in close contact
with the citizens of the city.
MR. ZUO: So after doing such a program with the
President, did you think it was -- wasn't it fun? Didn't you
have a good time?
MAYOR XU: Yes, it was very, very nice. I liked the
way the President answered a lot of the questions. He has a lot
of far-reaching thoughts, and he has a lot of far sight. I
learned a lot from him.
MR. ZUO: The time went so fast. Look at that, it's
pretty much almost gone. But we'll remember it forever, and we
hope that the friendship between China and the United States will
last forever, just as President Clinton said. We hope it will be
just as long as the Great Wall.
And I would like now, for the Shanghai radio station
and on behalf of this program, I'd like to really express my
heartfelt thanks to the President and the Mayor for participating
in this program. Thank you very much to those in the audience.
THE PRESIDENT: Good-bye. Thank you.