STUDENTS AND THE PRESIDENT

a taste of democracy.

Of all the activities on President Obama's trip to Asia, both political and "social" contacts, as some might look, his meeting in Shanghai with university students would rank among the top of such contacts.

It was fashioned on his usual townhall meeting settings in the United States, and the topic was about free Internet access and the availability of web sites that have been classified or restricted by strong and stringent government regulations. Such great fire-walls have been deliberately conveyed around the WWW (World Wide Web) and its sister system, "the Net", and have made them impregnable to penetrate from within and from the outside. Moreover, they were created to be used by all, with few, if any, boundaries, but not in places like China; as it was in America, where their use was common place, "even a caveman" could use them in any unfettered way.

Foremost was his own personal and political experiences in using the media (comprised of the WWW, the Internet, etc.) to achieve the impossible, and that was to enable him to win an election that made him the president of the United States.

It was an impressive meeting, with wide-eyed educated, future philosophers and leaders, listening to someone who almost fit into their mode, in terms of aspirations and stature, or at least, some of his audience would qualify for that description, and engaging in free and unbridled speech, and they were seemingly able to accommodate him; a scene so unfamiliar to them. 

At that moment, there was no fear of expressing their true feelings, as some of them would, of the system that forced millions of their fellow citizens to be glued to mandatory rules purposely formulated to dominate their lives; and so, within the walls of the vast and wide auditorium, there was some fresh air to inhale freely; naturally, of course.

Party officials were not too far from the proceedings; however, their thoughts were wrenching in their minds as what was actually happening. Would the students, who probably were hand picked, be allergic to what was being passed to them, or would they come away, thinking to build on what someone who had succeeded in his quest to accomplish a feat on a grand scale influence their consciences? Could he be a role model for democracy, which we all knew was a far cry from their intellectual mental state? Could they aspire to having their own mind-set become independent from what they have been indoctrinated to believe for all, and not just most, of their lives?

The questions kept raining down on them; and they could count themselves really lucky, because it (meeting) was not a program designed to be broadcast to the general population. It was held at "the Museum of Science and Technology", closed and almost private; and its political reverberations were not to be far reaching, to disturb the Communist Party lords who lorded over their country. 

It happened that some Chinese people and students have met and seen an American president before, as presidents Clinton and Bush had had a brush with them, under similar circumstances and on different occasions, respectively; yet, theirs was in the present, and the other such encounters were already part of Chinese, if not world, history. 

Well done, students of China, for sampling a bit of democracy. 


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