Final Word from Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Chinese stand on ceremony. In his 2011 book about the country, Henry Kissinger wrote that, "Chinese statesmen historically have excelled at using hospitality, ceremony and carefully cultivated personal relationships as tools of statecraft." This makes the first official visit to China by an EU head of state since the Hong Kong protests all that more important. The world will be looking for signals of a relaxation, or tightening, of China's "anti-democratic" policies. This first EU head of state will be Miloš Zeman, who visits Beijing officially next week. This is the same EU head of state who met in Rhodes with a Friend of Putin's and who declared in the presidential campaign that no one could get him to visit countries whose government isn't chosen in free elections. While Zeman cultivates a friendship during his ceremonial encounters with Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping, who was appointed to his post by the Communist Party, Zeman will likely send the signal to Hong Kong and the rest of the world that trade, and not democracy, is what really matters. [Czech Republic president On China European Union]

Glossary of difficult words

to stand on ceremony - to insist on the observance of formalities;

statecraft - the skillful management of state affairs; statesmanship;

encounter - a meeting or session with someone.

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