While city and business leaders will roll out the red carpet for Chinese President Hu Jintao for his arrival this afternoon, others are mounting a less welcoming reception. Protesters from the ranks of democracy and human rights activists, adherents to the banned Falun Gong religion, and supporters of a free Tibet are planning to protest Hu’s visit to the city.
Diane Liu, a freelance writer and democracy movement activist, says she’s been very concerned by the eagerness of local and national officials to foster closer economic ties with the Chinese communist regime.
“I think now Western society already put human rights aside, and put economic interest higher than human rights,” said Liu.
She, herself, plans to be among those protesting Hu’s presence at the Hilton Chicago tonight, where he and Mayor Daley will have dinner. Liu says she wants to see the Chinese government release all its political prisoners.
Liu says planning the protest has been tricky, because of misleading rumors about Hu's itinerary. Some suggested that Hu would be arriving earlier in the afternoon than publicized. Others even said his trip to Chicago had been cancelled. According to the Mayor’s press office, Hu is expected to arrive in Chicago at 4:30pm.