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Hong Kong Welcomes President Obama in Wax

The same week newly appointed U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suggested China may be manipulating its currency; Chinese tourists warmly welcomed the newly installed Barack Obama wax figure at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum in Hong Kong.

Madame Tussaud's wax museum in Hong Kong was bustling as tourists and locals alike shuffled through, photographing the likenesses of their favorite figures from popular culture and history - all fashioned from wax. And the most popular figure?

"A very good president, a handsome guy, a very smart person," said a tourist.

The 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Crowds surrounded the wax figure and posed for scores of photographs. Some were smiling and holding the presidential figure's hand, while others stood next to the lifelike model with arms folded and a more solemn expression.

With less than two weeks in the White House, the Obama administration has not welcomed China's economic policies so warmly. According to the White House website, President Obama plans to work to ensure that China plays by international rules.

Newly appointed Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner suggested China is manipulating its currency to gain a competitive edge in trading. Geithner's written testimony to the United States Senate was in line with former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's view that China helped bring on the global economic crisis, but his insinuation that China may be manipulating currency is much more serious, and a phrase the Bush administration avoided.

Though the White House may be looking to take a harder line with China, the people of Hong Kong are welcoming President Obama's wax figure and his new role as leader of the United States.

"Maybe he will bring America the dream - about freedom about a great future," said the tourist.

One museum goer is confident about the new president's ability to lead. He is looking to President Obama to help mend a spreading global crisis and stop the bleeding at home in China.

"He will do something good for the American economy, I think that will also bring some good things to China," he said.

Another museum visitor said she hopes that the United States and China will be able to work together.

"Probably potential relations in the future especially in economic 'workship' and for politics in the future," she said.

She sees the Chinese government as a key player in the fight against the global economic crisis.

"Many people in the world, especially American, hope Chinese government can help," said the tourist.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs says President Obama called China's President Hu Jintao late last week. Though details of the conversation have not been released, it is expected that the two countries will try to work together.

China is the biggest foreign holder of United States treasuries, holding roughly $2 trillion in foreign exchange reserves.