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President Bush to Address Students on Last Day in China - 2002-02-21

President Bush speaks to Chinese university students Friday at the end of his week-long trip to Asia. The president and Mrs. Bush were guests at a state dinner Thursday at China's Great Hall of the People.

It was a lively night at Beijing's Great Hall, with Chinese President Jiang Zemin serenading President and Mrs. Bush in Italian, accompanied by an accordion.

White House spokesman Ari Fleischer says you could not keep the Chinese president off the dance floor, as Mr. Jiang danced with first lady Laura Bush and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

In meetings with Chinese leaders Thursday, White House officials say Mr. Bush raised specific issues of persecution of members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement, as well as the detention of Catholic priests and China's approach to the Dalai Lama.

President Bush wraps up his Asia trip with more serious business in a speech to university students in Beijing where he will set out what officials call "American values." Mr. Fleischer says the president will discuss the relationship between a free people and their government in a speech that will touch on what he calls not only the laws of man, but the conditions of man as well.

The president will also answer questions from university students in a session China's national television is promising to carry live.

Professor Zahng Yebai of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences says Mr. Bush can expect some tough questions from Chinese students. "I think the students' questions might be very provocative," he said, "and I do not think most students can agree with President Bush on issues like the human rights problem."

Professor Zhang says university students have changed since the June 1989 demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. He says they are now more pragmatic and are skeptical about the way Washington deals with other nations.

President Bush raised concerns in Asia when he included North Korea as part of an "axis of evil" that could help terrorists acquire weapons of mass destruction. Mr. Bush says he wants to resolve differences on the Korean peninsula peacefully and is asking Chinese leaders to help convince North Korean President Kim Jung-il to accept U.S. and South Korean offers to open a political dialogue.

Following his university speech, the president and Mrs. Bush visit the Great Wall of China before returning to the United States.