tv BBC World News This Week WHUT February 20, 2010 10:00pm-10:30pm EST
financial strength to work for a wide range of companies. what condition we do for you? >> we are a nation of explorers. we seek new ways of living, of thinking and of expressing ourselves. we take risks. we learn from experience. and we keep moving forward. that's why we encourage and celebrate the explorers in all of us. >> and now bbc world news. >> at what cost to u.s.-chinese relations? >> this week it's president obama risking the wrath of china. the dau lee llama visits the white house. what next for the bumpy relation
between china and the white house. >> while some young creeks have protested others are heading for the life raft. >> i think most people our age are very much considering -- >> and mick lange low on show in london -- meek lange lowe's show in london -- michelango's show in london. >> this week barack obama inflicted more damage on the already strained relations with china as he hosted the dali lama. while rejecting a chinese call to cancel the meeting, the white house offered the con sill yeah story gesture of making the talks low profile with rows over the proposed sale of military equipment to taiwan and u.s.-china trade imbalance how does this change things? >> this is the only public
photograph we're going to get of the u.s. president meeting the dau lee llama. barack obama agreed to dump publicity out of deference to china. america's military budget alone is bigger than china's g.d.p., but not even six fleets and military dominance of air, sea and space giving america the power to offend china. because china is america's banker. in the space of a decade, china's economic growth and america's economic crisis have changed the game between the two pures. gone is the idea that engaging china in a global market place would turn it democratic. now, china is shaping the global market place. and in diplomacy it's supporting many of the forces that oppose democracy. >> a wish to move to chinese
consumption to increase chinese consumption as quickly as possible. and while they know it's going to take time, that decision has definitely come hand in glove with the notion that they will not be able to rely as much on an u.s.-driven model for china's economic growth. so it has political implications for the way the chinese look at united states, the way they're willing to work with the united states. and you're seeing so much more assertiveness from beijing as a consequence of that. >> china's foreign policies are pretty clear. lay claim to taiwan and threaten war with taiwan if they should threaten separation from the people's republican. -- two bilateral deals that can supply china with raw materials where necessary, propping up repressive ray -- regime like zimbabwe. >> the big red line is any
movement over independence for taiwan, that is utterly a killer for theovernment in beijing. and anything that goes towards that decree ace massive popular -- creates massive popular resistance in china and therefore the government can't compromise on that. on most other issues, it's willing to be very pragmatic. >> up to now, because china's military intelligence and diplomacy did not threaten america, the u.s.a. has been content to coexist. like two gorge is players on a board. but now developments in the have begun to cause friction. the first is trade protection -- protectionism. president obama brought in -- google ended its agreement to self-sensor in china after it
accused the chinese state of cyber attacks on its g mail service. but this is just the tip of the iceberg. >> it's not just google china but the fact that dozens of american firms have been on the wrong side of significant cyber attacks, emanating from china, is a watershed moment in u.s.-chinese relations. these firms are going to be working much more closely with the u.s. government, and the u.s. government officials do not yet know how to deter those attacks. as a consequence of that, if the chinese government is not more forthcoming than they have been thus far, we're going to see linkage of this issue to broader economic relations. >> behind all this friction is an inconvenient fact. china is holding about $1 trillion worth of american debt. if it were to dump that debt it would collapse the value of the dollar but also collapse the value of its own holdings. so it's always been assumed that would lead to a pointless end
game. but now, it seems that's begun. >> the chinese are not going to be buying as many dollars, as many treasuries going forward as they have. and one of the speculations that we can make is that there may well be a shift in the currency, a revaluation, albeit a small bun. but i'll almost positive if they do that that will be made alongside a chinese announcement they're not going to be buying t dollars and taking the treasury exposure going forward. >> china's response to economic crisis has been to rely more on domestic demand, concentrate more on its own territory. that's made it less interdependent with the outside world. and it's that that's brought a new stridensy and confidence to china's diplomatic game. game. >> paul mason joins us from san francisco -- and from noting
ham, dr. li yu. when china says it's strongly satisfied and -- international relations they're really pretty grumpy about, this aren't they? >> they are. but president obama is one of a long line of presidents who met with the dali lama. every time beijing has wasted its anger about it but israel prose's are gone -- u.s. presidents have gone forward with that. this time it was a private meeting. >> how can you characterize the state of u.s.-chinese relations right now? >> i would agree with secretary of state hillary clinton who says the relationship is mature enough it can deal with problems from time to time. i think she said that in the context of people were asking because this was known in advance that meeting would go ahead.
it was known in advance that president obama would meet with the dali lama so people were kind of asking her direction from china. she said the relationship is mature enough. and i think china basically would agree with that kind of assessment, although it may not agree with the contacting which beset it. >> how much of an irritant is this problem about the currency and the feeling in the united states and elsewhere that china's currency is perhaps 25 to 40% undervalued? >> i think the currency issue is really major, both from an economic point of view but also politically in the united states. and pressure is really growing within the united states to put pressure on china to revalue its currency. it's not only that -- it's one of the causes of a global economic imbalance, it was one of the causes of the major economic crisis. and also in terms of china's long-term growth it has to switch to a more domestic
consumption-led model and can no longer rely on just exporting. and that's in part because the u.s. consumer just isn't there, as the growth engine of last resort. americans are feeling very down and out on their economic luck. and so again, the political pressure is growing for china to revalue. >> dr. lu, this is not a sort of gut issue leash taiwan or tibet, is it? it's a sort of practical issue. i'mwondering if that message we just heard there is understood in china, and perhaps it is not in china's interest to keep the currency so undervalued because it means the chinese people cannot consume as much as perhaps they'd like to. >> yes. this is not a new issue. this is a long-standing issue. for years there has been arguments from the u.s. side that china need to revalue its currency. and also on the chinese side, there are people who are saying actually it may be in china's
interests to do that. and the u.s. side at the moment is putting forward the argument that it's also in china's own interests to do that. but this is very complicated issue. you have different economists who do different calculations, you know, what would be the more realistic value and whether it will indeed benefit china as well or is going to cause huge economic damage to china. i think there is a lot of uncertainty there. and different people come out with different calculations. i think that makes it difficult to make a decision. >> what do you make of the republican criticism of president obama that basically he's not getting anything out of the chinese and he may be mr. nice guy around the world but it's not really delivering anything? >> i disagree with that. i mean, actually the more common criticism is he's weak in the face f china. i think if anything the last month or so of the arms sales to taiwan and meeting the dali lama and being stronger in term on
currency of -- of hit rhetoric on southerndy -- there's been a strong u.s.-china partnership on clean energy. china has joined in a rebuke of iran that was issued by the international atomic energy agency. and also china enacted a large domestic stilus which was helpful when we were in the middle of a huge financial crisis when president obama entered office last year. >> thank you both very much. thank you. >> now finance ministers have been meeting in brussels faced with the biggest crisis since the euro was created 11 years ago. confined to greece greece. with the greek government -- public sector workers have staged a series of strikes. many greeks believe the crisis has been engineered by external
forces. our economics editor paul mason traveled to greece and has this report. >> halfway along the main route from athens to thessalonica, everything stopped. welcome to the new normal in greece. what's happened here seems to be that the farmers have stopped the traffic simply by parking their tractors at the side of the road. there's no traffic on the road. there are no police. there are not many farmers. but it's paralyzed the main route across greece. and like everything else here, this is going to be about money. this is just one of 30 road blocks paralyzing greek trade with the balkans. who's the enemy? well, i'm about to find out. >> they are like the octopus, corrupt politicians, america,
britain, he says. the octopus which goes take take take. >> these men farm cotton, corn, fruit and vegetables like british farmers last year they haven't had their subsidiaries paid by the e.u. the difference in greece is, though, the government here has no money to tide them over. >> why didn't they pay you the money? >> we don't know. they don't know. so the biggest problem is that they don't know. >> they don't know. >> they don't know. >> the government. >> they don't know, or they don't want to. >> when the social democrati party returned to power last october, they promised a new start for greece. but soon they had to reveal a hole in the budget the previous government had for some reason failed to recognize. instead of 3.7% of g.d.p., the
budget deficit for 2009 was revised to 12.5%. an e.u. report found severe irregularities in the greek government's reports for 2009, including incorrect data and non-respect of accounting rules. since then, the greek public debt crisis has spiraled into a crisis of credibility for the euro zone itself. the greek economy has been built on agriculture, tourism and shipping. that protected it from the financial crisis. but now there's a real economic downturn. and as the government prepares to implement its austerity plan, anger. if the budget crisis has hit a stable and prosperous country that would be one thing. but you just have to come down
to the main port to see that's not the case. trade has already collapsed, and for the workers here these same issues of money and trust are paramount. if anybody can stop the austerity plans it's the organized workforce. and they don't come more organized than this. >> these are the stevedores who work the main cargo terminal in greece. they've been private advertised. lost 200 jobs and the new government promised to renationalize the report. the communist daily paper on the wall reclaims their aim. workers uprising. but could that really happen? >> look, we had the smallsize social explosion last december. >> with the new people. >> young people, yeah. i don't know.
actually, i would wish to have a social explosion just to shake this building, but we will see. it's much better not to have a chaotic situation, of course. but it's just possible for a person who is losing a very crucial part of his salary, it's not easy to survive. one-third of the households in greece, they cannot pay their bills. >> and so inevitably it comes to this, repeatedly. last week public servants went on strike joined by students and taxi drivers and left wing groups. this group's banner was that if the crisis spreads, so will the unrest. portugal, italy, spain and greece, the so-called pigs, are europe's weakest link right now,
free on what they call young democrat says the places ruled within living memory by fascist collaborators or generals. what's the chant? what are you chanting? >> we're saying people, don't bend your head. the only way is to fight back and revolt. >> in the quiet of an athens bar i met up with the student protesters. if the workers and the farmers won't stop the austerity, will they? >> i think most people of our age are very much considering leaving greece at some point. i know i have many friend who areunemployed at the moment and have been think things are not going to get better so they're thinking going abroad, find a job or maybe do some extra studying for awhile until things get better, if they get better. >> the youth i think feel very
much betrayed. the two governmental parties in one way or another, they say the same things about the economy. and they do the same things about the economy. but i think that the good youth has to react first of all in a political way. >> do you think people understand how big a change is coming to greece? >> no, of course not. and this is the big problem of all. they have no enthusiasm, no optimism. they just think that things are going to get even worse, even worse than -- >> the greek economy not long ago was booming. and in the posh parts of athens the go chief lifestyle persists. -- gucci lifestyle persists. the octopus is also real. much of the conspicuous
consumption is tax evasion. greece heads the european lead table of tax fiddling. the gek economy makes up 25% of g.d.p. according to researchers. economists think 15 billion euro as year goes uncollected. if they did collect it would sort out the deficit. so how could this happen? how could greece live beyond its means and then announce a setof public finance figures so sur prizing that they nearly crashed the euro? we might want to ask the man in charge while it was all going on. george skufos was finance minister in the new democracy government from 2004 until january 2009, years when the e.u. believes the finance figures were misstated. >> do you accept the charge that under your stewardship the greek budget deficit doubled, doubled again, and the european union wasn't told the whole trh?
>> of course not. i don't accept this charge. under my stewardship the budget deficit fell from 8% in 2004 to less than 3% in 2006 and 7. and then it started increasing in 2008 when the crisis took hold. >> you don't accept any responsibility for getting the euro in the situation it is now in? >> well, i personally certainly don't. but greece of course is one of the countries that have been hit worse by the crisis. and due to its very high debt, it has been the focal point of those who want to attack the euro. >> the e.u. deal looks like it's bought greece some time. but price will be more austerity than yet announced. eventually, gre will be faced with the choice, revolt or accept a whole new world of higher taxes, lower wages, and no more octopus. >> paul mason.
now, any major exhibition of work by michelangelo is important but this is even more toward. the five presentation drawings were given by him to reputedly the love of his life. along with letters and poems the drawings give an insight into the artists' feelings but there is still mystery about their relationship. our correspondent steven smith reports. >> this takes us to the heart of michelangelo's emotional life. >> the best drawings by one of the best artists who ever drew. >> this is not the michelangelo of the world-famous public commissions, the sistine chapel, the david statue, but a portrait of the artist as a man in love,
an intense private passion. in 1532, michelangelo, then in his late 50's, met a young nobleman who was 16 or 17. >> these are michelangelo's coming out drawings you might say in modern terms. in these drawings what you see is really crucial, the courage to confess the nature of his desires. and basically to say, yeah, i love this young man. >> at the time, the artist enjoyed god-like status, a man able to defy the wishes of the pope himself. but in the corner of this first draft for the enchanting tomasso, a plain tiff hand-written note from michelangelo. >> if this gift does not please you say so in time for me to do another tomorrow evening as i promised you. and if it pleases you and you wish me to finish it, send it back to me. >> tomasso seems to have been
flattered. tomasso was in our language heterosexual. he clearly was not, that wasn't going to happen. but he never -- he didn't shun michelangelo. you know, if there was st happee could have he would have done. but what happened with tomasso is he became a lifelong friend. >> the show includes loans from the vatican and the royal collection. but the centerpiece is michelangelo's own "dream." >> well, it is the drawing of a young man, in ideal nudity, while wing spirits beautiful as such again approaches the young man with a trumpet. and the trumpet is blowing into his forehead. that was thought to be the piece of inspiration in the time. he's surrounded by figures that
all refer to the vices. the winged figure might be really an embodiment of beauty and of chase love. >> for the poet and critic james fenton, half the fun is spotting the fruity doodles hidden in the drawings. >> you can find little bits of obscenity that were rubbed out in the main drawing, the "dream." you can find what it used to look like in one of the copies. >> what sort of obscenities have you encountered? >> i'm only talking about nothing to frighten the horses. it's in michelangelo's poetry that experience of loving this man most comes to life. >> what i feel and what i seek and who may guide me to it lie beyond my power. and i cannot clearly see where i may find it. though it seems that someone may
show me. michelangelo doesn't appear in these presentation drawings, but they amount to an intimate self-portrait all the same, say critics, as well as a landmark in the development of drawings. >> before those presentation drawings were made, drawings were mainly a means to prepare other works of art. paintings, sculpture, and this particular group is really the one that rises the art to new heights of independent artwork. >> michelangelo his love was real love. there's real love there. if it wasn't the art would be boring. if this art were just spiritual it would be boring to look at. but it's not. it's very carnal.
>> it's not being commissioned by some air rest toe carattic patron. he's giving to a nobleman. he absolutely loves. so it's a gift of love. >> that was steve smith. that's all for this week's program. guy. >> funding for this presentation is made possible by the freeman foundation of new york, stowe, vermont and honolulu, w man's own foundation. the john d. and kathryn t. mcarthur foundation and union bank.
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