When Obama’s daughter Sasha practised Mandarin with Hu

Friday, January 21, 2011

SHANGHAI - Chinese President Hu Jintao may have never thought that his state visit to the US, aimed at improving bilateral relations, would also require him to teach a lesson or two in the Chinese language to President Obama’s beloved daughter Sasha.

Nine-year-old Sasha wanted to test her language skills in Mandarin with none other than the Chinese president himself when the latter visited them at the White House, according to a report in Shanghai Daily Friday.

“The (US) president pointed out last night at the state dinner that his daughter, Sasha, is a very young girl but her class is studying Chinese,” Shanghai Daily reported Ben Rhodes, a White House deputy national security adviser, as having stated during a video conference Thursday with Chinese bloggers.

“She’s under 10 years old and they’re studying Chinese, and she wanted to have the chance to practise her Chinese with President Hu.”

Sasha attended Hu’s welcoming ceremony on the White House lawns Wednesday morning with friends and could be seen waving a Chinese flag excitedly, as her father and Hu took a stroll around the grounds.

The two presidents paused when they reached the nine-year-old and her friends behind the rope line.

“Not every (child) has the opportunity to try out their first phrases of Chinese with the president of China, but she had that chance,” Rhodes stated, adding that the anecdote illustrated Americans’ desire to get to know China better with more people studying the country and doing business there.

Filed under: Diplomacy

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