Column from the Los Angeles Times (link):
IN THE OLD days, Chinese emperors sat in splendor in the Forbidden City and waited for the barbarians to come to them. That only changed in 1979, when Deng Xiaoping turned Chinese history on its head, becoming the first leader of the People’s Republic of China to visit the United States – the first emperor to pay court to the barbarians.
In 1979, it was a novelty to see the pint-sized heir of Mao donning a 10-gallon hat. Now, however, when President Hu Jintao visits Washington, he is treated with the respect due an equal.
But is he truly an equal? The answer is more “yes” than “no.”