World leaders have started to send their congratulations to Barack Obama in connection with his assumption of the office of the President of the United States of America, Interfax reports. Israeli Prime Minister Olmert pointed out the US democracy as an example for the whole world, although Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez urged the world not to indulge in vain hope.
Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso set out his readiness to conduct close cooperation with the new president of the USA.
"I am confident that Japan and the United States, which are in the position of leading the world, can create a better future, by putting together our expertise, will, passion and strategy. With this conviction, I intend to work hand in hand with President Obama, to further strengthen the Japan-U.S. alliance, and make efforts towards the peace and prosperity of the Asia-Pacific region and the world,” Aso said.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy also congratulated Barack Obama on his inauguration, having said that the Americans set out their confidence in progress and in the future. "As you are entering office, I should like to convey to you, on my behalf and on the behalf of the people of France , my very best wishes for great success at the head of the American nation," Sarkozy said.
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated that the inauguration of Barack Obama marked the beginning of the new chapter in the history of American and the world. “He's not only the first black American president but he sets out with the determination to solve the world's problems,” Brown said.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert stated that the best democracy in the world proved yet again to be an example that many countries should follow. “The entire State of Israel rejoices with the United States and welcomes President Obama, who took the oath of office this evening,” he said. “We wish the incoming President success in his office and are certain that we will be full partners in advancing peace and stability in the Middle East,” Olmert added.
Barack Obama received congratulations from Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki, Philippines President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Mexican President Felipe Calderon.
Even Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez was glad to welcome the new administration in the White House. However, Chavez called upon his followers not to cherish illusions about Obama. “It goes about the American empire,” Chavez said. The US-Venezuelan relations reached a critical point during Bush’s presidency. Nevertheless, Chavez set out a hope that Obama will have a new look at Latin America and will respect its democracy.
In the meantime, China censored Obama’s inauguration speech, which was televised by the nation’s state TV channels and published on the Chinese internet. China particularly censored Obama’s references to communism and dissent. The communist Party of China decided that one should not touch upon these sensible issues of the Chinese people. It is an open secret that China conducts an active struggle against dissent and strongly disapproves any foreign interference into its home affairs.
Obama said in his speech that the previous generations of the Americans had “faced down fascism and communism not just with missiles and tanks, but with sturdy alliances and enduring convictions." "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history, but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist,” he added later in his speech.
The Chinese translation of Obama’s speech published on the website of the official Chinese newspaper China Daily omits the word ‘communism’ in the first sentence. The part about dissent was removed entirely. The censored version of the speech of the new US president appeared in China’s state-run Xinhua news agency, as well as on Sina and Sohu online portals.
The live broadcast of the speech was interrupted during the above-mentioned moments, and a Chinese TV host in the studio was shown instead.
It was not the first incident, when China censored landmark statements of high-ranking US officials. In 2004, China censored Dick Cheney’s speech having removed references to political freedom. In 2003, Hillary Clinton’s memoirs were censored for mentioning the demonstrations of protest on the Tiananmen Square.
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