First Lady Michelle Obama, accompanied by daughters Sasha and Malia as well as her mother, are spending spring break in China. They landed in the country two days ago on Thursday, according to a Yahoo! News report on Saturday.
There have been reports that Michelle Obama’s visit was to be non-political, and there were further reports that the press was being blocked from her visit. Yet, she and a massive entourage are reportedly traveling on the taxpayers’ dime – or, make that, thousands upon thousands of dollars.
There are reports that the Obama entourage occupies hotel space of 3,400 square feet, costing $8,350-per-night. (Other than the extreme hotel costs, little about the expense of the trip has leaked out - yet.) The accommodations are at a presidential suite at a Beijing Westin Hotel.
Additionally, it has been reported that Secret Service agents have basically overtaken the elevators at the hotel to accommodate Mrs. Obama, her mother Marian Robinson, and the daughters. Inconveniencing other high-paying guests, the front and back doors of the hotel are blocked off with strict security screening everyone who enters. While there are reports that Mrs. Obama and her daughters are gracious, some workers claim that they are fed up with Marian Robinson’s treatment of the staff.
While many persons are tired of the people in the United States who bash the Obamas for their extensive travel – openly labeled as vacations or otherwise – there are many who find the extensive travelling insulting and abusive to the nation’s citizenry and to the nation’s disastrous financial situation. The nation, at last count, is approximately 17 trillion dollars in debt.
On this trip, which was labeled as non-political, Mrs. Obama definitely spoke politics on Saturday. She spoke about freedom of speech – mostly the freedom of speech on the Internet and in the news media arena.
Less politically, she spoke on Friday to Chinese and American persons at Peking University. However, she reportedly broke into statements about the benefit of people hearing all sides of every argument – as somewhat critical of the news media. She said that people have seen that countries are stronger and more prosperous when the voices and opinions of all their citizens can be heard – obviously suggesting that that is not the case. In China, the Internet is censored so that its people do not hear or read of opposition to the Chinese government’s policies.
Mrs. Obama went on to say, “My husband and I are on the receiving end of plenty of questioning and criticism from our media and our fellow citizens, and it’s not always easy – but we wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”
Some would argue, however, that the Obamas do not receive much criticism from a media that is often on their side of issues.
Previously, it has been said that Mrs. Obama, accompanied by her daughters who are on spring break as well as her mother, is in China to highlight the importance of education and student foreign exchanges. From the few media quotes coming out of Mrs. Obama’s public talks, it appears she is taking it upon herself to speak on other issues of her choice.
Current United States State Department data says that some 200,000 Chinese students are enrolled in United States institutions of learning while only 20,000 Americans are in China to study. On topic, Mrs. Obama has said in China that she believes more exchange student studying is needed.