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Protester Disrupts Hu Arrival Ceremony

JENNIFER LOVEN / AP | April 21 2006

The arrival ceremony for Hu Jintao was interrupted by a protester who appealed to President Bush to stop the Chinese president from "persecuting the Falun Gong."

The woman began shouting from the top of a camera stand that was located directly in front of the two leaders so that news photographers could record the arrival ceremony on the south lawn of the White House.

She shouted in heavily accented English, "President Bush: Stop him from killing" and, "President Bush, stop him from persecuting the Falun Gong."

Bush, standing next to Hu, leaned over and whispered a comment to the Chinese leader, who paused briefly when the shouting began and then resumed his remarks.

The protester was waving a banner with the red and yellow colors used by Falun Gong, a banned religious movement in China. She kept shouting for several minutes before Secret Service uniformed agents were able to make their way to her position at the top of the camera stand. They dragged her off the stand.

A photographer who was standing next to the protester tried momentarily to quiet her by putting his hand in front of her mouth.

"It's hugely embarrassing," said Derek Mitchell, a former Asia adviser at the Pentagon and now an analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

China "must know that this Bush administration is good at controlling crowds for themselves, and the fact that they couldn't control this is going to play to their worse fears and suspicions about the United States, into mistrust about American intentions toward China."

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy said he was too busy to talk when contacted for comment on the heckling.

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