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Obama backs non-censorship; Beijing, apparently, does not
Guo Ruijie, a senior majoring in English at Tongji University, said Obama "doesn't have big president airs. When he gave his speech on the stage, he was walking around like going for a walk with his caged birds. He gave me the impression that he is very amiable and easy to approach and close to people, and he cares a lot about the next generation."
While Obama was speaking inside, a small group of fans waited outside hoping for a glimpse of the president or his motorcade. They included Chinese students and some young Americans studying in China.
"I really agree with Obama's slogan, 'change' " said Jiang Yimeng, 19-year-old high school graduate. "I think the U.S. is more open than China. I'm now applying to universities in the United States. I really want to go to the George Washington University, which is just opposite the White House."
She added, "I also heard that the White House is open to public, and normal people can actually see president and his family close up. Obama is so charming and always smiling."
Shi Tingchong, also 19 and a high school graduate, spent a year as an exchange student in Ohio.
"I'm here because I worship him," she said. "I think he is someone who can really listen to us. Chinese government leaders just read from what's written down on documents."
She added, "He is a great black president. After I read his book, 'Dreams From My Father,' I think his road to success was really not easy, and he couldn't achieve success without his excellent eloquence."
Washington Post researchers Liu Liu in Shanghai and Zhang Jie in Beijing contributed to this report.