It's a strange week for Chinese-U.S. relations.
We're welcoming Vice President Xi Jinping to Los Angeles day after tomorrow for a full city tour (including yacht ride and Lakers game) to strengthen L.A.'s business ties to the rich communist country. Similarly, on a national scale, President Obama is trying to remain cordial with Xi for obvious financial reasons. However...
... Republicans in Congress, and many of their constituents, are demanding that the White House "[stand] up to China's unfair and flagrantly illegal trade practices."
Another severe dividing point between the U.S. and China is the nuclear situation bubbling over in Iran. While President Obama lashes out at Israel's neighboring enemy nation for (allegedly) manufacturing nuclear weapons, China has remained a staunch supporter of Iran, its great Middle-Eastern ally on the anti-freedom front.
Zoom back in to Los Angeles -- where a strong pro-democracy contingent of Iranian-Americans have been protesting Iran's current regime, as well as any and every country who supports it.
According to L.A. reporter Ricardo Santiago, about a dozen protesters with bullhorns and signs gathered in front of the Chinese consulate this morning.
They unveiled a gorgeous 30-foot mural (above), on which the evil-looking leaders of Iran, China and Russia use their veto power to "water down or block the most powerful pressure that could be put on the Islamic Republic," one activist told the Los Angeles Times.
The Times also reported that NYC graffiti artist Cycle did the paint job.
Guess he and the Iranian-American protesters haven't heard of a little city nuisance we like to call the mural ordinance. Although it's frantically being revised by city planners -- after much pressure from L.A.'s street artists and their many fans -- the ordinance currently restricts any new art from going up on private property. And on city property, it would need permission from L.A. officials.
But Santiago, who took the above photo, tells us over Twitter that "it didnt look permanent" and that he suspects they might "take it down today at some point." (Like good little protesters. Take note, Occupy L.A.!)
Bijan Karimi of the "New Iran pro-democracy movement" tells the Times that as a result of China's support, Iran "feels free to ignore the international community and continues to refuse to give power back to our people, respect human rights or halt their nuclear ambitions."
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Still, Obama's gritting his teeth and making Xi's visit as feel-good as possible, reports the Associated Press.
President Obama assured China's heir apparent to leadership that the United States welcomes Beijing's rise in the world, saying Tuesday that strong cooperation between the two powers is good for the rest of the world.
Obama offered a warm welcome to Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping amid sharp policy differences over Syria, Iran and economic issues, as well as longstanding U.S. concerns over Chinese human rights practices.
Total crickettown at the mayor's office in regard to that, as well. City Hall may be quick to sever (or at least try to sever) all business ties with Arizona over immigrants rights, but no matter what China does, with this caliber of subway loan on the line, better to just smile and bow.