China has just made plain its contempt and hatred for the United States; and certainly has shown its contempt for President Obama.
During the state dinner at the White House, Hu Jintao and his entourage, including the pianist Lang Lang, made it clear that they have no respect for either the USA or its current president. Among Lang's pieces played for the entertainment of the Chinese and American presidents was "Wode Zu Guo" (My Motherland), a piece from a 1950's propaganda film extolling the killing of Americans during the Korean War. After the non-mainstream media broke the story, Lang professed innocence of the origin of the song. I frankly think he's lying through his teeth.
The Chinese Communist government is very careful about the image it projects, yet still likes to prod for weaknesses in its interlocutors. It is why Hu made the right noises about China having "a long way to go" in implementing human rights and the rule of law while making no commitments. But under the smooth exterior, is the head of a ruthless oligarchy that understands its historical mission as being the last, best hope of 20th century totalitarianism. Had Hu wished to simply have a smooth, both-sides-satisfied summit, he would not have allowed such a piece to be played (would the Germans play "Die Wacht am Rhein" when having diplomatic negotiations with the French?). It seems that the Chinese government was betting on general American ignorance of modern Chinese culture, and pulled the stunt to show the folks back home that it is humiliating and insulting America at the heart of American power.
The fact that Lang chose a piece from a post-Korean War propaganda film may also signal that any Chinese noises that it may accept the disappearance of the Communist Kim Dynasty in Pyongyang is probably a subtle trap designed to lull the USA into a new confrontation in northeastern Asia in order to test the prowess of China's rapidly modernizing forces. It should therefore be a signal to any alert officials in the US Government that China is not a friend, but an enemy whose contempt for the USA--accompanied by an underestimation of American strengths and sensibilities--could very well lead to a general conflict in the Western Pacific.
The fact that official US responses to this plain insult are muted is no proof of the patience, forbearance, and wisdom of our leadership, but of their ability to be taken off guard by people who sincerely and deeply hope to catch them off-guard. It seems that nothing has changed since the Chinese General Staff caught former President Clinton off-guard by asking if the US would tolerate a nuclear blast over Los Angeles as retaliation for supporting Taiwan in the face of a Mainland Chinese assault. It would be far better for Obama and Mrs. Clinton, as Secretary of State, to clearly state that the US government feels that Lang Lang's repertoire at the state dinner was in poor taste, suggests that official China has no respect for the USA, and may even hint that Beijing's long-term view of Washington is hostile.