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Hu faces critics in Congress, economic pressures back in China

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"China has an increasingly turbulent economy, heavily dependent on exports," Gordon Chang, a writer and former lawyer in China, testified Wednesday to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

But what should this mean for the trade policies that occupy center stage during this week's bilateral meetings?

In statements this week, Congress appears to be torn two ways.

Some blended criticism of China with a conciliatory tone. House Speaker John Boehner (R) faulted Beijing on human rights but said the two nations' "deep economic ties have helped create new American jobs and expand both of our economies." He said the trade partners should "continue to resolve our differences in ways that benefit both of our countries and our people."

Others say Congress should ramp up pressure for currency and trade reforms, with the goal of reducing America's trade deficit and creating US jobs. Backers of this idea include Democratic Sens. Charles Schumer of New York, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan.

"China has been allowed to develop an unfair advantage while going virtually unchecked," Senator Casey said in a statement Monday. "A comprehensive approach is required to level the playing field."

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