President Barack Obama told Chinese students yesterday he did not fear their nation’s rise, ahead of talks on trade imbalances and currency strains that underline the sometimes tense embrace between the two giants.


In his first trip to China, Obama also used the forum to champion Internet freedom and human rights on the first full day of his trip. But he did not mention Tibet or other sensitive issues that could have drawn ire ahead of his talks with Chinese leaders in Beijing, where he arrived later yesterday.


“These freedoms of expression and worship, of access to information and political participation, we believe are universal rights, they should be available to all people including ethnic and religious minorities,” Obama told the audience in Shanghai.


“I’m a big supporter of not restricting Internet use,” he said. “The more open we are, the more we can communicate and it also draws the world together.”