APRIL 13, 2011
LARRY KING: Tomorrow night! The whole hour with Shen Shen Mao! Star of Idol of the Celestial Kingdom! From Hunan Province, hello!
CALLER: Am I on?
LARRY KING: You’re on, caller. What’s your question for our guest?
CALLER: I would like to know, sir, if your guest has taken up any hobbies since stepping down from his post?
LARRY KING: Great question. Hu — can I call you Hu? –
HU JINTAO: You may. Although it should be noted that Hu is my last name.
LARRY KING: But it comes first? Don’t get that.
HU JINTAO: Larry, in Mandarin, the family name always goes first.
LARRY KING: That makes me King Larry! I love it! When you guys bought CNN and moved all of us to Beijing, I knew there’d be an upside. Aside from the dumplings, which I love love love.
HU JINTAO: We are pleased to have you all here in the spirit of a new friendship and partnership with the United States.
LARRY KING: Nice of you to say, Jintao. So — any hobbies since you left your post as president of China?
HU JINTAO: Well, reading, of course. My wife and I are enjoying the time together. And of course I’m busy with the book.
LARRY KING: The book is This Is Gonna Hurt: A Debt Collector’s Loveletter to America, and it’s available everywhere, right?
HU JINTAO: Oh yes. And on Kindle. And iPad.
LARRY KING: So what is it you especially like about America? Because, you know, from where I sit, I’m getting that it ain’t the dollar! Am I right?
HU JINTAO: Well, obviously, Larry, the enormous wide-open spaces. And of course the voracious appetite of its people for luxury and manufactured goods.
LARRY KING: What don’t you like so much?
HU JINTAO: The trillions that you owe us. And the difficulty we’ve had trying to get payment. It really has been hard to get you all on the phone to discuss this topic.
LARRY KING: That’s why I’m here!
HU JINTAO: Exactly. One of my last official acts, as you know, Larry, was to purchase the CNN network and NBC Universal and move them here, to Beijing. Our feeling was, the only way to get America’s attention was to appear on the screen in front of them.
LARRY KING: Go to the source! I love it!
HU JINTAO: Right. Our feeling was, first, let’s get it all out on the table. We’re talking about a lot of money. Then, let’s talk about unwinding some of this debt. Let’s talk collateral.
LARRY KING: That’s when you made your move on New Jersey?
HU JINTAO: We didn’t mind the pollution or the institutional corruption. To us, that’s like home.
LARRY KING: What binds us together is stronger than what divides us!
HU JINTAO: I’ve always thought so.
LARRY KING: And that’s when former president Obama stepped in to stop the New Jersey thing?
HU JINTAO: Yes. In business, we call this a “repo.” And you can’t stop a repo.
LARRY KING: Did he anticipate your next move?
HU JINTAO: It was a hard decision, but what could we do? We fired him.
LARRY KING: Didn’t know you could do that.
HU JINTAO: Check the loan docs. Very clear on that.
LARRY KING: From Fujian Province! Hello!
CALLER: Hello, King Larry. Hello, Mr. President. My question is, will we be acquiring any warm-weather zones of the United States? I have elderly parents who I would like to send there.
LARRY KING: Excellent question! Miami? A lot of Jews there, but they like Chinese food. Thoughts?
HU JINTAO: We are currently looking at a range of options. Scottsdale is very attractive. I can’t say anything more right now, Larry, as we’re in the process of dealmaking.
LARRY KING: Hu Jintao! Former president of China! Now on a shopping spree! Mr. Hu, what’s next?
HU JINTAO: Well, Larry, you may not believe this, but there’s a lot of talk right now about having me serve as governor of California.
LARRY KING: Fantastic! A second act to an amazing life!
HU JINTAO: In many ways it would be a lot like being at home. We own a great deal of California as it is.
LARRY KING: But what about the campaign trail? Those elections can be mighty rough.
HU JINTAO: I was hoping to circumvent that process.
LARRY KING: The election?
HU JINTAO: Yes.
LARRY KING: Why not? Could work! It’s your sandbox! Thursday night! The whole hour with the workers from Shanxi Province, who will apologize for their incompetence!