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Zhu: Down On The Farm In Illinois

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji, in the middle of a nine-day visit that has sent him crisscrossing the United States, visited Chicago Sunday to talk about capitalism and agriculture.

Zhu met with members of the city's Chinese community at a downtown hotel before heading to an 860-acre grain and livestock farm northwest of Chicago.

At the farm, he chatted with five Midwestern farmers, watched a farm machinery demonstration and was given a yearling Angus bull and several frozen embryos destined for a breeding program in China. The program is designed to boost China's beef cattle production.

On Monday, Zhu is scheduled to tour one of the seats of U.S. capitalism, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, and pay a call at the headquarters of Motorola Inc., one of the biggest U.S. investors in China. He then leaves for New York and Boston where he will wind up his trip on Wednesday.

In Denver, Zhu played tourist but kept trade issues (which have dominated his visit and his meeting with President Clinton) at the forefront.

Demonstrators who have tried to confront Zhu throughout his trip were also on hand in Colorado, home to a large Tibetan community.

Colorado Gov. Bill Owens also raised human rights concerns during a state dinner Saturday night when he said he would be the "first to admit that America is certainly not perfect.... However, what makes America unique in perhaps all the world is the opportunity that our society offers to each and every citizen to live in an environment where one can truly realize his or her maximum personal potential."

Twenty-three people carrying signs that read "China out of Tibet" were briefly detained in Denver after they stepped into a street that had been cleared for security in what police called a "symbolic arrest." One protester burned a Chinese flag.

Zhu told a lunch meeting sponsored by the city of Denver that he was more confident than Mr. Clinton that Congress would be willing to ratify a major trade pact and help usher China into the first rank of world trade.

"My impression is that all of them, Democrats or Republicans, are in favor of this agreement after hearing my briefing," the premier said through an interpreter.

China is keen to join the 134-member World Trade Organization (WTO) and is backed by many in the United States who are also eager to boost trade between the two countries.

Some members of the Congress say China's human rights record and allegations of spying on the United States are good reasons for U.S. opposition to a full-fledged trade pact.