President Obama is under fire from both Democrats and Republicans for honoring Chinese President Hu Jintao with the full state welcome yesterday. Branded globally for his country’s questionable human rights record, the Chinese leader was even called a “dictator” by House Democrat Harry Reid. Get the full story, plus pictures and video below!

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Working to improve relations between the U.S. and the second largest economy in the world, Obama welcomed the China leader with full honors Wednesday night. The two leaders took questions from reporters regarding policy, but on the forefront of everyone’s mind is what would happen when Jintao was questioned about human rights.

At first, he ignored the question. But after some pressure from reporters, the Chinese leader spoke publicly about his country’s human rights record for the first time in years.

“China is always committed to the protection and promotion of human rights, and, in the course of human rights, China has also made enormous progress, recognized widely in the world,” he said through a translator.

But it wasn’t just Hu Jintao that was under fire from reporters, Obama also faced some tough questions. One reporter asked the U.S. leader if he was truly comfortable with the prospect of China eventually gaining equal footing with the U.S. on a global stage.

“I absolutely believe that China’s peaceful rise is good for the world and it’s good for America,” Obama said, adding to the Chinese leader “we want to sell you all kinds of stuff.”

Despite the seemingly cordial nature of the leader’s relations, it is well known that China’s treatment of Taiwan and the Dali Lama is condemned by the United States. While the dinner celebrating the Chinese leader’s visit was attended by stars such as Jackie Chan and Barbara Streisand, it was boycotted by several prominent politicians including House Majority Leader John Boehner. It’s clear that the President’s goal was to establish a relationship with China and hopefully use that to influence policy in the growing world power. But other political opinions called for the President to boycott relations with China until their human rights record has improved.

What do you think of the Obama’s approach of honoring Hu Jintao? Should he be under fire for the visit? Or is this the best way to approach the situation? Let me know your thoughts in the comment section after you check out the pictures and video on the story below!

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Photos: House Official Photographer, Anwar Hussein