If you're going to practice your Chinese and you're the president's daughter, why not start at the top? Nine-year-old Sasha Obama was in the crowd on the White House south lawn when President Hu arrived for his state visit. She managed to exchange a few phrases in Mandarin with China's leader.

There's no report about what they actually said to each other, but it's a good bet there were a couple of nihaos (hellos) and xiexies (thank-yous). That's about the extent of our Chinese, but first daughter's got it right: With China a rising power in the world, we all better start studying Mandarin.