BEIJING — Richer and more assertive since the last American presidential campaign, China is looking at the harsh anti-Chinese sentiment being expressed by both candidates with a mixture of aloofness and unease.
The Chinese say they are accustomed to China-bashing during the American election season, but there is growing concern among government officials, business executives and academics here that this time the attitude toward China among the American public and politicians is so hot it may not cool after Election Day.
From accusations of unfair trade practices to a discussion of whether it is proper for the candidates to have investments in Chinese companies, the word “China” came up 22 times, and always negatively, in the debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney last week. In the final presidential debate Monday night, when foreign policy will be the main subject, China is likely to be a center of attention again
This year we see a few changes in the China Bashing that usually accompianies US presedential elections. First, the growing Chinse middle class are watching, and secondly,US news media, like the New Yourk Times, quoted above, have taken notice, and are covering the China Bashing, rather than allowing themselves to be a vector, repeating what the candidates allege.
Even my neighbour asked me what I thought of all the China comments in the second debate. Mind you, it was a forum, and there were no questions from the forum about China Policy. Instead, the Candidates want to be sure all Americans know they are against being soft on China. A third new development, I have not heard either Obama nor Romney state that China was a Communist country.
Folks, it looks like we have turned a corner.