U.S. politicians compete to bash China for gains in midterm elections

22:14, October 14, 2010      

Email | Print | Subscribe | Comments | Forum 

With crucial midterm elections three weeks away, U.S. politicians at Capitol Hill have suddenly found a common undertaking: China bashing.

For some time, Democrats and Republicans alike have chosen to fire salvos on the Asian country to prove their loyalty to their own country.

In their eyes, China has suddenly become responsible for almost every economic problem their country is facing, particularly job losses.

The New York Times observed that at least 29 candidates have suggested in their campaign ads that their opponents have been sympathetic to China.

The Wall Street Journal said the National Republican Congressional Committee is up with 10 new ads linking embattled House Democrats to China.

In their recent campaign ads some Democrats accused their Republican opponents of crafting policies that allowed American companies to outsource jobs to China.

The Republicans, in return, blame Democrats for piling up deficits and borrowing too much from China, or even blame them for supporting a bill that allegedly sends wind turbine jobs to China.

The blame game is viewed by many as a campaign tactic to get votes, using China as a scapegoat.

"In an election, it is always useful to accuse an opponent of being disloyal to his nation. Since some Americans believe that China is more powerful than the United States now, they may feel angry or fearful about this. Thus, it becomes very useful to link an opponent with China," Henry Hail, a doctoral candidate majored in social science, told Xinhua.

"In general, I think that many Americans are not confident about the direction the United States is going, so they are more likely to feel insecure and in competition with other nations. Thus, we see more plays to nationalism in this election," he explained.

Kenneth Lieberthal, director of the John L. Thornton China Center at Brookings Institution, also admitted that this is largely a campaign strategy.

"Politicians trying to get votes do not tell people they must make sacrifices or that times will be difficult. They rather seek to blame their opponents for the problems people confront. So China fits into that strategy," Lieberthal said.

However, most of the ordinary American people, let alone experts, do not believe that China is the main cause of the economic distress in the United States right now.

"The long-term lethargic growth pattern that the United States is in right now is mainly due to its own faults, such as the belief in 'market fundamentalism', lax regulation, too low interest rates and the proliferation of extremely dangerous financial instruments," said Christopher McNally, a China expert with the East West Center, a U.S. think-tank.

"But nobody is good at finding fault with themselves, so China becomes the scapegoat. Blaming China is easier than trying to restructure the U.S. economy for long-term sustainable growth," McNally told Xinhua.

Ruben Musca, a U.S. white collar who lives in the Washington D.C. area, shared his view.

"Basically, they are looking for someone to blame other than themselves, and China is an obvious target. I personally disagree with this completely. As a student of economics, I believe wholeheartedly in free trade and the ability of globalization to advance all economies, since it's not a zero-sum game," he told Xinhua.

Some also expressed doubts on the effectiveness of China bashing in the campaign.

"I agree there is an increase of uses of China as a 'stick' in this election," said Douglas Paal, vice president for studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

"Yet I don't see it having a direct effect on the polls so far. That is, the two parties are having a domestic policy dispute, and the essence of that dispute has not been changed by efforts to draw China in," Paal said.

Source: Xinhua


  • Do you have anything to say?


Special Coverage
  • Premier Wen Jiabao visits Hungary, Britain, Germany
  • From drought to floods
Major headlines
Editor's Pick
  • Chinese Navy soldiers hold an evening party marking the upcoming 62nd National Day aboard Chinese Navy hospital ship "Peace Ark" in the Pacific on Sept. 28, 2011. The Chinese National Day falls on Oct. 1. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 30, 2011 shows the crowd at the plaza of Beijing Railway Station in Beijing, capital of China. The railway transportation witnessed a travel peak with the approach of the seven-day National Day holidays on Friday. (Xinhua)
  • A man wearing high-heel shoes takes part in the 3rd annual Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, an event when men literally walk in women's shoes to raise awareness about ending violence against women, at Yonge-Dundas Square in Toronto, Canada, Sept. 29, 2011. (Xinhua/Zou Zheng)
  • Photo taken on Sept. 29, 2011 shows a cargo ship in danger on the sea near Zhuhai City, south China's Guangdong Province. Cargo ship Fangzhou 6 of Qingzhou of southwest China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region lost control after water stormed into its cabin due to Typhoon Nesat on the sea near Zhuhai Thursday, leaving 12 crew members in danger. Rescuers rushed to the ship and saved them by using a helicopter. (Xinhua)
  • Actress Gong Li poses for L'Officiel Magazine. (Xinhua Photo)
  • Demonstrators from the Occupy Wall Street campaign hold placards as they march in the financial district of New York September 29, 2011. After hundreds of protesters were denied access to some areas outside the New York Stock Exchange on September 17, demonstrators set up a rag-tag camp three blocks away. Zuccotti Park is a campground festooned with placards and anti-Wall Street slogans. The group is adding complaints of excessive police force against protesters and police treatment of ethnic minorities and Muslims to its grievances list, which includes bank bailouts, foreclosures and high unemployment. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)
Hot Forum Discussion