US presidential candidates should not focus on China-bashing
Updated: 2012-10-16 14:57
Two chairs that will be used by US President Barack Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sit empty during preparations for Tuesday's presidential debate, at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, Oct 15, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]
BEIJING - As the US presidential candidates gear up for their second debate with a focus on foreign policy, it would be both politically shortsighted and detrimental to China-US relations if they turned the town-hall-style meeting into a China-bashing competition.
According to a statement posted by the debate's organizer on its website, the rise of China has been selected as one of the major topics at the second encounter.
Such a choice demonstrates that the two candidates' respective China policies are among the key factors that will help voters make their decisions on who will run the world's only superpower in the next four years.
Yet, with the Election Day only three weeks away, the fierce presidential race seems to have morphed into a contest in which the one who plays tougher on China has better chances to win.
Over the past several months, Republican candidate Mitt Romney has worked pretty hard to portray himself as a steadfast China-basher, trumpeting the ill-grounded theory that it is China's currency policy that has made Americans jobless.
Meanwhile, the Obama administration, as if fearing to be outshone in the China-hitting game, has recently rolled out a series of protectionist measures against Chinese products and investment.
In fact, there are plenty of other US politicians who have built their political popularity and career by chastising the Chinese government and its policies instead of locating the true causes of their country's social and economic problems and seeking constructive solutions.
In order to get elected, they seem never to bother exercising even a bit of statesmanship, and instead are willing to do or say anything to please their constituents no matter what a serious consequence it might entail.
What is worth noting is that US politicians have a notorious record of rounding on China during election seasons and then quickly changing their course of action after taking office.
However, these chameleonic politicians should not always expect that the wounds they have inflicted to the China-US ties would heal automatically.
At present, when Washington is anxiously trying to spur its slack economic growth and slash its stubbornly high unemployment rates, it is perhaps better for these flip-flopping politicians to spend a little more time handling their own problems and a little less time scapegoating China, as their China-blaming tricks would by no means bring to the United States any substantial benefit and might eventually backfire.
To US companies and entrepreneurs, China is still one of the world's most vibrant and lucrative markets, a fact that former Governor Romney should have a very good understanding. Moreover, China's rapid economic expansion will continue to create rich business opportunities.
And if the China-US ties are allowed to be consumed by the zero-sum and near-sighted US partisan politics, American businesses would be among the first to suffer.
The American politicians also have to understand that the most urgent task facing such a populous developing nation as China is to promote its own economic advancement, while disrupting the current peaceful and stable environment would mean self-suffocation.
It is hoped that whoever will serve as the next US president would cease to blame China for his country's domestic problems and stop being suspicious of China's sincerity to pursue peaceful development.