China Interested in US Presidential Campaign

    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) answers a question as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) answers a question as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
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    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) answers a question as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
    U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney (L) answers a question as U.S. President Barack Obama looks on during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.
    As the U.S. presidential election nears, Chinese news web sites and microblogs are following developments in the campaign closely, with cutting analysis and commentary - especially when China is a target of the criticism. In-depth coverage is in stark contrast to the little substantive reporting being done about China’s leadership reshuffle, also coming in November.
     
    Just hours after President Barack Obama and his Republican opponent Mitt Romney held their second pre-election debate this week, Internet users in China could access translated and interpreted portions of their exchanges online.
     
    On China’s Twitter-like microblog service Weibo, users not only shared remarks praising the candidates debating skills, but pondered what it meant for China.
     
    One Weibo user, Zhou Peiyuan, argued that it was not necessarily a bad thing that China was the target of criticism, because that attention is more a reflection of China’s rise and influence than anything else.
     
    Political scientist Xie Tao says that while many U.S. watchers in China are following the election debates for signs of shifts in American policy, there are many others who are more casually interested.  “Some people just watch it because they are curious to see what these people [candidates] are doing, other people want to know what is actually debated,” he said.
     
    Most state-backed media outlets reported that China was being used as a scapegoat in the debates, and accused the two candidates of engaging in China bashing.
     
    Strong Nation Forum, a bulletin board run by the state-run newspaper People's Daily, noted that in the 20 times the two candidates mentioned China, it was always in reference to the state of the American economy.
     
    Not only did state media balk at how China was portrayed, but commentaries also drew contrasts between the US and Chinese political systems.
     
    Some microblog users wondered when the day would come that China’s leaders might hold televised debates to outline their policies and agenda.
     
    That, however, is something that is unlikely anytime soon, says Joseph Cheng, a professor at the City University of Hong Kong.  
     
    Professor Cheng says that over the past 20 years, China has developed its own way of selecting its leaders, through an internal process where a small group of younger party members are promoted and groomed over a 10 year period. “That was the path of Hu Jintao and Wen Jiabao and that appears to be the path of leaders like [Vice President] Xi Jinping or [Vice Premier] Li Keqiang and so on,” he stated.

    China is weeks away from its political transition, but unlike the U.S., there is little uncertainty about who will emerge as the country’s leaders.
     
    During November's 18th party congress, the most prominent seats of power, those of China's president and premier, will most likely go to Xi Jinping and Li Keqiang. But much of their agenda and the names of those who will join the country's most powerful decision-making body, the Politburo's standing committee, remain unknown to the Chinese public.
     
    On the same Chinese microblogs where users are sharing their thoughts about the U.S. presidential candidates, state censors block keywords such as “China's communist party”, or “18th party congress.”
     
    Professor Cheng says that while China’s upper leadership does debate policies, the content of the discussions remains largely hidden. “What we can see is that there are publications, academic articles supporting or arguing for different orientations of reform directions, so we expect that these are the kind of issues being discussed at the top leadership level and these are the kind of corrections that they have to make decisions,”
     
    Websites covering the U.S. elections, however, are likely to get even more traffic over the next week. In the final presidential debate that will take place in Florida on October 22, the candidates will discuss their thoughts on China during a segment titled “The Rise of China and tomorrow's world.”
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    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Hanwell from: canada
    October 22, 2012 1:28 AM
    I think American's democrasy is a bad joke. Please have fun with the debate, its fun but unreal.
    In Response

    by: Ainsworth Morris from: USA
    October 23, 2012 11:46 AM
    This is the first time International Monitors will be coming to the USA, in droves as observers and protector of the faith.

    by: Cả Thộn from: Hà Nội
    October 20, 2012 12:26 PM
    US curriocity on Mars, Chinese curriocity on US election. Some thing new and strange to see. Just have some fun !

    by: Wangchuk from: NYC
    October 19, 2012 3:32 PM
    It's not hard to see that Chinese people are interested in the US Presidential elections. After all, the Chinese people cannot elect their own leaders & have no say in how their govt is run. The Chinese Govt is controlled by a one-party dictatorship of the Communist Party and the CCP doesn't allow the people to a say in how the country is governed.
    In Response

    by: Anonymous
    October 23, 2012 9:43 AM
    Guess you're kidding. From where do you know people can have a say in how a country is run if you haven't heard what the candidates said. From the Mars?

    by: James from: USA
    October 19, 2012 1:33 PM
    Some free thinking Chinese are interested about our way of voting and electing our leaders and are amazed that an American citizen has such an important role in choosing their leadership.........
    In Response

    by: Mike from: China
    October 21, 2012 12:34 PM
    Jonathan Huang, are you kidding? Seem like you stand for the CCP, not for Chinese people, especially poor people, shame on you! America election is better than ours a million times. Most China people know that. Don't fool of me.
    In Response

    by: Jonathan Huang from: canada
    October 20, 2012 12:20 PM
    you are wrong James from US. We are amazed how Americans could be so fool to vote two puppets and call that democracy.
    And we see Americans is helpless to save US economy and only get excited by the fake election.
    By the way, we have election in China, like it or not. Remember communists work for poor people, capitalists work for rich people!

    by: George from: China, Sichuan
    October 19, 2012 9:37 AM
    Talking is easier than doing. We don't care what the leaders say, but what they do.
    In Response

    by: James from: USA
    October 20, 2012 7:44 PM
    Thank you for your comment, George from Sichuan but it's my belief that your a Democrat from Hoboken, NJ............

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