News / Asia

    China: US Shutdown Exposes 'Ugly Side of Partisan Politics'

    A security officer holds a sign informing people on the government shutdown of Alcatraz Island, a tourist attraction operated by the National Park Service, in San Francisco, California, Oct. 1, 2013.
    A security officer holds a sign informing people on the government shutdown of Alcatraz Island, a tourist attraction operated by the National Park Service, in San Francisco, California, Oct. 1, 2013.
    Reuters
    China on Wednesday said the U.S. government shutdown had exposed “the ugly side of partisan politics” in Washington and expressed concern about its effect on the world economy.

    An editorial on the state-run Xinhua news service, considered a channel for Beijing's official views, said, “The United States, the world's sole superpower, has engaged in irresponsible spending for years.”

    The commentary said the shutdown might lead to the U.S. failing to meet its debt obligations, referring to a similar conflict in 2011 over raising the government's debt ceiling. While default was ultimately averted, the crisis resulted in Standard & Poors downgrading the rating of U.S. sovereign debt.

    “In the view of the latest political failure, a replay of the 2011 summer drama seems likely, which is certainly a concern for U.S. foreign creditors,” it said.

    China is the largest single holder of U.S. government debt, a side effect of its managed exchange rate policy, which requires it to purchase massive amounts of dollars from Chinese trading companies to hold back the yuan from appreciating.

    China's foreign exchange reserves stood at $3.58 trillion in the third quarter.

    The policy of buying up U.S. government debt has come in for increasing criticism at home, given the relatively low yields and the fact that the relative value of Chinese holdings has decreased as the Federal Reserve has continued to pour cash into money markets through its quantitative easing policy, putting downward pressure on the value of the dollar.

    The yuan has continued to appreciate this year both in absolute and trade-weighted terms, causing domestic concerns that the yuan's strength, in particular vis a vis neighboring currencies, will damage China's export competitiveness even as its economic recovery remains uncertain.

    Beijing has made moves to liberalize its currency and let the yuan strengthen, in part to help its economy restructure to focus more on domestic consumption, but most mainstream economists believe exports will continue to play a critical role for years to come.

    The U.S. shutdown went into its second day on Wednesday with no end in sight to the funding battle in Congress that triggered it. Major stock markets and the dollar fell.

    Chinese popular opinion appears mixed, with some microbloggers praising the U.S. political system for having checks and balances that would allow for the government to close. In China, they argued, a government shutdown would lead to immediate national collapse.

    Others, however, appeared less sympathetic, concurring more with the tone of Xinhua's line.

    “With no political unity to redress its policy mistake, a dysfunctional Washington is now overspending the confidence in its leadership,” the editorial said.

    It also complained of the immediate impact on foreign tourists.

    Reports on Xinhua on Wednesday quoted Chinese tourists complaining that they had taken advantage of a national holiday week in China to visit the United States, only to find many of its historic sites, museums and national parks closed.

    You May Like

    Russian-Backed Offensive in Syria Pushes War to Tipping Point

    As threat to Aleppo and rebel forces grows, US plan to negotiate becomes less and less appealing for Syrian government, says one military analyst

    IS Runs Timber Smuggling Business in Afghanistan, Officials Say

    Government turning blind eye to smuggling, according to tribal leaders; Afghanistan's forest cover dropped by 50 percent in three decades, experts say

    Video White House Seeks $1.8 Billion to Combat Zika

    Obama administration says funding would 'support essential strategies to combat the virus' such as rapidly expanding mosquito control programs, accelerating vaccine research

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenyai
    X
    February 08, 2016 4:30 PM
    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video 'No Means No' Program Targets Sexual Violence in Kenya

    The organizers of an initiative to reduce and stop rape in the informal settlements around Kenya's capital say their program is having marked success. Girls are taking self-defense classes while the boys are learning how to protect the girls and respect them. Lenny Ruvaga reports from Nairobi.
    Video

    Video New Hampshire Voters Are Independent, Mindful of History

    Once every four years, the northeastern state of New Hampshire becomes the center of the U.S. political universe with its first-in-the-nation presidential primary. What's unusual about New Hampshire is how seriously the voters take their role and the responsibility of being among the first to weigh in on the candidates.
    Video

    Video Chocolate Lovers Get a Sweet History Lesson

    Observed in many countries around the world, Valentine’s Day is sometimes celebrated with chocolate festivals. But at a festival near Washington, the visitors experience a bit more than a sugar rush. They go on a sweet journey through history. VOA’s June Soh takes us to the festival.
    Video

    Video 'Smart' Bandages Could Heal Wounds More Quickly

    Simple bandages are usually seen as the first line of attack in healing small to moderate wounds and burns. But scientists say new synthetic materials with embedded microsensors could turn bandages into a much more valuable tool for emergency physicians. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Bhutanese Refugees in New Hampshire Closely Watching Primary Election

    They fled their country and lived in refugee camps in neighboring Nepal for decades before being resettled in the northeastern U.S. state of New Hampshire -- now the focus of the U.S. presidential contest. VOA correspondent Aru Pande spoke with members of the Bhutanese community, including new American citizens, about the campaign and the strong anti-immigrant rhetoric of some of the candidates.
    Video

    Video Researchers Use 3-D Printer to Produce Transplantable Body Parts

    Human organ transplants have become fairly common around the world in the past few decades. Researchers at various universities are coordinating their efforts to find solutions -- including teams at the University of Pennsylvania and Rice University in Houston that are experimenting with a 3-D printer -- to make blood vessels and other structures for implant. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, they are also using these artificial body parts to seek ways of defeating cancerous tumors.
    Video

    Video Helping the Blind 'See' Great Art

    There are 285 million blind and visually impaired people in the world who are unable to enjoy visual art at a museum. One New York photographer is trying to fix this situation by making tangible copies of the world’s masterpieces. VOA correspondent Victoria Kupchinetsky was there as visually impaired people got a feel for great art. Joy Wagner narrates her report.
    Video

    Video Sanders, Clinton Battle for Young Democratic Vote

    Despite a narrow loss to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in last week's Iowa Democratic caucuses, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders secured more than 80 percent of the vote among those between the ages of 18 and 29. VOA correspondent Aru Pande talks to Democrats in New Hampshire about who they are leaning towards and why in this week's primary.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.