From Overseas Press

China emerges as a scapegoat in campaign ads

Updated: 2010-10-11 10:39
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United States two political parties found China as a new "villain" to run against when many Americans "seized by anxiety about the country's economic decline," said an article in the New York Times on Oct 9.

The attacks are "occurring as trade tensions continue and the US is pressuring the Chinese government to allow its currency to rise in value."

Democrats and Republicans are "blaming one another for allowing the export of jobs to its economic rival."

At least 29 candidates in the past weeks have "unveiled advertisements suggesting that their opponents have been too sympathetic to China" to make Americans suffer.

For example, an Ohio congressman Zack Space accuses his Republican opponent Bob Gibbs of "supporting free-trade policies that sent Ohioans' jobs to China." In the ad for Mr. Space's, a giant dragon appears on the screen with the sarcastic narration, appreciating the Republican: "As they say in China, xie xie Mr. Gibbs!"

Also, Senator Harry Reid, the majority leader, showed an ad that "wove pictures of Chinese factory workers with criticism that Republican Sharron Angle was a foreign worker's best friend for supporting corporate tax breaks that led to outsourcing to China and India."

The barrage of ads, "expected to total in the tens of millions of dollars, is occurring as politicians are struggling to address voters' most pressing and stubborn concern: the lack of jobs."

Erika Franklin Fowler, a political science professor and director for the Wesleyan Media Project at Wesleyan University, said that "China is a really easy scapegoat."

The ads are so vivid and pervasive that "some worry they will increase hostility toward the Chinese and complicate the already fraught relationship between the two countries."

Robert A. Kapp, a former president of the US-China Business Council, said that "even though tensions had flared in the past, he had never seen China used as such an obvious punching bag for American politicians."

"To bring one country into the crosshairs in so many districts, at such a late stage of the campaign, represents something new and a calculated gamble," he said. "I find it deplorable. I find it demeaning."

Polls showed that "Americans are increasingly worried that the US will have a lesser role in the years ahead and they are more and more convinced that China will dominate." In a Pew poll in April, 41 percent of US people said "China was the world's leading economic power, slightly more than those who named the US."