US election sparks interest and some concern in China

November 6th, 2008 - 9:43 am ICT by IANS  

Barack ObamaBeijing, Nov 6 (Xinhua) While many in the United States and the West cheered the election victory of Democrat Barack Obama, on the other side of the world the Chinese showed both interest and some concern.On various websites results were frequently updated and election results were carried live on Hong Kong-based Phoenix TV.

Sun Zhaomin, a programme manager with a bio-chemistry company in the Beijing technology hub of Zhongguancun, has been following the election for days. His company had planned to list in the United States in 2010.

“Due to the current financial crisis, we are unsure whether the plan can go ahead,” he said.

“Our company’s future is closely linked to the economic condition of the United States. Thus, I hope the president-elect could stabilize the economy as soon as possible after taking office.”

On campus, students were talking about the election in dining halls and dormitories. “Many of us plan to pursue further studies in the United States, and following the election is a way to learn more about American culture,” said Beijing student Yang Jingjing.

A survey on a website showed that 42.34 percent of the 4,104 respondents were concerned about the US presidential candidates’ attitudes towards China while 14.53 percent showed interest in the Western election system.

Netizens seemed to be supportive of 47-year-old Obama, who is to become the country’s first black president after a 21-month campaign.

“Judging from his speech, Obama is talented and compassionate with charisma,” said a netizen from Nanchong in eastern Jiangsu province.

“His opinion was good for the China-US relationship and he was against the Iraq war. Americans definitely need someone like him to lead them amid the financial crisis,” he said.

His view was echoed by columnist Xue Yong, who used to write for the Southern Metropolis Daily and Beijing Evening News.

“Young as he was, Obama appeared composed,” he wrote on his blog. “At first, he was inexperienced in debates, but he learned fast and showed control,” Xue said.

Li Zhiqi, head of the Beijing Brand Consulting Company, said most of his entrepreneur friends were for Obama.

“He built himself up from nothing. But he managed to impress everybody with a confident smile,” he said.

Despite the debate, optimistic Chinese experts believe no matter who has won, development of China-US ties will not stop.

Shen Dingli, director of the Center for American Studies at Fudan University, noted that the biggest difference between Democrats and Republicans in foreign policy was that the former attaches more importance to international cooperation, rather than unilateral action.

“This coincides with China’s proposition,” he said.

But as Obama once criticized China for dumping, the professor observed that the trade policy of the United States would become conservative and trade friction is inevitable.

Zhang Zhenjiang, vice director of the Institute of Southeast Asia Studies with the Jinan University, agreed.

“Although the financial crisis started in the United States, it is now a global issue that no single country could curb,” he said, adding that the United States would seek aid from the international community and cooperation among countries would be the trend.

The professor also saw a stable relationship between China and the United States.

“This time, China-US relationship didn’t become a focus in the presidential campaign, which suggested stability,” he said.

Compared with McCain, Obama is more likely to bring change to America’s China policy, Zhang said. One issue might be Taiwan.

However, Zhang noted that the cross-Strait relationship continued improving, hence the change would not have much negative impact.

The heads of the main negotiation body of China and Taiwan had a historic meeting in Taipei Tuesday, during which they signed several agreements easing the movement of people and goods across the Strait.

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