Will U.S. Democrats Be Tough on China? – Melinda Liu

From Newsweek:

The last time U.S. Democrats dominated Congress, a dozen years ago, China was still recovering from the traumatic 1989 crackdown on pro- demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. Although the economy was growing at an impressive rate, China was still a net exporter of oil, and Beijing authorities were diplomatic introverts on the international stage. Nancy Pelosi, in those days merely a member of the rank-and-file in the U.S. Congress, was one of China’s most vocal critics. She blasted Beijing for its human-rights record, opposed giving China most-favored-nation trading status for a decade and argued against allowing Beijing to host the 2000 Summer Olympics. In 1991, she and two congressional colleagues held a demonstration in Tiananmen Square, unfurling a banner reading: “To those who died for democracy.”

China is now a much different country, assertive in its and increasingly comfortable with showing its clout. Has Pelosi, now poised to become the influential Speaker of the House of Representatives, changed too? Beijing’s leaders hope so. But they fear that Pelosi will bring a new toughness to relations with China, intensifying frictions over everything from trade and the strength of China’s currency, to intellectual-property rights, human rights and Pyongyang’s nuclear program. “It will of course bring about some negative impact in the field of trade and business between China and America,” says Prof. Guo Xiangang of the China Institute for International Studies. “We also understand that she has good political relations with Taiwan.”[Full Text]

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