China is keenly following the Democratic and Republican tickets in the United States presidential elections – the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) even sent Ma Hui, director for the Americas at the CCP Central Committee’s International Department – to observe the Democratic National Convention at the invitation of the National Democratic Institute, marking the first time that the CCP has participated in an American political party convention.
Numerous government-affiliated think-tank reports in China have repeatedly stated that Sino-US relations are the single most important bilateral relations for Beijing. Since Deng Xiaoping, the de facto leader of the People’s Republic of China from 1978 to the early 1990s, initiated China’s economic reforms, the United States has facilitated China’s opening and development by providing capital and technology as well as an immense market for Chinese exports.
In 2006 US foreign investment in China reached $22 billion, more than twice the amount four years earlier. Outsourcing by US businesses has propped up China’s growing labor market while generating more taxable income, which in turn promotes social stability – and by extension the government’s legitimacy in the eyes of the Chinese polity.