Politicians Play The China Card

NPR points out that even in this heated and sometime nasty election season in the U.S., politicians are agreeing on one thing: The inherent threat of a rising China. An NPR blog post rounds up some of the most blatant ads being broadcast by candidates on both side of the aisle:

…If you’ve been watching campaign ads — with more than $3 billion dumped into political advertising this season, how could you avoid them? — you’ll notice that a remarkable bipartisan coalition has coalesced around one of the most critical geopolitical issues of the day: our relationship with China. And the common ground they’ve arrived at appears to be that China is evil, scary, and poised to eat our lunch.

On October 9, David Chen of The New York Times noted that more than 29 candidates, Democrats and Republicans, have unveiled commercials attacking their opponents for aiding and abetting China’s imminent economic takeover of America.

The imagery in the ads is filled with cultural stereotypes and stock images. One ad that’s been getting a lot of attention is the so-called “Chinese Professor” ad. Watch it here:

And from NPR:

Perhaps most egregiously, Ohio Democratic U.S. Rep. Zack Space ran ads condemning Republican rival Robert Gibbs for supporting free trade agreements that benefit China, “like NAFTA.” (Look how insidious China is: They already weaseled their way into becoming part of North America!)

The Space ad was made even more distressing by its unfortunate imagery. While many of the cycle’s anti-China ads share similar iconography (lots of Communist red, triumphalism, PRC flags, Beijing opera sound effects) Space’s hired guns decided to climax the commercial on a stock photo of a Lunar New Year dragon dance performance — which careful observers will recognize as taking place in San Francisco. The English-language signs in the background are a dead giveaway.

More ads referenced in the NPR post:

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