In China, A Not-So-Super Tuesday

The New Yorker’s Evan Osnos notes that Super Tuesday has played second or third fiddle in the Chinese press this week, deemed less than impressive alongside Wen Jiabao’s annual report at the National People’s Congress and Vladimir Putin’s victory in Russia’s Presidential election:

By comparison, Super Tuesday—chaoji xingqi’er—looks to the Chinese like vaudeville—a raucous, travelling show with a narrative that the Chinese are straining to discern. The cast is large, and it’s difficult for Chinese viewers to figure out why some succeed and others don’t. Romney’s recurring silver-foot-in-the-mouth problem is perhaps the easiest for Chinese citizens to appreciate—their politicians make ours look like paupers—but they find the American love-hate relationship with Romney’s wealth to be confusing. “At least he got his fortune through proper means. Not much to explain. Can we say as much about Chinese leaders?” a commentator asked. As Roaring Shout put it, “Seems the way they do it is: get rich first, then become president. For us, the order is become a leader first, then….” Officialdom is less amused. With Romney using every campaign stop to reiterate his intention to declare China a currency manipulator, the Global Times pointed to an ostensible consensus that his “arrogant comments lack basic common sense.”

While the anti-China rhetoric has continued in the run-up to today’s wave of Republican primary contests, Forbes reminded front-runner Mitt Romney last week that Ohio – one of the states voting – relies on China more than only Mexico and Canada as a business partner. Voice of America also tracks down a 2003 posting on China’s foreign ministry website, from a visit to Boston by Wen Jiabao, which quotes then-Governor Romney highlighting the benefits brought to Massachusetts through its economic ties with China.

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