Hillary Clinton takes aim at China again

Source:Global Times Published: 2015-7-6 0:03:32

US Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton took aim at China on Saturday. At a campaign event in New Hampshire, she accused China of "trying to hack into everything that doesn't move in America," and added that "China's military is growing very quickly" so that its military installations in the South China Sea are threatening US allies such as the Philippines.

When it comes to the US presidential election season, China is always in the crosshairs. Presidential candidates routinely indulge in finger-pointing at China, either when they are chasing every vote or in the final election countdown, because leveling accusations at China is both populist and safe in the US. Clinton may be taking aim at China now possibly because Jeb Bush's campaign has shaken her confidence.

As most US voters know little about foreign affairs, Clinton, a former secretary of state, is adept at wooing the electorate by verbally hitting China and Russia. However, it's largely certain that how she rebukes China now will have no connection as to how she deals with the country if she wins the election. Her husband was also critical of China in his campaign, but became China's "friend" when he became president and even after he stepped down.

US voters are easy to trick as they seem to be tolerant of the different attitudes candidates take toward China before and after they win the election. Another possibility is that for the voters, an inconsistent attitude toward China is no big deal, since they have been deceived more badly on other issues.

Clinton criticized China for cyber attacks and the South China Sea, unlike eight years ago when she picked on the yuan exchange rate. It means these are issues that can attract the most attention among the US public. Other candidates may also follow suit if they want to make use of China in their campaigns.

Presidential candidates are unlikely to have any bearing on policy in China, but they can affect US public opinion on China. The Chinese public does not need to reciprocate kindness to these hopefuls, as they should have the foresight to predict China's response to their groundless remarks.

The accusations Clinton leveled against China were made to advance her campaign and so are irrelevant to the Sino-US relationship, and so is the Chinese public's response to her remarks. If she is elected president, hopefully she will be more respectful.

As for the disputes over cyber security, China and the US need to coordinate their major concerns and work out rules that respect each other's core interests. While conflicts between the two powers in reality are inconceivable, their fights in cyber space can have consequences for them and the world.

Posted in: Editorial

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