China's mixed reactions towards Obama's reelection

A Chinese woman poses for a photograph with the cardboard cutouts of Romney and President Barack Obama at a Presidential election event, organized by the U.S. embassy in Beijing Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012. Photo: AP

With the 18th CPC National Congress just one day away, Beijing is busy getting ready with its media directing their resources and focus on the domestic front. President Obama’s successful reelection was met with lukewarm reactions. The Chinese public, on the other hand, though generally happy with the result of the election, are concerned about whether Obama’s second term will help or harm the Sino-US relationship.

It has been a tough call on China’s part to decide which of the two US presidential candidate’s policy is more favorable towards China unlike the previous elections where there was almost always a relatively more pro-China candidate. However, Obama had been and is still favored by the Chinese people, who follow the US election avidly. A survey by Sina Weibo right before the election showed a 78% support rate for Obama despite the fact that his policies towards China have been unfriendly, if not aggressive, much to the disappointment of his Chinese supporters. The repeated confrontations between the two countries in trade and over the issue of Chinese currency as well as the US government’s ambiguous stance on China’s territorial disputes with Japan and other south-Asian countries have greatly dampened Chinese people’s confidence for a better Sino-US relationship in the future.

The continuity of Obama’s policies towards China is not to be questioned, which is a unanimous opinion amongst the Chinese. Even though some of his harsh stance towards China during the election is understood to be just for the sake of getting more votes, the Chinese believe that for Obama to deliver his promise of rebuilding the US economy and reclaiming the US dominance over the world, he is sure to target China. Competition between China and the US is getting fiercer not just on the trade front, but on other fronts as well, such as military, finance, and culture, to name just a few. With the Chinese economy continues slacking, many are concerned over the effects the prolonged and potentially incendiary disputes between the two countries might have on China.

Given the mostly mixed feelings, some believe that compared to Romney, Obama is still a better choice considering the foundation he has laid with the upcoming Chinese leaders and the fact that he has repeatedly stressed that China and the US share many common interests and US is to cooperate with China.

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