Things are getting heated in the build-up to U.S. Presidential elections this coming fall, and China is a subject that both candidates keep coming back to, and that American voters are eager to hear about. The faltering Olympic organization and burgeoning economy of the PRC have been getting most of the attention, but in the past few days it has been other issues that have turned the attention of the Presidential hopefuls and their supporters across the Pacific.
Hanging out with the Dalai Lama may be every Western hippie’s dream, but it won’t help Republican John McCain’s case with the Chinese government. After a Friday meeting with the Tibetan leader in the U.S., McCain praised him as an international hero, a comment that infuriated certain government officials.
“China is seriously concerned about the report,” foreign ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said according to a statement on the ministry’s website, adding that the Tibet issue was China’s domestic affair.
Liu urged Americans to recognize that the Dalai Lama was trying to separate China and was aiming to destroy social stability in the western region “under the cloak of religion”.
They should “stop supporting and conniving with the Dalai Lama and the separatist forces for ‘Tibet independence,'” a tactic Liu said was damaging Sino-US relations.
Meanwhile, stories have surfaced about Democrat Barack Obama’s own, more personal, connections to China. Obama’s estranged half-brother, Mark Ndesandjo, is an entrepreneur who has been living in Shenzhen with a Chinese girlfriend for several years. Neither man seems particularly eager to talk to the press about the others’ existence, but reports indicate Ndesandjo has been promoting cheap exports with his consulting business, Worldnexus. The tie is a potential political bombshell for Obama in a country deeply fearful of what China’s inexpensive goods mean for jobs at home.
Photo from january20th2009