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China bashing in the presidential race

Romney and Obama try to compete in bashing China. Yet both the history and future of US-China ties point to a need for calm debate on how the two economic giants can cooperate.

Executives of two major Chinese technology companies, Charles Ding, Huawei Technologies, left, and Zhu Jinyun, ZTE Corporation, are sworn in on Capitol Hill Sept. 13 before testifying before the House Intelligence Committee. The panel's Oct. 8 report warns that the two leading Chinese firms pose a major security threat to the United States.

AP Photo

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Big Bird or China? It’s hard to know which of those current campaign topics will sway the American voter more. Of the two, however, it is China that needs the wisest debate and most restrained political rhetoric.

China’s rise as a global competitor with America has pushed Mitt Romney and President Obama to start competing over which one will be tougher on the Asian giant. Adding to the campaign fireworks is a report Monday by the House Intelligence Committee that finds Chinese telecom firms Huawei and ZTE pose a security threat to the United States and should be barred from buying American companies.

“China has the means, opportunity and motive to use telecommunications companies for malicious purposes,” the report says, adding that the two firms “cannot be trusted to be free of foreign state influence.”

Mr. Romney has promised to officially label Beijing as an unfair manipulator of its currency rate and to “crack down on China, if and when they cheat” on trade or intellectual property.

Last week, Mr. Obama blocked a Chinese firm, Ralls Corp, from buying a wind-farm project near a US naval facility in Oregon. While campaigning in Ohio, he lodged an official complaint against China at the World Trade Organization and began to use the phrase “economic patriotism.” And he recently announced that the US military would place most of its resources in Asia as a counterweight to China’s own military rise.


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