Where's China in This Year’s Presidential Race?

Michael Elliott addresses the Asia Society in Hong Kong. (Asia Society)

HONG KONG, October 3, 2008 – In contrast to past presidential elections, the 2008 US election has seen very little China-bashing, according to the Editor of TIME International, Michael Elliott. In conversation with Steve Marcopoto, President of Turner International Asia Pacific, Elliott noted that while attacking China was a common theme in past presidential campaigns, the country was mentioned just once during the vice-presidential debate that took place earlier that day between Sarah Palin and Joe Biden.

Touching on other issues, including the financial meltdown and China’s growing international stature, the two men also discussed the Olympics. The Beijing Games were widely regarded as signaling China’s arrival on the world stage—an impression reinforced by the historic spacewalk by the first Chinese "taikonaut" in late September.

Elliott told Marcopoto that while the Olympics instilled a great sense of national pride, they had no bearing on some of the structural problems associated with China’s modernization, including corruption, shoddy goods, and an unresponsive officialdom. Perhaps most tellingly, according to Elliott, press constraints remain commonplace, including news blackouts of the melamine-tainted milk scandal that officials had been aware of before the Olympics.

Reported by Penny Tang, Asia Society Hong Kong Centre


Elliott on China-bashing in American politics (3 min., 4 sec.)


Elliot argues that China's problems of modernization persist (2 min., 50 sec.)


Listen to the complete program (51 min., 29 sec.)