Simple Americans

China’s vice premier isn’t the first to have said it, but it might not have been the wisest choice of words coming from a country ostensibly trying to improve its global image and its relationship in the United States.

Vice Premier Wang Qishan, now in the US for high-level talks with the Obama administration, called Americans “simple” on Tuesday night in a televised interview. His comments have generated a firestorm of complaints, while a few voices have noted that Wang might say the same of his own citizens. Talking about US criticism of China's human-rights record, Wang blamed overly simplistic media coverage and Americans’ lack of nuanced understanding.

“The United States is the world's number one superpower, and the American people, they're very simple people,” Wang reportedly told Charlie Rose. "If they're asked to choose to understand a foreign country, their first choice would be the European countries, and the South American countries may come second.”