Anti-Jon Huntsman ad paints him as "Manchurian candidate"


US Ambassador to China Jon Huntsman (left) greets visitors at the opening of the US pavilion on the first day of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai on May 1, 2010. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

When did China become the personification of evil?

About when Republican presidential candidates started going after each other in earnest, if not before then.

Check out this latest ad, ostensibly endorsed by Ron Paul's campaign, though they have officially denied it.

The ad, which appeared on YouTube Thursday, takes on Jon Huntsman for his un-American "values." Huntsman's "values," it asks, are they American or Chinese?

The video suggests that Huntsman would be "weak" on China. What that means exactly, is anyone's guess. Though, it most certainly is diametrically opposed to Mitt Romney's sworn (trade) war against China.

Near the end of the video, the former US ambassador to China is pictured in Chairman Mao garb. Which is really awkward in addition to horribly offensive.

Huntsman, asked about the ad on Thursday evening, said that he thought it was "just stupid," though he did object to the images of his adopted daughters, who are from China and India, respectively.

Watch for yourself:

There are many levels on which this is absurd. Not the least of which, as GlobalPost's Beijing correspondent Kathleen McLaughlin reported, is that Hunstman cuts a controversial figure in China, where he served as ambassador under Obama.

“He is certainly not pro-China,” said Shi Yinhong, a professor of international relations at Renmin University in Beijing. “But he is not anti-China either despite his open criticism of China. In the meantime he is not against tackling the rise of China."

In fact, at a Republican presidential debate in November, Hunstman seemed to vocalize one of China’s persistent fears — that the US is behind conspiracies to undermine the Chinese regime.

Huntsman's comments:

We should be reaching out to our allies and constituencies within China. They're called the young people. They're called the internet generation … they are bringing about change, the likes of which is gonna take China down.

But Huntsman does speak Mandarin, or so he purports, and he served as ambassador to Singapore in addition to China. He was also a Mormon missionary in Taiwan.

He clearly knows a lot about the region, and that can't hurt the US' standing in Asia.

What could hurt is this video.

Let's hope nobody saw it in China.