Presidential debate: A 3-point China primer for the second showdown


Military Museum of Chinese People's Revolution on March 1, 2008 in Beijing.


China Photos

The war in Afghanistan and Middle East security earned the lion's share of foreign policy discussion during last week's vice presidential debate. But as the presidential contenders prepare to face off Tuesday night and in a final debate next week, talk of the US relationship with another global superpower, China, deserves time in the spotlight.

More from GlobalPost: 6 foreign policy issues that should be discussed during the presidential debates (VIDEO)

GlobalPost's Ben Carlson has kept a close eye from Hong Kong on the candidates' policies toward China, with special emphasis on the as-yet untested positions of challenger Mitt Romney. We culled the GlobalPost archive for a few key pieces to prep you ahead of the discussion we hope we'll hear on China, either tonight at Hofstra or during next week's final chance in Florida.

1. The truth behind "China bashing"

Carlson dissects the "inconvenient truths" behind Obama and Romney's tough talk on China in an article published last week: US election: Kernels of truth in "China bashing."

Carlson has described both President Barack Obama and Romney as having used "China as a hammer to bash one another in the presidential campaign."

Both candidates have had harsh words for China, and their tough talk carries huge risks.

As GlobalPost writer Priyanka Boghani explained, "As a candidate, Romney has used China as 'a punching bag,' said The New York Times. He has accused the East Asian economic power of subsidizing its exports, holding down the value of its currency artificially and stealing American technology. During the first presidential debate, Romney said one of the elements of his five-point economic plan would be to 'crack down on China, if and when they cheat.'

Meanwhile, the Obama administration filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization doing exactly that. On Sept. 17, an Obama administration filing alleged that China was illegally subsidizing auto exports and undercutting American suppliers. The administration also persuaded Beijing to let the yuan rise, and filed more trade cases against China than the Bush administration, according to CNN Money."

But GlobalPost's Carlson notes that Romney has a uniquely personal stake in the success of some Chinese businesses.

2. Romney's China connection

"Mitt Romney's latest tax returns reveal substantial investments in several lucrative Chinese companies," Carlson wrote at the end of September. See the full article here: What Romney's tax returns say about his investments in Chinese companies.

3. A new proposal?

Looking for a total breakdown of the Republican plan for relations with the Middle Kingdom? Search no further: just check out our Romney-Ryan China cheat sheet.

GlobalPost correspondent Jean Mackenzie discusses foreign policy in the context of the election: