China's state-run media has begun a campaign to assure netizens that Hillary Clinton is no threat to Sino-American relations. China’s jingoist newspaper the Global Times published an article Wednesday downplaying the notion that a Clinton presidency would bode ill for China -- after her campaign announcement Sunday garnered thousands of comments online expressing disdain for the 2016 U.S. presidential candidate.
“If she came to power, U.S.-China relations would be jeopardized,” one commenter wrote on a Weibo post about Clinton’s bid. “We’re really going to fight if she’s elected,” another chimed in. “She’s anti-China.”
In what seemed to be a response to public concern, the Global Times said that Clinton’s past tough talk on China is nothing for citizens to worry about. “Clinton’s abundant experiences in working with China enable her to have a comprehensive understanding of the complexity of the relationship between the two largest economies in the world and China’s importance to the U.S.,” the report said. “This can be seen in her memoir, in which she shows straightforward dislike on many international issues but refrains from being too blunt on China.”
The report admits that as China continues to grow as a military and economic power, Clinton would likely push back.
“With China’s rise, Clinton will likely play a tougher card than [President Barack] Obama if she is elected president, but she will take on a flexible attitude to adjust her China policy according to international situation and keep the most important bilateral relationship on the track of both cooperation and completion.”
Still, the report insists that under Clinton, “no dramatic changes would happen in China-U.S. relations.”
A flood of online vitriol toward Clinton began immediately after she announced her candidacy, with many Chinese criticizing some of the decisions she made as secretary of state from 2007-2013, where she backed U.S. military efforts in the Asia-Pacific region. American military presence in the South China Sea and East China Sea supporting military allies like Japan and the Philippines has angered China, which insists that territorial disputes be handled strictly by countries involved. Growing tension in the Asia-Pacific region has become one of China’s primary issues, and continues to be a matter of contention between China and the U.S.