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“Chinese threat” is part of the global political agenda

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It’s not just the economy. Although inflation and recession fears are on the minds of voters, there is another issue that has cropped up in political campaigns since United Kingdom and Australia to USA and other parts of the world: the “Chinese threat”.

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The two finalists bidding to become Britain’s next prime minister, Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak, debated in front of television cameras last month over who would be tougher on China.

It is a marked departure from the posture “sinophile” of outgoing Prime Minister Boris Johnson and part of an increasingly harsh rhetoric against China in many Western countries and other democracies, such as Japan, that is emerging during election campaigns.

For years, countries have tried to balance their push for trade and investment with the world’s second-largest economy and concerns about China’s military might, espionage and human rights record.

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The pendulum swings towards the latter, as put by the United States, Europe and Japan’s rejection of China’s military maneuvers after US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi visited Taiwan last week, as well as the growing threats that issued by US intelligence agencies about espionage and interference by Beijing.

A delegation of US lawmakers arrived in Taiwan on Sunday to discuss easing tensions across the Taiwan Strait and investing in semiconductors, among other issues.

That shift has made China a target of vote-seeking politicians at a time when opinion polls show that popular sentiment in many democracies is turning its back on China. Some candidates blame China for economic problems in their countries as well as posing a security threat to their neighbors and the world.

China played a major role in the Australian election in May, in which the eventual losing Conservatives tried to cast the opposition as a faction unwilling to take on Beijing.

America’s growing rival on the world stage is also set to appear in U.S. legislative races, particularly in the country’s north-central industrial states, after former President Donald Trump embraced a tough stance against Beijing.

Many in Europe are also reconsidering their stance on China, even though it was not a major issue in this year’s elections in France or in Germany’s in 2021.

Source: Gestion

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