China found itself the focus of unwanted attention during the first presidential debate Monday, with Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump accusing Beijing of stealing American jobs and failing to do enough to tackle the rising nuclear threat in North Korea.
During the debate, China was mentioned a dozen times, and most of those mentions came from Trump.
In his opening remarks, Trump blamed China for having manipulated its currency to gain trade competitiveness.
“They’re using our country as a piggy bank to rebuild China,” he said, adding, “They’re the best, the best ever at it [currency devaluation].”
He also accused China and other countries of stealing American jobs.
The accusation about stealing jobs is not new, but following the debate in China, there were many online and on the streets who disagreed, even those who feel he is the better candidate.
“China is strong [economically], but that is fleeting, haven’t all the jobs gone to Southeast Asia and India? ” asked Jana, a designer in Beijing who admires Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s campaign style and ability to brand herself.
“Labor used to be cheap in China, but now it is getting more and more expensive,” she added. “Many factories have had to shut down and are shifting their operations elsewhere.”
Lucy, who works in the financial sector, said she thinks Trump is a better choice than Clinton, but disagreed with his take on jobs.
“Every country struggles with the problem of unemployment,” she said. “It is not like the global economy is lopsided and governments do not have the ability to make adjustments because of pressure certain countries put on employment.”