Obama must be seriously worried by the latest polls, which show Romney closing the gap – and in one case, surpassing the President – on the back of his strong debate performance. Yesterday, the Obama campaign jumped on news that the US House Intelligence Committee has recommended that Americans avoid doing business with Chinese tech manufacturer Huawei because of alleged espionage links. The campaign published an attack video to YouTube that awkwardly tries to link Romney to Huawei, which is cartoonishly cast as a sort of ominous spy villain.
It’s an ugly case of brutally stupidified campaign politics in which the Obama campaign is using the complicated Huawei case in an attempt to score easy populist points among the fear-China set.
Meanwhile, in China, netizens see the anti-Huawei report as a case of quality Chinese technology being denied a foothold in protectionist America. TechInAsia has dug up one Sina Weibo post that has been retweeted hundreds of times and is representative of the kind of sentiment about what is effectively a block to Huawei’s expansion plans in the US. It frames the action against Huawei as anti-competitive, with the US supposedly threatened by high-value technology from China. The product manager wrote:
Large airplanes, high speed rail, cars, organic medicines, and telecommunications are high-value products, and thus fields that Europe and the US definitely don’t want to allow China to develop. When any Chinese product [in these fields] comes out they will find an agent to manufacture [negative] public opinion, make the problem seem bigger until [the Chinese product] is strangled. There are also many [in China] who make money off the sales of foreign products, so they’ll stand on the front lines of the fight to smother Chinese products. This is the reason that the high-speed rail crash was made into a big deal.
This line of argument is similar to the tack taken by Huawei’s response to the report, in which the company compared itself to a Silicon Valley startup.
But then, as TechInAsia’s Charlie Custer notes: