China no stranger to US hypocrisy, analysts say

PUBLISHED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 11 March, 2011, 12:00am

Beijing has long seen through the hypocrisy of US politics and would not have been surprised by the leaked diplomatic cables detailing how two American Congressmen pleaded for officials to overlook the use of a toxic chemical in US-made medical equipment, analysts said yesterday.

'The United States is a pragmatic country, so they would put their own interest first,' said Jin Canrong, associate dean of Renmin University's School of International Relations. 'It is no surprise to China that [the US] adopts double standards when it comes to its own interest ... it's very normal.'

According to Reuters, the cables showed that the first time Mark Kirk, then a House Republican from Illinois, and Rick Larsen, a Democrat from Washington, spoke to Beijing about product safety, it was to admonish Vice-minister for Foreign Affairs He Yafei over scandals in 2007 involving Chinese exports that were found to contain toxins including lead.

The mainland came under international scrutiny after a series of food and product-safety scandals involving exported goods ranging from pet foods containing melamine to tainted toothpaste and substandard toys, aquatic products and tyres.

In 2007, Mattel, the world's largest toymaker, recalled 21 million Chinese-made products after some were found to have lead paint and others small magnets that could be swallowed. Beijing fought back, saying this was largely due to the company's faulty designs.

Shi Yinhong, director of the Centre for American Studies at Renmin University, said the leak should serve to remind the United States that it is not in a position to point accusing fingers.

'An incident like this could remind Americans that problems that happen in China also exist in the United States,' Shi said. 'Sometimes, the US needs to be aware of double standards ... I hope they could be fairer [in future].'

Analysts said China had long been aware of hypocrisy in US politics and saw no point in responding to some criticisms.

'So when they raise a complaint, we cannot take it too seriously,' said a Sino-US trade expert, who declined to be named due to strict media policies at his institution.