Speaking on AmCham-China, Carnegie's Paul Haenle explained that there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the U.S. elections from China. This is partly thanks to social media like Weibo, which facilitates comments and exchange on the U.S. election process, he said. Chinese youth in particular are gaining a relatively nuanced and educated view on the political system in the United States and its positives and drawbacks, something which Haenle noted as ”a very positive development”.

Part of this interest is generated by the role of China in the rhetoric of both candidates. However, Haenle reiterated that this primarily negative rhetoric is used to appease U.S. domestic concerns over the economy and manufacturing industries, not an indication of real policies that the candidates might adopt when if office.

The U.S. “Pivot to Asia” has also increased Chinese interest in the United States, added Haenle. Although the United States has had a presence in the Asia Pacific, which was significantly enhanced in the aftermath of WWII, the “Pivot” was used to make it clear to U.S. audiences that there would be a shift away from the Middle East and toward the more dynamic Asia-pacific region, he concluded.