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Chinese Seem Blase Toward U.S. Election

LOUISA LIM: This is Louisa Lim in Shanghai. Even here in China, Obama was the people's choice. Opinion polls indicated two-thirds of Chinese people favored Obama, believing his racial background would give him a more international outlook. However, few Chinese are present at this American bar where experts are watching the results. One local is architect Eva Wang(ph) who's surprised at the general lack of interest in the election.

LIM: I think the Chinese people are more concerned about the U.S. economy or the market crash than the president's election.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE CHANTING "YES, WE DID")

LIM: Wild celebrations break out with the results. Officially, Chinese President Hu Jintao says he hopes bilateral ties will reach a new high. But Anthony Zhao(ph), a Shanghai chef married to an American, says Beijing traditionally prefers dealing with Republicans.

LIM: (Foreign language spoken)

LIM: The Chinese government doesn't really like Obama, he says. Obama will put more pressure on Beijing on trade, human rights, and other issues. Major policy changes are unlikely, but frictions may emerge. Most ominously for Beijing, Obama has accused China of manipulating its currency. Wu Xinbo from the American Study Center at Fudan University.

P: That may lead to a possible trade war between two countries. But at this moment, I would view it more as kind of campaign rhetoric rather than possible policy instrument. I don't think he would be so reckless.

LIM: On the streets of Shanghai, many believe China now has more leverage on economic matters given its huge holding of U.S. debt. So they're hoping the next U.S. administration may not want to provoke China. Louisa Lim, NPR News, Shanghai. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Louisa Lim
Beijing Correspondent Louisa Lim is currently attending the University of Michigan as a Knight-Wallace Fellow. She will return to her regular role in 2014.