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Why China doesn't blame the trade war on Trump

The Trumps and the Xis during a tour of Beijing's Forbidden City Photo: Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images

Chinese workers and businesses are bracing for impact in the escalating trade war with the U.S., but they don’t tend to blame President Trump, according to David Rennie, the Economist’s Beijing bureau chief.

The bottom line: “Partly because they get their information from very, very strictly controlled Chinese state media, there isn’t a kind of anti-Trump wave that you see in so many other countries," Rennie explains on the Money Talks podcast. "The idea that an election in a place like America could change everything — that an insurgent outsider who kind of speaks to the interests of one part of the country, or one class of voter, could overthrow everything, could be a kind of revolutionary figure — that is very alien to the way that China likes to present politics.”

  • “This is probably the only country that is having a trade fight with Donald Trump which isn’t ascribing it, at the moment, in terms of a kind of America First populism.”
  • “The other thing is, taking on America and whipping up anti-American sentiment, that is a really quite high-risk maneuver for the Chinese government. So, for the moment, while the state media is criticizing Trump sharply and saying China will not be humiliated, that China will retaliate, there’s still a kind of more in sorrow than in anger tone to this.”