Clinton's potential White House bid sparks negative press in China

Clinton's potential White House bid sparks negative press in China
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gestures during "A Conversation with Hillary Rodham Clinton" at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) in Manhattan, New York June 12, 2014.

Aloof, elitist and losing popularity - these negative descriptions of former United States secretary of state Hillary Clinton have emerged in Chinese state media against the unfavoured American figure in China.

The disparaging remarks followed the launch of Mrs Clinton's new memoir Hard Choices last Tuesday, widely seen to have unofficially kicked off her bid to be the Democratic nominee for the 2016 US presidential election.

A news analysis by the state- run Xinhua news agency three days later took a swipe at Mrs Clinton, saying that although "widely admired, the former first lady can also come off at times as being aloof and elitist".

The fresh wave of negative press includes articles attributing unflattering traits to her and questioning her chances of winning the election.

It reflects Beijing's rising anxieties over a potential US president whom it often sees as an unfair critic of China and an adversary keen to curb its rise.

From as far back as 1995, Mrs Clinton had already ruffled Chinese feathers. As first lady then, she spoke up for women's rights in a now historic speech at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, embarrassing the host country.

"It is time for us to say here in Beijing, and for the world to hear, that it is no longer acceptable to discuss women's rights as separate from human rights," she said.

Experts also point to her central role in President Barack Obama's pivot to Asia that began in 2011, seen by the Chinese as an attempt to contain China, as another reason why Beijing has not warmed to her.

She was seen as "hawkish" during her time as US state secretary from 2009 to 2013, which coincided with a period when Beijing was becoming increasingly assertive amid China's bitter territorial disputes with some of its US-allied neighbours like Japan and the Philippines, they add.

There are thus concerns that ties may worsen under her watch.

"On many occasions and on major issues such as the South China Sea disputes, control of Internet and human rights, her critical, tough comments have only raised tensions between China and the US," said Renmin University's Sino-US expert Shi Yinhong.

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