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A letter to U.S. Presidential Candidates before their third debate from a Chinese student in the US.

Reposted from gmail blog with original author's permission.

Dear President Obama and Governor Romney,

I am a Ph.D. student at Columbia University in New York and I am from China. I am also a blogger and write political reviews there. I wrote a review of your first debate, translated your second debate into Chinese, and posted them on my blog at a popular political forum in China. Thousands of people have read my blog and my posts. Heated discussions have been stirred along with other blogger’s posts.

Your debates have inspired our people and helped us understand how democracy works. Most people on the forum are intelligent and long for democracy. Although we are not US citizens, we admire the United States and its people very much.

We noticed that China have been mentioned about 20 times in your last debate. We have seen that trade with China has become a very important issue for the American economy. People from our forum have discussed this topic a lot too. We will welcome it if you would mention that trade issues with China are not just purely economic but also involve human rights issues, because so many Chinese workers are being paid so low and have to work under harsh conditions to make very cheap products. These cheap goods are hurting not just American workers but Chinese workers as well.

Although we cannot vote for you, we heartily feel that if you mention this issue in your third debate you will win the hearts and minds of many American voters. We believe that increasing the Chinese currency value is important, but Americans should also urge the Chinese government to increase Chinese workers’ wages and protect their working conditions and social welfare. We believe that you will gain both moral and economic standing from adopting this position. Morally, Americans care about human rights all over the world. American pressure has been effective to improve human rights in China. Chinese workers who labor under inhuman working conditions need this attention from you. People all over the world will be proud of you if you mention this issue in the debate.

In terms of the economic issues, urging that Chinese workers be paid higher wages and get better working conditions will allow for fairer trade of Chinese products with those made in America. Also, once Chinese workers’ wages increase, these workers, mostly young people, will consume more, especially American products, such as the I-phone, I-pad, I-pod or American clothes, bags, perfume, etc., because young people love them. They will send money back home to their villages and their family’s income level will increase, allowing them also to raise consumption. Many villages will become cities and China will need more urban engineers, new materials, and energy efficient technology from outside. The end result will be a boom in U.S. Job creation and exports to China. American businesses will profit from the new opportunities.

We do not think that the Chinese government should oppose improved working conditions for their workers. In the debate you can tell both American voters and the Chinese government that everyone gains from such a policy. Increased domestic consumption is sorely needed at this time for the Chinese economy to keep growing. China cannot base its future economy on cheap labor, it needs to promote innovation and develop high-technology industries. The Chinese government realizes this and should support improving working conditions for its workers. We believe this is the only way for a rising China to find its place in tomorrow’s world.

We care about China and we admire America. We believe a democratic China will be the best friend to America. Eliminating sweatshops, raising wages and improving working conditions in China will benefit both China and America. If you mention it in your debate, we believe you will gain a lot of good will among voters.

We are eagerly anticipating your third debate. We wish you good luck.

Helena Wind

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Comment Preferences

  •  Excellent point. It not clear, however, how much (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    control US government has over this issue. After all, e.g. EU doesn't have any influence over minimum wage in US.

    •  Not comparable (0+ / 0-)

      First, Europe is not outsourcing its manufacturing to the US. Second, US workers already has their voice in the unions and (hopefully) the Democratic party. Not so in China. Chinese workers need our moral support. More importantly, improving human rights in China is good also for the Chinese government. Our leverage is not only with the US companies investing in China, but also with the Chinese government itself.

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