BEIJING - Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is playing the "China-bashing card" in an attempt to rescue his falling poll numbers, but he has no real ideas to resolve the two nations' differences, China's official news agency said Tuesday.
Responding to a speech Monday in which the candidate accused China of breaking trade rules "in every way imaginable," Xinhua said such "inflammatory" rhetoric was meant to appeal to blue-collar Midwestern voters. It called the remarks dangerous and said they offered nothing of substance to improve bilateral relations.
Trump "played the China-bashing card once again in his latest attempt to rectify his falling popularity," Xinhua said in an editorial.
Trump accused China of illegally subsidizing exports, manipulating its currency and stealing intellectual property, all recurring themes in his campaign. His criticism has focused almost exclusively on trade practices, with few mentions of China's authoritarian political system or human rights abuses.
"At the center of my plan is trade enforcement with China. This alone could return millions of jobs into our country," Trump said in the speech that focused on economic policy.
Xinhua said Trump had not only betrayed traditional Republican support for free trade but also ignored the importance of China to his own business. Trump has claimed to have done major deals with Chinese customers, but he has given few specifics. Items in his Trump-branded clothing line have been produced in China.
"China-bashing is a recurring theme every four years, and by now it's become quite dull," Xinhua said. "Let's hope the next time around that future presidential (contenders) have something more substantial to say about America's relationship with China. U.S. voters deserve better."