Chinese Press Cautiously Approves of Huntsman

He's 'no panda-hugger,' but he does speak Chinese
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 18, 2009 2:01 PM CDT
President Obama announces the nomination of Utah governor Jon Huntsman, right, as US ambassador to China on Saturday.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – After President Obama nominated Utah’s Republican Gov. Jon Huntsman Jr as his ambassador to China, New Yorker correspondent Evan Osnos takes the pulse of the Chinese press. He found three matters of note:

  • The press approved Obama’s personal announcement of Huntsman’s new post: It shows Obama takes the job “seriously,” even if Huntsman’s not a close personal friend, as his predecessor was to President Bush.

  • Some are calling Huntsman a “hardliner,” citing a Georgetown prof who said he “is no ‘panda-hugger.’” “This seems like an effort by the Chinese press to make sense of the across-the-aisle pick rather than genuine concern about Huntsman’s leanings,” Osnos writes.
  • The Chinese like that Huntsman says he speaks Chinese—but it remains to be seen whether the press will pick up on Huntsman’s Chinese name, from when he was a missionary.