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Pelosi advance has China anxious about US relations

BEIJING -- China is uneasily anticipating a bumpy road in relations with the United States now that the Democrats' victory in midterm elections has placed one of Beijing's most ardent critics in charge of the House of Representatives.

Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi climbed the Democratic Party ranks in Congress faulting China for its human rights abuses. She opposed awarding China normal trading relations throughout the 1990s and giving Beijing the 2008 Olympics, seeking to deny the country apparent US approval for its behavior.

With the 66-year-old Pelosi now in a more powerful public pulpit, China is expecting more critical treatment.

"This old woman has a great bias against China, possibly creating some static in China-US relations," Jin Canrong, an America watcher at Renmin University in Beijing, said in a report posted Wednesday on Sina.com, one of China's most popular Internet portals.

Major changes in US policy toward China are not likely to be made, said observers, Jin included.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry, in the government's first public reaction, called on Congress to "play a constructive role in promoting our relations."

Though wary of each other, the administrations of President Bush and President Hu Jintao have learned to manage the relationship, emphasizing areas where they can cooperate, such as North Korea, while keeping disagreements, such as Beijing's ballooning trade surplus, from spoiling overall ties.

Pelosi and her rise personify a shift in tone, analysts and Chinese media said, bringing to the fore issues Beijing dislikes to air publicly: China's human and labor rights abuses, its trade and currency policies, and its efforts to befriend governments like Iran and Zimbabwe that Washington is at odds with.

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