Europe is consumed by the threat of imminent monetary fission. The Arab world is either embroiled in a revolution or recovering from one. And a black president in America is no longer a dreamlike possibility but a humdrum reality. It’s not hard to see why this U.S. election is capturing less attention than the last one almost everywhere on the planet… except China, where more than twice as many people are following election coverage as in 2008, according to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center.
This might be, in part, because access to the internet in China is now around double what it was in 2008. But according to Jonathan Pollack, an expert on U.S.-China relations at the Brookings Institution, increasing U.S. involvement with China—especially more diplomatic visits—has probably piqued the country’s interest in U.S. politics. “America, in a visible way, is back in the neighborhood,” says Pollack.