Yesterday the Washington Post reported that when president-elect Barack Obama enters the White House next year, he will have to contend with a new foreign-relations dynamic between the United States and China that is more focused on economics than on human rights. The article states that "China now owns over half-a-trillion dollars in U.S. government bonds, more than any other country, and Washington needs Beijing to continue buying them to help finance the national debt and the $700 billion financial industry bailout."
The Post's report is timely when you consider that the U.S.-China Economic and Security Commission released its 2008 Report to Congress on November 20. If you're unsure whether you want to dive into this entire 405-page PDF, you can read the Commission's press release first. It summarizes China's economic policies as follows: "China relies on heavy-handed government control over its economy to maintain an export advantage over other countries. The result: China has amassed nearly $2 trillion in foreign exchange and has increasingly used its hoard to manipulate currency trading and diplomatic relations with other nations."
For further resources, see our online guides to China and Trade.