At the Chinese Foreign Ministry's regular press conference last week, spokesperson Liu Weimin's revealed that Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was awarded "the Best Friend of American Worker" by the US International Longshoremen's Association. The Chinese ambassador to the United States reportedly received the award on his behalf. Liu explained:
It is learned that this year marks the 10th anniversary of the cooperation between China Cosco Group and the US port of Boston. The past decade has witnessed sound cooperation between the two sides, which sustains and creates a large amount of job opportunities for Boston. It reflects the mutually beneficial nature of China-US economic cooperation and trade. The award presented by the US International Longshoremen's Association to Premier Wen Jiabao is to thank the Chinese Government for its efforts to encourage Chinese enterprises' investment in the US and to promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade. This gratitude is sincere and heartfelt. Premier Wen Jiabao visited the Port of Boston during his visit to the US in 2003.
The International Longshoremen's Association, an AFL-CIO affiliate, has not publicized the award. It is not mentioned on the ILA website, nor has it been reported in the American main-stream press. The Longshoremen did not return a request for comment.
The Chinese-government-backed China Daily, however, in an anti-GOP article, reported on the award and recognized the diplomatic relationship between the union and the Chinese government:
When Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked China's trade practices recently, he probably didn't expect that the Chinese premier he met in 2003 – when Romney praised trade between the two countries – would later be granted the "Best Friend of American Worker" award.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao was given the award on Friday in Boston by the International Longshoremen's Association in appreciation of China's strong support of job growth for US workers. …
ILA Vice-President William McNamara said that his association was honored to give Wen the award and thanked China for its great contributions in creating more job opportunities for US workers. …
Chinese Ambassador to the US Zhang Yesui received the award on behalf of the Chinese premier, and said that it represents a unique recognition of Wen's support of the COSCO-Massport (the Massachusetts Port Authority of the US) partnership, which reflects the win-win nature of China-US business relations. …
Amid stubbornly high unemployment and a persistent economic recession, the GOP presidential candidates have often assailed China's intellectual property and currency policies as they seek to convince voters they can create jobs and turn the economy around.
On Tuesday, the AFL-CIO, of which the Longshoremen Association is an affiliate, endorsed President Obama for reelection.
Unions plan to spend $400 million in the upcoming campaign season, according to the New York Times.