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China envoy: U.S. dirty politics shown in House of Cards

The show’s story of bipartisan competition and corruption largely mirrored recent affairs, Beijing's ambassador to the U.S. recently said

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The popular political drama House of Cards exposes the disadvantages of American bipartisan politics, China’s ambassador to the United States said last week.

“I have seen both seasons of House of Cards, which I think embodies some of the characteristics and corruption that is present in American politics,” said Cui Tiankai, told a panel on the sidelines of a central party conference this week, the South China Morning Post reported.

Tiankai, who studied in Washington, DC – the setting of House of Card’s intricate political machinations – added that the show’s story of bipartisan competition and corruption largely mirrored recent, real-life, affairs.

“Currently, Americans are arguing and debating on how their two political parties have become so extreme,” Cui said. “Many things can never be accomplished because the interests of each party are of the greatest importance.”

Ardent fans

Kurt Campbell, a former assistant U.S. secretary of state for east Asian and Pacific affairs,wrote last week in a column for the UK-based Financial Times that China’s leaders commonly indulge in Western films and series and that Wang Qishan, the former vice-premier of finance and powerful standing committee member, is an ardent House of Cards fan– reportedly telling aides to check the release date for the second series.

“What lies behind this fascination with political intrigue?” wrote Campbell. “It is possible that the Chinese view the portrayal of politics in House of Cards as quintessentially American – perhaps even an accurate depiction of the workings of U.S. government,” he added.

The show, in which Hollywood star Kevin Spacey plays a powerful politician ruthlessly scheming his way to Washington’s highest offices, also enjoys a wide popularity in the Middle East.

Its first season, released in 2013 by online video streaming site Netflix, ranked “among the top 10 series shown between April and June [of 2013],” on Middle East-based pay TV network OSN, a spokesperson for the firm told Al Arabiya News in February.