From Chinese bloggers to European central bankers, the world watched the US government shutdown with a mixture of bewilderment and growing nervousness that any debt default could hit struggling economies.
In emerging superpower China, a one-party state where legislative deadlock holds little fear for the Communist rulers, the official Xinhua news agency said the situation had once again brought to the fore “the ugly side of partisan politics in Washington.”
“Though its immediate impact looks limited, the damage will multiply if the drama drags on for days or even weeks, arousing concerns over its spillover effect,” it said in a commentary, referring to the US economy.
While US visa and passport operations were unaffected, the crisis in Washington forced hundreds of thousands of federal workers to stay at home, closed museums and national parks and put much scientific research on hold.
One US researcher who travelled 30 hours to Perth in Australia for a science conference found himself barred from presenting his work on Parkinson’s disease. “It’s actually a federal offense if I do go ahead and give the talk or even continue attending the conference,” Michael Lazarou told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
“I had prepared for such a long time to come here and give this talk — all that effort and it goes to waste now.”