"Western businesses criticized the policies as protectionist . . ."
So? Sovereign nations are ALLOWED to be protectionist. And that's not inherently a bad thing. "Protectionism" means that you are protecting your own national interests, which would seem to be the very point of having a government in the first place.
This is coming in the midst of the TPP shambles where the US is actively trying to weaken the ability of sovereign nations to set their own trade rules in order to benefit their corporations. There is, therefore, a small, vindictive, pleasure in seeing an even more powerful nation (so far as being a desirable market they want access to) simply refuse to allow a similar weakening of their own sovereignty and instead make the US jump through hoops.
But this actually shows the real problem with the US and their ideological exaltation of 'free trade'. Their bullying way of doing things has seen them continually push through agreements that end up benefiting their corporations over those of the less-powerful nations they strike their deals with.
Against China, they simply can't do this, but their corporations are able to setup show in China anyway. So what you have is, instead of goods manufactured in the US - supporting US workers, who pay US taxes and loan money from US banks and buy food and goods from US stores - and then exporting them to China, what you have is US corporations setting up shop over there and producing locally. (Paying Chinese workers, etc...)
There are many US brands in China but most of of that product does not come from US factories! They are exporting US knowledge to China by dint of them operating there, thus reducing any competitive advantage they might have had if they manufactured on home soil.
Even more than that, however, because these corporations are setup in China, much of their manufacturing is done there as it is so much faster and often cheaper, thus reducing the manufacturing capability of the US. Apple might be a great US success story and poster child for US know-how and technical excellence but every iPad and iPhone bought by Americans (and everyone else) is imported from China and comes brim-full of technology sourced and manufactured in Asia.
What the US (like Australia) does export to China is raw materials like iron ore, wheat, coal and surprisingly, soybeans (for pig feed). Also, like Australia, they tend to export lower-value un-processed versions of the above which then gets processed after shipping. Iron is a big one - the steel itself is manufactured in China.
In fact, the top two US exports to China last year were soybeans and scrap (fe, al, cu + paper) - which are raw materials, whereas the top two exports from China to the US were computer and communications equipment - high-value, finished goods.
Indeed, the 2012 trade deficit with China in 'high-tech' equipment was $119bn (overall deficit to China was $318bn).
Free from the ideological tunnel vision of 'free trade' and unencumbered by the corporate corruption that runs rife in the US, what motivation is there for China to make it easy for US companies sell to them?
It seems that the US's response is to sob: "it's not fair - they won't play by our rules like everyone else!"
Boo hoo - I guess 'free trade' only works when you you get your own way all the time. Nice to know the US has at least some idea of how their one-sided 'partnerships' feel to the rest of us.