3 Reasons Chinese People Like Trump

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Like most of America, I was devastated on the morning of Wednesday, November 9th 2016.  The impossible happened.  The United States elected a KKK endorsed rapist to the most powerful position in this country.  As a minority, I was horrified; and as a woman, I was absolutely disgusted.

Ill with a hangover and still in a state of shock, I rolled over in bed and reached for my phone.  I had a slew of frustrated and hopeless texts from friends around the states.  My Facebook feed was awash in anger, denial and filled with dispute.  I opened my WeChat account to find…

“I saw that Trump won, Mary!  You must be so happy to have such a charming and charismatic president in office, right?”

What?  I had to do a double take.  Did my Chinese friend just describe Trump as a charming person?

“I don’t understand this election stuff much,” another Chinese friend texted.  “But looks like Trump is pretty good, right?  Better than Hillary, anyway.”

Oh my god.  What is going on!?

“Mary,” my boyfriend texted me yesterday. “My (Chinese) parents and all their Chinese friends (living in an extremely liberal state as U.S. citizens) voted for Trump.”

Although the hangover was fresh, I ran to the kitchen to find the closest bottle of wine I could.  This was just too much.

Chinese people, even those living in the states, endorse Trump.  My brain still can’t even compute it.


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Why Do Chinese People Like Trump?

My Japanese friends do not like Trump.  My Korean friends do not like Trump.  To hear my Chinese friends–really, any minority–endorse Trump is beyond me.  Still, I tried to stay rational and think it through.  What in god’s name motivated their decision?

According to a poll by a Chinese newspaper Global Times in March 2016, 54% of 3,300 mainland Chinese respondents said they supported a Trump presidency.  On Weibo (Chinese Twitter) there were 10 Trump fan groups with over 1,000 followers each, such as “Trump Fan Club,” “Trump Light of the World” and “Trump Commentary.”  Chinese people in the groups commented that the Republican party is “more sensible” and “cares more about business and trade than human rights.”

Meanwhile, the communist party smugly nods with a smile and comments: “[The] Trump phenomena shows the U.S. public is getting weary of party politics” and that “the democracy America advocates has boundaries.” 

So just what in god’s name made the Donald so popular in China?

  1. He’s a Businessman

Nothing speaks louder to the Chinese than money.  Many middle-class Chinese seeking wealth and riches look at Donald’s extravagant hotels and lavish lifestyle and are instantly sold.  To them, a man who knows business should be running the United States.  Sadly, money still reigns supreme in China.  In a place where an entire country and culture were decimated by an authoritarian regime, but later rescued through the power of money and economic revolution, it’s no wonder the citizens think that business is best in terms of politics.

Although many Chinese said they appreciated Trump’s focus on trade and economic development, they seemed to have missed the part about Trump’s pledge to slap 45% tariffs on all imports from China, which would cripple the U.S. and Chinese economy.  Plus, most of Trump’s businesses and investments resulted in bankruptcy and failure–but hey, why get into the nitty gritty?  He’s confident, wears a great suit and rich–good enough.

2.  Clinton Was “Anti-China”

Both Bill and Hillary Clinton heavily criticized China–and when I mean criticize China, I mean criticize their human rights record and lack of climate change reforms.  As Secretary of State, Clinton also pushed for a “pivot to Asia” alongside Obama as a means to further strengthen ties with the Asia Pacific in a changing world.

Apparently, Chinese people don’t like being criticized, and they don’t appreciate a “pivot,” either.  Many Chinese saw the “pivot” as “containment” and were discontent with her bossy attitude in telling Beijing to stop its expansionist behavior.  When it came to the South China Sea, they didn’t want to hear Hillary complain for another 4-8 years.

Chinese citizens wanted someone who was practical with money and didn’t make a fuss about silly things like, you know, freedom of speech and human rights.

Plus, social media in China was awash in ageism and sexism regarding  Hillary.  One Chinese (female) user commented:

“She is so old. Why can’t she go home and help raise children?”

Ouch.

I can understand their bitter sentiment toward the “pivot,” but in terms of human rights I’m simply baffled.  Isn’t that why Chinese people immigrate to the United States?  So they won’t get locked up for speaking their mind?  Some acquaintances in China even told me that people “disappeared” for selling the wrong stock at the wrong time.  Don’t they want to safely practice business and protect their assets?  And don’t the Chinese flock to the U.S. for cleaner air and a better environment?  Isn’t that exactly why Clinton and Obama pushed China into the Paris Climate Agreement?

Again, any criticism about China, even if it’s in the best interest of their people, is apparently bad.

3. Chinese Media Influence

Like Russia, when China knew that Trump had an actual shot at winning, they rolled with the punches and made him shine on TV.  Nothing would split the U.S. more or ruin the enticement of democracy like an angry America with Trump as president–and they wanted to make that happen.

“From a comprehensive view, it would make it easier for China to cope if Trump is elected. This is because under the policy line advocated by Obama and Clinton, the political and military frictions between China and the U.S. will be more frequent.”

Chinese Media and government backed commentators were sympathetic toward Trump.

And by god, it worked.


I Know, Not ALL Chinese People Feel This Way

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I have a lot of Chinese friends in China (like Z, god bless you) who was also stunned and shocked by a Trump presidency.  Many Chinese-American friends are also disappointed in the results.

In a country that has been void of elections or any independent political movements for more than 70 years, it makes sense that Chinese citizens are still… well, confused.  Chinese people just don’t understand how democracy works, and with a quick glance at their history and government, it’s easy to understand why.

However, the China response to Trump has made me wonder:

What would happen to China if they could actually vote for their leader?

For me, it’s a troubling thought indeed.

Sources:
Brookings Institute: “What do Chinese People Think of Hillary Clinton?”
Brookings Institute: “What Do Chinese People Think of Donald Trump?”
Asahi Newspaper: “Chinese State Media Signal Trump Preference”
Fortune: “Donald Trump is Oddly Popular in China”

17 thoughts on “3 Reasons Chinese People Like Trump

  1. autumnashbough says:

    Apparently, a lot of white people are also unsure of how democracy and the American constitution are supposed to work, also. *headdesk* *facefloor* *soullostsomewhereinthecenteroftheearth*

    • rubymary says:
      Profile photo of rubymary

      I think most people in almost every country doesn’t understand how their government works, and that goes for authoritarian regimes and democracies alike. My head is already on the desk, man. It’s been there since Wednesday, haha.

  2. Todd says:

    Thats a very complicated and subjective topic. I never really agreed with the “pivot to Asia” boxing in China approach; just pissed them off more with their ambitions. About 10 years ago, we didnt see such ambitions. Certian events (which I wont go into here) set that all into play, now they have been going hard at it. If Trump can restore relations and slow this down, then good on him. I think Obama fell down on his foriegn policy, middle east, pivot to Asia etc. He also got way too progressive for many in his 2nd term. It seems there was a certian segment of the US population that got sacrificed during all that, so they voted against him. Im not connected to it at the moment, but something obvisouly went wrong with the Dems plan. What we see now with people having fits etc is very immature and shows a side of their character thats disturbing. If you screwed up, admit it. The man won, and by law and the Constitution, he is your president. A bit concerned about his cabinet choices, but just have to see how that goes. One of the things I like about Trump is that he has allot of “skin in the game” and is connected. He knows first hand how Japan and other countries get over on the U.S. Whens the last time you have seen a U.S. company in Japan? Its hard to even find a product in Japan that says “made in the USA” Go into any dept store in the US and take your pick of “made in Japan” Its not that US products are inferior either, it has to do with trade policies and clever positioning by Japan. China and other countries are doing the same thing. Also another thing that I find weird; In Japan and other countries that so many praise for being great, if you overstay your visa by one day, you risk all kinds of penalities and deportation. They dont play. Compare that to the U.S., where people have come and have stayed for decades, with no documentation. I find that bizarre. If I did the same thing in Japan, I would expect immigration jail and deportation, and it would be “atarimae” no matter how hard I worked and tried to make Japan my “home” Am I a Trump supporter? Not really, Im just a realist. As for Trump and all his transgressions in his private life, Im sure once the honeymoon phase is over, the Dems and others will be in full attack mode to impeach etc. just like the Repubs did to Clinton during his transgressions, that just politics and wasting time etc.

  3. Todd says:

    “Both Bill and Hillary Clinton heavily criticized China–and when I mean criticize China, I mean criticize their human rights record and lack of climate change reforms”

    They did the same thing with Africa, and stalled on development and infrastructure investment. China came in and steamrolled all over that, now look who is running things there. The Chinese have completely exploited that paradigm to their advantage. Dem feel good” lets make the world in our image” only works at home, the rest of the world doesnt care

    • rubymary says:
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      It’s a fine line between economic prosperity and human rights… I know America likes to be the champion of justice, but there needs to be a limit. I can already see the slip of America’s mighty empire with this election, the growth of China (they are heavily invested in the Middle East and Africa), and an unpredictable Russia.

  4. Todd says:

    and last thing if I could add;
    Trump has mentioned how Dubai, Singapore Japan etc have world class airports and infrastructure. True, they do. Been there. Experienced it, seen it. Its wonderful. Now contrast that to Chicago, NYC airports etc. Ever had to endure that experience? Wheres the progress? But hey, theres a transgender bathroom. I think Obama was getting the cart before the horse. Also the Dems stratedgy was a joke. An alternative, Sanders, came along with the same drive as Trump. What did they do? Shut him down with other peoples money. Trump slaughtered every opponent on every stage, and used his own money to do it. At the end of the day, I think thats why he won. But people retalitated for what they did to Bernie by not voting, now they are protesting. Sorry, I cant process that logic.

    • rubymary says:
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      Basically, 60% of our tax money goes to the military, 20% goes to medicare and social security, and the remaining 20% goes to everything else. I feel like an insufficient amount of our tax money is put into infrastructure and education. U.S. airports, public transportation, roads… they all suck.

      Also, China and Japan pumped so much money into their infrastructure because that’s their half-assed way to keep the economy alive. That’s why you can literally go anywhere by train in Japan–they had to employ people during the oil shock (70s) and bubble burst (80s) somehow.

      I did like Sanders, but honestly, he was too socialist for modern day America. Implementing free healthcare and education sounds great, but there’s only one way to do that: have insane taxes like Europe or Canada. Americans would froth at the mouth if they had to pay taxes that high. Since I’m a socialist at heart, I would rather pay 50% of my income in taxes and know that healthcare/education/retirement was taken care of. But that’s just me.

      We’re doomed. I just can’t even think positively about the U.S. and Trump anymore. The more I hear on the news, the more I worry.

  5. errantmusings says:

    Really interesting and not that surprising on the China side. Also wondering what kind of candidate they’d vote for now, if they could.

    I kind of suspect one of my siblings of being a Trump supporter. *sobs* I think we’re all in the pit of despair around now.

    • rubymary says:
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      Oh god, you too!?! I met another Chinese girl recently (my age, lived in the US for 5 years) who is also a staunch Trump supporter… goodness. I just can’t even process these things. Trump trashes on China all the time and essentially wants to cripple trade between the two countries. What is wrong with the Chinese!?

  6. Zhou says:

    Yeah, well, they kinda admire Hitler too (while at the same time praising Jews) so their attitude towards Trump is par for the course. Now the second his administration imposes a trade tariff or labels them a currency manipulator, I’m sure those opinions will change. I used to visit China when Bush was in office and Chinese people would say terrible things about him (I totally agreed) and America (which pissed me off since they didn’t know what they were talking about). I’m going to miss the taxi rides with the where are you from question, followed by OBAMA GOOD! and a big thumbs up. Sadly, those days are gone now…

    And just remember that we survived 8 years of stalemate with Obama and a racist right wing, 8 years and two wars of Evil Dick Cheney and Bush, 8 years of the corporate sellout Clinton, A war from Bush 1, Almost a decade of greed is good, and even the war criminal Richard Nixon. We’ve lost jobs, the infrastructure is crumbling, a bunch of our rights are now meaningless – and yet we survive, Our country can survive 4 years of Trump (as long as he doesn’t nuke anyone).

    • rubymary says:
      Profile photo of rubymary

      Yeah, I’m going to miss Obama. I’m going to miss him a lot. He was such a noble and genuine president… a real rarity in this day and age. It’s appalling how many Americans dislike him or blame the country’s problems on him. People have already forgotten just how bad the recession was in 2008 and how he helped our economy recover. Bush was the one who put it there in the first place, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Trump pulls the same crap because of his motives to line the pockets of his cabinet members and himself. This Trump presidency is going to be so corrupt, I can’t even fathom it…

      Bush was, in my opinion, the worst president ever. He ruined Iraq and set the stage for Syria just because he wanted to kill Saddam Hussein and get some glory. Ugh, disgusting. I didn’t think we’d see a president worse than Bush Jr., but I think Trump might actually do it. I mean, his cabinet picks prove it (especially his pick for secretary of state, oh my god). It’s going to be a very scary 4 years.

  7. Todd says:

    Honestly, I dont think Russia, Japan or China ever respected Obama. Just look who Abe recently snubbed him and met ith Trump to kiss the ring. I never believed for one moment that any of them saw Obama as presidential due to racism and other engrained legacy sterotypes, and the reality of geo politics I believe the mischief created by a certian governer of Tokyo at the time over the senkaku islands was directly related to this fact, how he saw a window of oportunity and advanced his agenda, leading indirectly towards a pivot to asia and a militarization of the south china sea, and also how Russia challenged him over Ukaraine, etc, testing him and his weak resonse. I will agree that Obama will leave a good legacy, perhaps even a great one, that depends on Trumps performance or failures. I think, however Obama got carried away with ultra liberal policies and trying to change instutitions with social experiments and it upset allot of people; foriegn powers unconcerned with such, just swooped in to take advantage of the distraction as they could care less about the US domestic situation. He as also very uncharasmatic, blaming failure to get his policies passed, on congress. For congress, an individual who cannot win and control by charisma is any easy push over I guess two dichotomies were slowly building, a domestic upset of values (seems the US goes through this phase every 10 years or so) and a foriegn upset that started ith the Arab spring and Obamas failure to contain it. I too respect Obama very much, but I began to wonder if he was up to the task of being a leader in a world full of bullies and wolves, perhas better as the UN general secretary (an intellectual role vs charismatic one) In the end I think this is why he and the dems lost, an uncharismatic and unresonsive leadershi style and ignoring domestic indicators that things were going wrong.

  8. Lani says:

    I thought it was the comb-over!

    Right?

    Trump’s hair is too mysterious not to be comb-over.

    Or perhaps it is because in profile Trump looks like a dictator.

    🙂

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