BACKDROP – From the outset the Trump administration displayed a very specific strategy where respect toward China’s leadership was coupled with visible praise for their business acumen and kind words toward the culture of the Chinese people.
While the surface impression of the relationship is geopolitical adversaries, President Trump has also positioned himself inwardly toward the Chinese people as a modern counter cultural figure not concerned with political correctness and not ashamed of his business success. This approach is intensely well received in the bamboo forest.
In a culture where the political and sociological influences have historically presented an outlook of affluence and influence as the measure of success, the image of unabashed and unapologetic opulent Trump represents the external personification of this perspective.
Quite simply, it becomes impossible for China’s control authority to ridicule a successful businessman -now influential politician- when they have been selling that image as an honorable goal for decades amid their own culture. The timing is remarkable in consequence.
Simultaneous to this impression, and in a very methodical plan to counter the expansive influence of China, President Trump has used the scale of the U.S. economy to create massive changes in geopolitical economic landscape.
While Trump’s Grandkids sing sweet Mandarin Chinese songs to Xi Jinping and Peng Liyaun (Xi’s wife and herself a cultural icon), he has simultaneously cultivated a powerful counter-leverage position with India’s Prime Minister Modi. In essence, President Trump has positioned himself -and as a consequence the United States- as a powerhouse to be courted by both sides.
India and China are direct and consequential economic adversaries. President Trump has maneuvered our own U.S. economic policy into the position where that competitive dynamic is now leverage for U.S. economic engagement, trade deals, national security and long-term interests.
It is not coincidental that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson first injected the term “Indo-Pacific” into the geopolitical lexicon of U.S. policy. It’s a brilliant strategy and paying huge dividends. Bigly.
Thus President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump travel to Beijing, the heart of the bamboo forest, for an official state visit with President Xi Jinping and Mrs. Peng Liyaun; the first lady of China and a massively influential woman within the larger culture, and the Panda peeps are really thrilled:
(Reuters) He may be a divisive figure back home, but U.S. President Donald Trump will be landing in friendly territory when he arrives in Beijing on Wednesday, judging by Chinese social media.
On platforms such as the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, Trump’s Chinese supporters, who admire his business success and a free-wheeling style unconstrained by political correctness, are far more prominent than detractors.
While no comprehensive survey has been done to assess the size and intensity of Trump’s popularity in China, several pundits suggest he has broad and vocal support.
“Chinese people are impressed that he is extremely rich, he loves things splendid and magnificent, and he loves to show off. Not every billionaire is like that,” said Yin Hao, who translates American news and comedy clips for his nearly one million followers on Weibo.
Yin said his translated Trump-related video clips sometimes attract thousands of comments, where some supporters engage in name-calling and invective in defending the president.
”They will keep posting comments to defend Trump, mock his opponents under all news clips that involve Trump, and rebuke any comments that are not in favor of Trump,” Yin said.
Chen Jibing, a Shanghai-based political commentator, said Trump’s Chinese fan base is different than that for previous foreign leaders such as his predecessor, Barack Obama, and for British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who enjoyed widespread but tepid support.
“Chinese Trump fans are seriously and truly invested, and you had better not make light of offending them,” Chen wrote in a social media post to his millions of followers.
[…] China’s ambassador to the United States, Cui Tiankai, said Trump will receive a “state visit-plus” experience in Beijing. He is expected to go to the Forbidden City and participate in an inspection of Chinese troops, though China has released few other details.
Trump’s popularity in China largely comes from his disdain for political correctness and defiance of traditional liberal western views, which many Chinese consider elitist and unrealistic, Chen said.
His criticism of the U.S. trade deficit with China, for example, is seen by many in the country as standard U.S. political talk, some pundits say.
“In China, realists hold a deep-rooted belief that the rule of the jungle means the strong prey on the weak,” Chen said. “For them, the world is not split into right and wrong, good or evil, it is only success or failure, the powerful and the weak.”
Factual errors or gaffes by Trump tend to be ignored by his Chinese fans or explained away as harmless mistakes made by a leader who writes his own rules.
In Japan on Monday, Trump told Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe that the Japanese economy was not performing as well as the United States’ and appeared to mistakenly say that Japan’s economy was the world’s second-largest. It is actually third, after China‘s.
An editor at a major state publication told Reuters was inclined to be forgiving about Trump’s remark to Abe: “He’s a free spirit. No one can tell him what to do.”
Many on Chinese social media see Trump as a figure of fun.
[…] In a country where parents are traditionally judged by the success of their children, Trump scores extra points for his daughter Ivanka, a businesswoman and currently advisor to President Trump, and her Mandarin-speaking children.
One Chinese state publication said that all five of Trump’s children are a testament to his character.
”You can tell what parents are like through their childrens’ success. Trump’s five children are all excellent, it means he is a very successful father,” the China Education Daily said on its social media account.
Ivanka Trump is sometimes referred to as “goddess” on Chinese social media, where some were upset that the first daughter would not be accompanying her father to Beijing.
“SAD! Ivanka is not coming to China,” said Jiang Xiaofeng, a journalist with Phoenix TV on Sina Weibo, appropriating one of Donald Trump’s favorite Twitter exclamations. (read more)
Panda peeps want Ivanka too, perhaps most of all, but even the smallest of details plays out in the dynamic POTUS Trump has assembled.