12:16 GMT +318 November 2019
Listen Live
    In this Sept. 16, 2016, photo, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally at the James L. Knight Center in Miami.

    Chinese Americans Believe in Trump's Promise to Restore Law, Order

    © AP Photo / Evan Vucci
    Get short URL
    2016 US Presidential Election (161)

    Republican nominee Donald Trump has promised a 45-percent tariff on all Chinese goods, calling the US' trade deficit with China a "rape," and pledged to fight against intellectual property theft in China. Yet that has not stopped thousands of Chinese Americans from supporting Trump for the next presidency.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — With just a few days remaining until the November 8 presidential election, Trump is narrowing the gap with Clinton, according to the latest opinion polls. According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Monday, Clinton held a five-percentage-point lead over Trump, though some other polls saw the Republican candidate ahead by 1-2 percentage points.

    Why Chinese Americans Support Trump

    During the first TV debates with his Democratic rival Hilary Clinton, Trump promised to tackle crime and bring back law and order, crack down on Muslim extremism and put an end to controversial police tactic known as Stop and Frisk, that has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in New York as it mostly targeted black and Hispanic young men.

    "Mr. Trump's message on law and order is definitely one of the main reasons why we support him. But there are many other reasons," Mark Ma, the chief of staff of the Chinese Americans for Trump movement, an informal group made up mainly of Chinese Americans from across the United States, told Sputnik ahead of the US presidential elections.

    Donald Trump has never been on friendly terms with China when it comes to trade. During his election campaign, he called China a currency manipulator and proposed a 45-percent tariff on imports from China to compensate for the devalued currency.

    "We can't continue to allow China to rape our country, and that's what they're doing," Trump said in July 2016, addressing the issue of US-China trade imbalance. He has also pledged to fight harder against intellectual property theft in China and to force Chinese companies to follow US environmental and labor standards.

    However, Trump's promise to exit the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty was welcomed among Chinese, both in China and the US.

    "Chinese Americans are Americans first and foremost. We want what is best for America… Mr. Trump is a businessman. In order to make a business deal, you need both parties to agree. We believe Mr. Trump is used to seeing things from the other side's perspective and coming up with mutually beneficial solutions… We believe with his frank and honest style of communication, fair trade with China is achievable," Mark Ma explained.

    Ma added that despite Trump's intentions to be tougher on trade, he "has made it clear that he does not seek a military confrontation with China."

    On security issues, concerning either Asia or Europe, Donald Trump had taken a clear isolationist approach. He said, for instance, that US' allies in East Asia, namely Japan and South Korea, would have to take greater financial responsibility for military projects that currently receive large amounts of American funding. This was a clear reference to an advanced US missile defense system called THAAD that costs an estimated $800 million and is preparing to be installed in South Korea.

    Why Not Clinton?

    "Hillary Clinton represents the old Washington where money can buy influence, where gridlock is the norm, and where taxpayer dollars are wasted. The national debt almost doubled under Obama, while household income of average Americans fell and health insurance costs skyrocketed. Americans cannot afford to have more of the same," Mark Ma said.

    According to him, the Chinese Americans for Trump movement, which unites the Chinese from all religions, had tree main grievances with the Democrats' agenda under President Barack Obama which, they fear, may be continued under Clinton. The first one is "excessive political correctness", that doesn't allow the ruling elite to call Islamic extremism for what it is.

    Democrats' "over-pandering to illegal immigration" also angered some Chinese Americans. While the Democrats want to grant unconditional amnesty to all illegal immigrants, their family members are still waiting, sometimes for more than 10 years, for their turn to enter the US lawfully.

    "After Obama issued the executive order to forbid deportation of underage illegal immigrants, we saw the number of unaccompanied minors from Latin American illegally crossing the border more than double," Mark Ma complained.

    Another measure, which caused an outcry from the Chinese community in the United States and made them support Trump, according to Mark Ma, is Obama's initiative to introduce a so-called Affirmative Action. A quota system based on skin color and aimed at making companies and universities fully representative of the US public, will in practice allow more people from underprivileged backgrounds to get a place in universities.

    American-born-Chinese, well-known for their hard-working, dubbed this measure racist and argued that it may unfairly penalize their efforts to be accepted to a college, even if they have higher grades than their Latin American fellows.

    China's View

    As the communist China does not have a political tradition of conducting opinion polls and its leaders rarely make loud political statements on other politicians, it is much up for guessing, which US candidate the official China prefers.

    In May, China’s official Xinhua news agency described Hilary Clinton as an “old foreign policy hand” and important backer of the Asia-Pacific “pivot” that China considers a threat.

    Many recent political commentaries in the Chinese press remind that Clinton previously publicly condemned country’s record on human rights, its political system and online censorship and accused Beijing of hacking US computers and stealing commercial secrets. In 2010, as a Secretary of State, Clinton outraged Beijing after pushing the South China Sea to the top of the regional and US security agendas and expressing support for the countries that have territorial disputes in the sea with China.

    In a recent poll, carried out by the Global Times, party-run English-language newspaper, asking readers if they would vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, 54 percent of respondents said they would support Trump.

    If judging by the tone of commentaries on the US elections in the Chinese official newspapers as well as social media, given the background of Clinton's well-recorded anti-China stance, Trumps looks like a lesser of two evils.

    The Chinese people know well that promises are not always fulfilled. In 1980, candidate Ronald Reagan criticized President Jimmy Carter for formally recognizing China and promised to renew "official relations" with Taiwan, but later disavowed this position. And during the last presidential elections,  Republican candidate Mitt Romney also promised to label China a "currency manipulator" on his first day as president and impose tariff penalties on the US leading trade partner — just as Trump does now.

    Former president of the US National Foreign Trade Council William Reinsch told Sputnik that a choice between Trump and Clinton for China's officials seems to be more of a choice between predictability and uncertainty.

    "On the one hand, I think they [Chinese leaders] see Clinton as a tough adversary who has been critical of them in the past on human rights and other issues. On the other hand, I think they see Trump as an unpredictable and relatively uninformed candidate whose actions as president would be harder to predict. When faced with such a choice, governments tend to prefer predictability over uncertainty, even if they don’t particularly like the predictable choice. At least they will know what they’re getting," Reinsch, now a fellow at the Stimson Center, suggested.

    2016 US Presidential Election (161)


    China & US Elections: Trump May Start a Trade War, But Clinton Could Begin WWIII
    Philippines' Pivots to China, Russia Due to US Growing Increasingly Weak - Trump
    Trump, Clinton Economic Advisors Say Time for US to Get ‘Tough’ on China
    Donald Trump, China, United States
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik