Chinese sound off on America’s loudest presidential hopeful

By Li Ruohan Source:Global Times Published: 2016-3-3 20:28:02

Ask 40 people in Beijing and you'll find only two or three have heard of Donald Trump. That was my experience late Thursday morning as I collected vox pops in China's capital about the US real estate tycoon who has become the most controversial figure in the 2016 presidential race.

During my survey, I interviewed workers, couriers, drivers, security guards, street vendors and other everyday people on the streets of central Chaoyang district, opening with the question, "Have you heard of Trump?"

While many simply referred to the current Republican front-runner as "that man," some added a detail or two, like "outspoken" and "dramatic facial expressions."

But some I interviewed the night before who keep an eye on US politics offered surprisingly diverse and insightful views on the contentious candidate.

Beijing city bus driver, surnamed Zhang

"The name is always in the newspaper, but I have no idea of who he is or what he looks like."
Tang Yu, physician at Cancer Hospital of Chinese Academy of Medical Science

"He knows how to use the media. He's very talented and resourceful in presenting himself as a successful, smart businessman. His offensive, stupid, and radical comments are probably part of his strategy, which to a certain degree has been working so far.

I am quite interested to see how he would implement some of his ideas, such as building a great wall along the US southern border to stop migrants from entering - an idea which is hard to understand or accept by people living in modern society.

I am also curious about his motivation for running since he is already a successful businessman, because his stated reason - to save his country stuck in hopeless situation - sounds absurd to me."  

Sun Wei, pilot for Tianjin Airlines

"I watched many of Trump's speeches, and his plain way of speaking is quite appealing and understandable to people living at the bottom of society, who might also be antipathetic to the elites represented by Hillary. Those people may vent their dissatisfaction for the status quo by supporting someone they find more down-to-earth.

… I sincerely hope Trump wins, which could bring the world more fun."

Zou Yaling, staff at an institution affiliated to the National Development and Reform Commission

"He is very dedicated and confident in his propositions but sometimes I feel he has a too big of an ego. It seems to me that he never disguises his love for money and beauty, and he's had many supermodel wives, as far as I know.

I don't love him, don't hate him, but I am really fond of his daughter Ivanka, who always appears elegant when in public, has a sharp brain and is gorgeous - very different from her father."


Xu Shengyu, employee at the Department of Commerce of Guangdong Province

"Trump has a very unique and special way of attracting voters: he is never politically correct, he refuses mainstream opinion, and has disastrous manners. But Trump speaks for the American blue collar worker. His strategy continues to find success among uneducated white people because he's unleashed their long-suppressed voices. Trump's coming is a surprise, but not a coincidence."

Yang Siqi, in-house interpreter with Chinese telecom company

"He is rich, has a weird hairstyle, a big mouth, and is not friendly toward China. Some of his bold and crazy statements wouldn't be heard coming from a decent or normal politician, like when he attacked a TV news host by saying she was having her period.

His campaign promises, especially the more extreme sounding ones, are unlikely to actually come through after he wins, which is also almost impossible." 

Qi Xin, retired executive at the Capital University of Economics and Business

"He's always rude and looks terrible in the news. I didn't expect him to get so far. Personally speaking, I preferred Jeb Bush, but he dropped out. But US citizens are the deciders, and they might see more from where they are standing." 

Fan Danni, headhunter with Career International Consulting in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province

"The reason why he probably stayed on The Apprentice is the thrill he got from saying 'You're fired.' That same thrill-seeking is probably what motivates his run for the US presidency."

Fruit vendor, surnamed Huang

"Trump for America? That'll be the end of the country. I will pray for the American people, and this time I am serious - God bless the US."

Newspaper headline: Who is Donald Trump?

Posted in: Politics

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