10/30/2020, 17.17
ASIA – CHINA
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Chinese dissidents, Uyghur exiles and Hong Kong activists back Trump

The US president is the preferred choice because of his hardline against China. Others argue that his anti-democratic positions tend to favour China. Only a few countries support Trump, but for a former US ambassador to China, Chinese leaders want Biden.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) – Chinese dissidents abroad, Xinjiang Uyghurs in exile and Hong Kong pro-democracy activists are largely hoping for Donald Trump’s victory in the next week’s US presidential elections, a recent article by Le Monde daily reveals.

Joseph Cheng, a political scientist at the City University of Hong Kong and a pro-democracy activist, told the French newspaper that the Chinese who fled to other countries think that the current US president will maintain a hardline position on China.

They see his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden, as a weak leader, too eager to negotiate with Beijing. For Cheng, this view overlooks the fact that the American perception of China has changed across the country’s ideological and political divide.

Meanwhile,  Jimmy Lai published an opinion piece last Sunday in his Hong Kong paper, the Apple Daily, openly backing Trump.

According to the Hong Kong Media magnate, persecuted by the authorities for his pro-democracy campaign, Trump is a statesman who wants to "change the way China behaves” whilst Biden will seek a compromise.

Kayum Masimov, a member of the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project in Ottawa (Canada), notes that Uyghurs also support Trump, and this despite his anti-Muslim views.

Masimov explains that for the Turkic-speaking group, oppressed in Xinjiang because of their religion, China is a "mafia" state run by gangsters who only know the language of force.

For some Chinese exiles, like lawyer and activist Teng Biao, anti-China Trump supporters have “misunderstood” who the US president is. Trump, he says, has "no interest in human rights or the democratisation of China.”

On the contrary, by threatening democracy and endangering the constitution of his country, the US president is denying universal values ​​and is providing dictatorships with a gift that keeps giving.

The pro-Trump camp remains in the minority. Only a few countries in the world support Trump; one of them is Taiwan.

According to a poll by the Taiwan Public Opinion Foundation released on Tuesday, 53 per cent of respondents want the real estate tycoon back as president; only 31.5 per cent hope for a Biden victory.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, anti-Trump sentiments prevail. A mid-October survey by YouGov of eight countries of this region found that whilst most Taiwanese prefer “The Donald” (42 per cent vs 30 per cent), most people in Hong Kong, Philippines, Thailand, Australia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore are against him.

Citing Max Baucus, US ambassador to Beijing from 2014 to 2017, the South China Morning Post suggests that Chinese leaders are divided over the US presidential elections.

Although they think that the Trump administration has weakened Washington's international standing, his unpredictability leads them to prefer Biden. Recently, the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center reached the same conclusion.

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