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US impeachment of Trump fuels Chinese interest

2019-11-04

Source: Global Times    Published: 2019-11-2


The Chinese public has shown tremendous interest in the US Congress' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump as the proceedings took a remarkable turn on Thursday, with many viewing the dramatic episode as just pure entertainment, while others see it through the perspective of how it will impact trade negotiations between China and the US.



However, for many, the impeachment process and underlying bitter, messy reality of the US political system offers a valuable lesson on the importance of political stability and national unity and a stark reminder that China must stick to its own system of socialism with Chinese characteristics.


In a critical vote on Thursday (US time), the US House of Representatives approved a resolution that formalizes the procedures of the inquiry, paving the way for more public and bitter fights between the two main US political parties for weeks and months to come.


The House, where the Democrats form the majority, launched the inquiry over a month ago to determine whether Trump had pressured Ukraine to investigate former US Vice President Joe Biden and his son for his personal political gain. Trump has called the impeachment a "witch hunt."


Great show


News of the move drew considerable interest in China on Friday, where the topic became one of the most read and discussed on Sina Weibo and other popular social media platforms. On Sina Weibo, the topic received over 230 million views  and more than 13,000 comments as of  press time.


Many expressed curiosity over what the step meant and what would happen to Trump. Some netizens said they were expecting a "great show" and a "beautiful sight" - a phrase used by US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in describing riots in Hong Kong - as they are "desperately waiting" for Trump to fight back.


Surprisingly, many voiced support for Trump, though apparently out of mockery as they use a popular nickname for Trump - "Chuan Jianguo," which literally means "Trump builds China" - to suggest that the US President's tough policies will only make China stronger instead of containing China.


"Hang on tight, comrade Chuan Jianguo," one wrote on Sina Weibo. "Without you, China will not develop so fast." Some argued that compared to Pelosi and former US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who have been backing rioters in Hong Kong, Trump "was not too bad."


Chinese netizens show support for Trump partly because they feel Trump is comparatively better to deal with than other US politicians. They think Trump is still willing to strike a deal with China while other politicians only want to fight China to a mutually destructive end, Liu Weidong, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Institute of American Studies, told the Global Times on Friday.


Liu added that some Chinese netizens liked Trump personally for his straight and outspoken manner as Trump is always blunt.


But beyond the mockery, many have started to assess how the complicated and potentially prolonged proceedings will affect the ongoing trade consultations between China and the US, as they appear to move toward an interim agreement soon.


The impeachment inquiry may become a driving force which will push Trump to accelerate his pace to reach the first phase of a trade deal with China, Diao Daming, an associate professor at the Renmin University of China in Beijing, told the Global Times on Friday.


While the impeachment won't likely have a real influence on Trump's presidency, it is still a "distraction" for the president. "Trump now needs to score more points in areas such as in China-US trade consultations to win the support of domestic voters," Diao said.


While the impeachment process has started, it is not likely to succeed because it's impossible for the Republican-controlled Senate to vote to remove Trump from office unless the Democrats can dig out more conclusive evidence, Liu said.


Valuable lesson


The vote on Thursday also came as the Communist Party of China stressed in a communiqué following a key meeting that China will stick to the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics and will work to improve and modernize the system.


More importantly, the escalating infighting between US political parties and the decline of the US on the global stage offered a stark reminder that political stability and national unity are the foundation for any country to prosper, and that China must continue on its own path and not be complacent.


Diao warned that the infighting of the two parties could lead to a more divisive US society.


"It is a messy world out there, and the situation in China is way better," one netizen wrote on Sina Weibo. "We have to be vigilant even in times of peace and keep our focus to better take care of our own things better," another wrote on WeChat.


Diao said that the road which the Party leads Chinese people to choose has been proven correct in the past 70 years and this path is suitable to China's development.


Liu said compared with the US political system, the Chinese system has its own advantage in governance efficiency.


China is able to concentrate resources for big things. The central government can easily mobilize the whole country to swiftly implement projects. So the efficiency is much higher, he said.


Diao Daming is a research fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China.


Key Words: Major power relations   US   RDCY   Diao Daming  

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