It is not unfair to describe Donald Trump as a divisive figure. Since his election as President of the United States in 2016, his policies have seen very public and outspoken support and condemnation from both sides of the political spectrum in the United States. Like those in the United States, Hongkongers seem to also have a love or hate relationship with Donald Trump.
Trump’s administration has, without question, been very open and vocal at targeting the Chinese Communist Party. Whether this actually translated to practical impact on the modus operandiof the Chinese Communisty Party, though, will be a discussion for another day. Many supporters of the pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong have spoken out in favour of Trump.
A Hongkonger with American citizenship identifying herself only as “Nikki”, with over 18,000 followers on Twitter, courted controversy with other Hongkongers when she posted a tweet on 27 September 2020 with images of signs saying “Hongkongers for Trump”, with many people replying to her in agreement, and many others commenting that they thought supporting Trump flies in the face of what the pro-democracy movement stands for.
A Canadian Hongkonger living in Hong Kong, identifying herself only as Siobhan, said that she was definitely anti-Trump in 2016, but now finds herself on the fence. Siobhan said, “I have always been supporting the Democrats, and so it was only natural for me to be anti-Trump in 2016. But I think what has happened in Hong Kong and to the world this year has been an awakening. It is not that black and white anymore.”
When the fact that President Trump had previously seemingly supported Xi Jinping’s policies in relation to the persecution of the Uyghurs, and that he had in fact praised Xi Jinping’s response to the Coronavirus was mentioned, Siobhan indicated that she abhors some of this policies on issues such a climate change, education, racism, and science, but added, “We cannot ignore the fact that he has been very keen on punishing the Chinese Communist Party, which is in Hongkongers’ favour and something the world definitely needs.”
Cherry, a Hongkonger studying in the United Kingdom, holds a different opinion. “As a pro-democracy supporter, we are fighting for democracy, representation, agency, self-determination, basic human rights, and the rule of law. The last four years of Trump’s rule has shown that he is trying to destroy these things over and over and over, and he does not share any of these values.” Cherry raises her concern over the immigration policies of the Trump administration, as well as his hesitation to criticise racism and white supremacy. Cherry adds that Hongkongers who support Trump and view that Black Lives Matter protesters as rioters should perhaps reflect on the similarities of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement before being so ready to assign the label of rioters to the Black Lives Matter protesters.
Of course, when it comes to news about Trump and Biden to help people to reach an informed choice, it is not always easy to identify truth from fiction, for example the latest cache of emails which is reported to have been extracted from a laptop owned linked to Hunter Biden. Regardless of whether the exposé by the New York Post on the Bidens ties to corruption may be true or not, the seeming suppression of the items which may be damaging to Biden by social media like Facebook and Twitter seems to has caused the matter to be more widely talked about, with Siobhan referring to this as “Facebook-Twitter gate”. Siobhan said that she is genuinely worried about what would happen if Joe Biden and Kamala Harris won the election. “We aren’t seeing the election as a bipartisan issue, but it is about the US leading the free world against the Chinese Communist Party’s rule and influence,” adding that Biden’s administration, in her opinion, is already “in cahoots” with the Chinese Communist Party and it will be the end of the United States if Biden wins the election.
Despite the heightened emotions of many Hongkongers who support the Hong Kong pro-democracy protests in relation to the Trump vs Biden election, Cherry remains perplexed as to why some Hongkongers are “endorsing someone so vehemently” when the majority of Hongkongers would not be eligible to vote in the Trump vs Biden election in any event.
Regardless of whether one hates or loves Trump, this election certainly has not been short of drama.