On Monday a tabloid run by China's communist party, the Global Times, gave voice to our darkest fears and pointed to the rise of Donald Trump as proof that democracy doesn't work.
In a scathing piece, the outlet mentioned Friday's Trump rally in St. Louis, where 31 people were arrested after a bloody clash between supporters and protesters, as further evidence that something has gone awry in the American political system. Even those among us who aren't Communist sympathizers have to admit that's not a poor analysis of the situation.
The paper had a number of things to say about Americans and Trump, none of them kind. Here are some choice quotes:
- "His remarks are abusively racist and extremist, which has left an impression on the U.S. public that he is intentionally overthrowing political correctness."
- "Trump's rise was not anticipated by most analysts and observers. At the beginning of the election, Trump, a rich, narcissist and inflammatory candidate, was only treated as an underdog. His job was basically to act as a clown to attract more voters' attention to the GOP. However, knocking down most other promising candidates, the clown is now the biggest dark horse."
- "Trump's supporters are mostly lower-class whites, and they lost a lot after the 2008 financial crisis… that's when Trump emerged. Big-mouthed, anti-traditional, abusively forthright, he is a perfect populist that could easily provoke the public."
- "He has even been called another Benito Mussolini or Adolf Hitler by some Western media. Mussolini and Hitler came to power through elections, a heavy lesson for Western democracy."
The paper also took the opportunity to throw shade at elections ("Americans know elections cannot really change their lives. Then, why not support Trump and vent their spleen?"), say the U.S. has no right to criticize China's human rights failings ("The U.S. had better watch itself for not being a source of destructive forces against world peace, more than pointing fingers at other countries for their so-called nationalism and tyranny"), and predict our imminent demise, regardless of whether Trump becomes president ("The U.S. faces the prospect of an institutional failure, which might be triggered by a growing mass of real-life problems"). Harsh.
The Global Times has been consistently writing about the U.S. elections, and using Trump's candidacy as a way to criticize capitalism. In one recent post, titled Trump’s rise stems from U.S. popular anger, a Times writer wrote that "Capital's pursuit of profits has led to increasing wealth inequality all over the world… confronting the scattering and shift of power and influence, ordinary US people are losing their sense of superiority and security. Therefore, some have no more patience and decided to turn to extreme choices."
And Quartz notes that recently, Chinese media and officials have been cutting in their discussion of American news, likely as a way to stave off criticism of its poor rights records. And Trump didn't do himself any favors when he called that the 1989 protests at Tiananmen Square a "riot" and implied that the government, which opened fire on and killed hundreds of protesters, exhibited an admirable use of force.
The Los Angeles Times reported last week that most Chinese people who care about our politics are more even-keeled in their perspectives. One woman told the LA Times that “The U.S. is still a role model for democracy. It has its problems though, and Trump is a reflection of its problems," adding, "His ideas are very strange—I don’t know why Americans support him." We hear you.
Danielle Wiener-Bronner is a news reporter.