Donald Trump Fuels Anti-American Feeling In China, SE Asia

Donald Trump has put his foot in his mouth again, but this time the ripples have been felt internationally, with comments he made about Chinese and Japanese businessmen being picked up by several Asian newspapers. At a campaign rally in Iowa on Tuesday, Trump asserted that Chinese and Japanese businessmen had a crude approach to negotiation.

“Negotiating with Japan, negotiating with China, when these people walk into the room, they don’t say, ‘Oh hello, how’s the weather?’ So beautiful outside, isn’t it lovely? ‘How are the Yankees doing?’ Oh they are doing wonderful, great.

“They say, ‘We want deal!'”

It is Trump’s last three words, delivered with a mocking Asian accent and squint, that have raised the ire of observers in China, Singapore, and India, some of America’s most important trading partners, according to Singaporean publication The New Paper. The South China Morning Post, which is running rolling coverage of the 2016 race, also picked up on Trump’s comments, reporting that they had caused serious offense on China’s social network Weibo.

This is the latest in a string of negative “Trumpisms” about Asia in general and China in particular. Donald Trump consistently accuses the Chinese government of deliberately engineering their stock market meltdown in order to impoverish America, and said of Chinese Premier Xi Jinping that he would only rate a hamburger at McDonald’s for a state visit under a Trump administration.

While these comments might play wonderfully with Trump’s domestic audience, they are causing serious alienation overseas. What may be seen as colorful and quirky by Trump supporters in the States is interpreted as downright racist elsewhere. Attitudes to the U.S. in China are never particularly rosy at the best of times, but media in Singapore, Hong Kong, and India are usually quietly pro-American. It is worrying that a staunchly pro-Western publication such as Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post is coloring Trump and the rest of the Republican candidates as racist and anti-Asian.

The comments have been angrily refuted by the International Business Times, the South China Morning Post and others, with many pointing out that Trump’s organization has only recently started doing business in Asia with a single hotel opening in Bali. The Post also pointed to reports in Forbes and other publications that advise paying special attention to social niceties and allowing more time when dealing with Chinese businesses, directly refuting Trump’s assertions. The Chinese minority in the U.S. has also been vocally outraged by the comments, taking to Twitter to blast Trump’s latest bout of perceived racism.

[Picture via Getty Images]