The South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Sunday reported that Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement is keenly interested in the U.S. presidential election and decidedly favors incumbent President Donald Trump.
Those interviewed described Trump as a “tough” adversary of Communist China compared to his “soft” opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden.
The SCMP recalled activists waving American flags and calling on Trump to help them “liberate Hong Kong.” Trump, in turn, praised the Hong Kong protest movement and said he was able to convince Chinese dictator Xi Jinping not to mobilize military forces against them.
“If Biden wins, he will return to his old path and honor international agreements without any drastic approach to contain China,” Hong Kong political commentator Simon Lau Sai-leung told the SCMP, echoing many pro-democracy activists who doubt Biden’s campaign promises to get tough with Beijing.
On the other hand, onetime pro-democracy activist Kev Yam Kin-fung thought Biden would be more likely to “rebuild free-world alliances” and build a foundation to “push a human rights agenda on the world stage,” unlike the “anti-universal values political charlatan” Trump.
Still others, like Hong Kong Democratic Party legislator Lam Cheuk-ting, said the U.S. is likely to “remain confrontational” toward China no matter who wins the election, although Lam thought Trump’s approach “might be more drastic than Biden’s.”
The BBC on Saturday grumbled that Trump has “overtly insulted half the world” with his America First policy platform, but pro-democracy forces in Hong Kong and across Southeast Asia still support him as the stronger alternative against Chinese Communist domination.
“When Donald Trump got elected four years ago, I thought the US had gone crazy. I’d always been a supporter of the Democrats. Now though, I support Trump — along with a lot of the Hong Kong protesters,” activist and businesswoman Erica Yuen told the BBC.
Yuen credited Trump with being the first U.S. leader to fully understand that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is a “harm to the world.”
“I don’t know why the Obama and Clinton administrations didn’t realize that. They were too naïve and thought the CCP would chose a democratic path and become a modern society. But that was proven to be not true,” she said.
“Donald Trump’s attitude is good for us and it’s good to have such an ally. It gives us more confidence in terms of foreign affairs — militarily and trade. We have a big brother we can rely on,” e-commerce worker Victor Lin said from Taiwan, suggesting a similar view of Trump in a nation that was strongly supportive of the Hong Kong pro-democracy movement.
The BBC noted Trump also enjoys considerable support in Vietnam, which is worried about growing Chinese power and believes Trump is more likely to check Beijing because he is “brave to the point of recklessness and even aggression,” as activist Nguyen Vinh Huu put it.
“And that’s what sets him apart from his predecessors. Dealing with China requires such people,” Vinh explained.
The UK Guardian found it puzzling that so many pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong are firmly in Trump’s camp after his “years of public support for strongmen and dictators, undermining the press at home, and even attacking domestic protesters as ‘rioters.’” Not only that, but Trump referred to the Chinese coronavirus as the “China virus,” which the Guardian thinks should have enraged Asians around the world.
But instead, the Guardian morosely quoted exiled dissident Wang Juntao praising Trump as potentially “the hand that eventually pushes China to democracy,” Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai saying he feels “a stronger sense of security in Trump,” and 80 percent of voters from Taiwan’s governing Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) saying they prefer Trump to win re-election.