The Trump opportunity: Chinese perceptions of the US administration (Camille Boullenois, Jiakun Jack Zhang, Melanie Hart, Blaine Johnson, Earl Wang, European Council on Foreign Relations)

For European readers accustomed to full-throated criticism of Donald Trump (sometimes from leaders at the highest level), Chinese experts’ and officials’ relatively moderate discussions of the American president may come as a surprise. Even before his election, Trump caught the attention of China, where there were hopes that – as a businessman who had risen to the top of American politics – he might strike deals with Beijing based on pure bargaining rather than values-laden arguments. These views remain common. Although Chinese America-watchers acknowledge Trump’s narcissistic traits, they also disdain much of the American policy establishment’s analysis of him, seeing it as dead set against his freewheeling, deal-making style. Indeed, one Chinese analyst goes so far as to discuss Trump’s courage and determination, emphasising his policies’ positive effects on the American economy.

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