In leftyworld, things are simple. And have nothing to do with reality.
In leftyworld, pro-democracy activists fighting against actual totalitarian regimes were supposed to be impressed by Obama’s right arc of appeasement. In reality, if you’re a political dissidents seeking a leader who will stand up to the PRC, it won’t be a Democrat.
Politico wanders confused through this elementary reality.
In a downtown cafe in Washington one recent winter morning, Xia Yeliang’s impassioned defense of Donald Trump’s politics pulled some patrons’ attention away from their mugs.
Inquisitive eyes darted toward where Xia sat, as he enthusiastically navigated a litany of conservative Republican talking points: welfare reform, immigration control, the migrant caravan, the perils of a Bernie Sanders presidency.
Curiosity would likely have turned to surprise had the customers known who Xia was: a Chinese dissident who signed the seminal Charter 08 pro-democracy manifesto and who was stripped of his Peking University professorship in 2013 amid reports he had delivered “anti-Party and anti-socialist” speeches to students.
An anti-socialist thinker who is… anti-socialist. Shocking.
Xia is actually a reasonably well known libertarian in conservative circles in America. Only Politico and its readers would find his existence to be news. But that’s typical of the conservatives in the mist type of media coverage.
But the pro-Trumpers include some of Beijing’s most prominent and outspoken liberal critics, activists with first-hand experience of a government’s zero-tolerance approach to dissent — and who know well the dangers of any government that is intolerant of criticism, throttles the press and revolves around the wishes of one man.
That’s why they weren’t too fond of Obama.
Like a number of other human rights activists who spoke to the South China Morning Post, the 58-year-old’s support for Trump is also fuelled by his hatred of socialism and communism, ideologies that Trump has spoken out against forcefully on numerous occasions.
That view appears to be finding some traction even within academic circles in China, according to Elizabeth Economy, director for Asia studies at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
A number of visiting Chinese intellectuals have described the Trump administration’s tough line as “very helpful”, Economy said at a recent CFR event: “This is the one thing that they believe is keeping Xi Jinping from his worst excesses.”
Ben Rhodes could not be reached for comment in his lair deep inside a volcano.