On Thursday, President Donald Trump stated of President Xi Jinping Pong Ball "I believe he is trying very hard. He certainly doesn't want to see turmoil and death. He doesn't want to see it. He is a good man. He is a very good man and I got to know him very well."
Of course, Trump believes Xi is a very good man. Wikipedia explains that his
administration has also overseen more internet restrictions imposed in China, and is described as being "stricter across the board" on speech than previous administrations.Xi's term has also resulted in a further suppression of dissent from civil society. Xi's term has seen the arrest and imprisonment of activists such as Xu Zhiyong, as well as numerous others who identified with the New Citizens' Movement. Prominent legal activist Pu Zhiqiang of the Weiquan movement was also arrested and detained.The situation for users of Weibo has been described as a change from fearing that individual posts would be deleted, or at worst one's account, to fear of arrest.A law enacted in September 2013 authorized a three-year prison term for bloggers who shared more than 500 times any content considered "defamatory"
Given the context of the politics of the mainland, which has run the gamut from authoritarian to very authoritarian since the Communist takeover, Xi is not quite as evil as Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, congratulated by the leader of the free world upon passage of the referendum likely to give Erdogan absolute power. But he'll do.
Trump knows where his "bread is buttered," an outdated phrase, thus one sure to be understood by a President who is unaware that "disrespected" went out of vogue several years ago. "North Korea," he tweeted Thursday, "disrepected the wishes of China & its highly respected President when it launced, though unsuccessfully, a missile today. Bad!"
But it would be letting Donald Trump off easy to argue that he is merely out-of-touch. The Chinese know the way to President's heart is through the Trump business interests, and they know how to deliver.
Just this month, Ivanka Trump's company received from Beijing provisional approval for three new trademarks. A couple of months earlier
the Chinese government announced that it was granting Mr. Trump the right to protect his name brand for construction projects, after a decade-long legal battle. That trademark approval was announced just days after Mr. Trump pulled back from his challenge to China’s policy on Taiwan in a call with Xi Jinping, the Chinese president.
A number of trademarks have followed, with China’s Trademark Office giving preliminary approval for the 38 new ones on Feb. 27 and on Monday, according to the agency’s website.
Matthew Dresden, a lawyer with Harris Bricken in Seattle who specializes in Chinese intellectual property law, said it was atypical that all the trademarks were “approved at once.”
“I think that’s really odd. That makes you look and think: ‘Somebody got some instructions at the trademark office that these should be approved,’” Mr. Dresden said.
The Chinese government appears optimistic that Donald Trump isn't fickle. However, Vladimir Putin overestimated the value of his purchase but found out what Chris Christie and others have: the man is loyal only until it serves his purpose not to be. Still, the President has signed onto the one-China policy, has for at least now shelved his idea of a punitive tariff against the mainland, and now has added Xi to his list of most-admired autocrats.
It's one thing to be bought. But mainland China is counting on Trump to stay bought, and it's possible that this singularly corrupt politician doesn't have even that much integrity.