how Donald Trump finds his populist ground in China
Palavras-chave:Social media analysis, Public opinion, China-US relations, Trumpism, Right-wing populism
Although the 2020 US presidential election has ended with the victory of the Democrat candidate Joe Bien, the right-wing populist wave brought by Trump has never ceased. In China, interestingly, there are not a few people who support Trump since the 2016 election. Despite Trump’s provocative discourse and actions against China, many Chinese fans still stood by his side in the latest election. In this paper, I will explore the phenomenon of Chinese Trumpism by studying qualitative data from Zhihu (??), a Chinese online Q&A community whose users are mostly highly educated and are more actively engaged in political discussion than in general. Responses to questions about Donald Trump from 2016 to 2021 will be selected and analyzed. Based on the literature review and previous observations of the platform, it is assumed that, firstly, Trump’s conservative values indeed meet those of Chinese netizens, since most of them bear antagonist sentiments against western liberal doctrine. Secondly, the populist figure of Trump has appealed to Chinese netizens who consider him an honest, straightforward, and courageous politician different from the ‘hypocritical’ liberal elites. Thirdly, some people believe that Trump’s being president of the US might be more advantageous for China, while the motivations behind this vary across individuals. This study aims at contributing to Chinese public opinion studies and China-US relations with a focus on social media discourse.
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