Chinese Familiar With Well-Known U.S. Presidential Candidates

Mar 3, 2016
Originally published on March 3, 2016 8:44 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And this morning, we're listening to people who've been following the U.S. presidential election from afar, voices from around the world. Let's turn now to NPR's Frank Langfitt, who's based in Shanghai.

FRANK LANGFITT, BYLINE: Chinese people generally find Donald Trump's rhetoric way over-the-top. But they're wary of Hillary Clinton because of her past get-tough-on-China policies. Jerry Cong cites her support for sending more American warships to Asia when she was secretary of state. Cong, who works for a cultural events company here in Shanghai, saw that as an attempt to stop China's rise.

JERRY CONG: (Through interpreter) I probably won't support Hillary because she opposes China's position on the South China Sea. I am Chinese, of course, so I think a milder and more moderate U.S. president will be better. After all, nobody wants to go to war.

LANGFITT: Some find Trump's blunt talk refreshing. A Chinese friend texted me today cheering on the Republican frontrunner - quote, "taking on the Washington establishment - go for it, Trump," he wrote. But Lucy Sang - she's a Beijing secretary - says Trump's harsh talk will only alienate people around the world.

LUCY SANG: (Through interpreter) I saw some extreme anti-Muslim and anti-Mexican-immigrant speeches by Trump. Since the U.S. says it's a free and democratic country, it should tolerate everything. I feel what he said is in conflict with American values.

ROSEMARY GONG: The campaign so far is very entertaining.

LANGFITT: Rosemary Gong works in e-commerce in Beijing. She supports Hillary Clinton but thinks the Chinese government would like Trump better because he's a pragmatic businessman.

GONG: They're going to prefer Trump because Trump, he doesn't have principles. That means they can make deals.

LANGFITT: The Chinese have known Clinton for years, ever since she was first lady. And they're getting to know Trump very fast. The other candidates vying for the nominations barely register. China's relationship with the U.S. is its most important of the planet. So tens of millions of Chinese will be watching to see who ends up in the White House next. Frank Langfitt, NPR News, Shanghai. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.