US President Donald Trump arrives for his first visit to China while in office on Wednesday.
He will hold talks with Chinese leaders, with trade issues and North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme expected to be high on the agenda.
Trump is a high-profile figure in China and the focus of extensive coverage in state media, but what do Chinese people think of the US president? We asked people on the streets of Beijing.
Fei Danyang, a 42-year-old financial analyst, said he knew about Trump before he was elected president because of his reality TV show The Apprentice.
“He’s an interesting person, more honest than Obama. He is no politician and has big ego…so his honesty is, in a disrespectful way, a bit self-righteous and ignorant of other people’s feelings.”
Trump’s bluntness and outspoken views won him support from middle and working-class Americans and also among Chinese viewers, according to Fei.
“For us it’s not much different from the [TV show] House of Cards. It’s like we [in China] are just like watching a fire from across a river,” he said. “The chaos is theirs. The more dramatic it gets, the more fun it is to watch.”
Li Dongsheng, 64, a retired teacher at a military academy, said he really likes Trump’s style.
“As a 71-year-old man, he is spirited and energetic. He pushes beyond his own boundaries and he takes up new challenges. I admire him for that.” said Li. “He has an outgoing personality and hates losing…I think his mental age is quite young.”
Li said Trump was wrong to blame China for not reining in North Korea over its nuclear weapons programme and Beijing was trying to solve the issue through negotiation.
Li added he was proud Trump would have the chance to see something of China during his trip.
The first place he recommended Trump seeing was the Great Wall, before going on to the Forbidden City, the former imperial palace in the centre of Beijing.
Zhang Yan works for a Japanese company in Beijing and says she does not pay much attention to politics, but added that Trump’s daughter Ivanka was popular in both China and Japan.
“She’s beautiful. She makes nice speeches. She is also doing well in politics and has a big influence,” said Zhang.
Ivanka Trump’s decision to let her daughter learn Mandarin and celebrate the Chinese Lunar New Year was also a plus to her image in China, according to Zhang.
Ivanka is also a role model for Chen Shiying, a mother who works in the fashion industry.
“She’s a goddess,” said Chen. “She’s born to a wealthy family and has received the best education. Her clothes and make-up are top class. They are blue-blooded with the best upbringing.”
Chen said she hopes her small son will later be educated in the US, which offers the best education system. Her brother, a Silicon Valley engineer, already has a US passport and she had considered emigrating.
However, Trump’s tougher stance on immigration has led her to rethink her plans.
“Now the threshold is much higher. Suddenly many Chinese have to choose different countries,” said Chen.
Sun Cheng, a government employee in his 30s, said his major impression of Trump was that he advocates for America’s rich, in complete contrast to Barack Obama while he was in office, and that the serving US president’s stance on foreign policy was very volatile.
“That’s a businessman’s instinct – opportunism. So he’s probably more flexible than Obama,” said Sun
Trump’s victory in the US presidential election came as a surprise, he added.
“I felt their democracy had become just a formality, but Trump’s presidency has now presented a bigger challenge for China.”
Sun said Trump has heavily criticised China on trade and the North Korea issue before he arrived.
“A pure businessman. When he talks about guns and artillery he is really talking about business,” said Sun.
“If it was Obama, he would only do what his advisers told him and not be so flexible. But Trump has this stuff coming out and he has his own mind.”