What would Hong Kong be like if Donald Trump were Chief Executive?



Donald Trump has taken American politics by storm. The tycoon, TV host, author, and now presidential candidate continues to lead in every poll. [1]His humility (“I’m, like, a really smart person”), respect for immigrants (“They’re bringing crime, they’re rapists”), and belief in gender equality (“You know, it doesn't matter what the media writes as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass”) are excellent traits to possess as the potential CEO of the free world.

We in Hong Kong may never be so lucky to have Donald Trump as our leader, but we can at least imagine. So let us suppose that the Chinese Government has inexplicably relented to the pan-democrats of Hong Kong and granted universal suffrage with popular nomination for the 2017 Chief Executive Election. The real-life CEO Donald Trump has vowed to “Make America Great Again.” How would “CE Trump” attempt to “Make Hong Kong Great Again”?

Immigration

Donald Trump has declared that the United States is the “dumping ground” for the “worst elements” of the world, especially Mexico. [2]Trump went on to blame the Mexican Government for “pushing…criminals and rapists” into America. [3]The influx of foreign workers is another cause of concern for Trump, who believes that this flow of workers “makes it difficult for working class Americans to earn a middle class wage.” [4]

In our parallel universe, Trump would ban immigration from Mainland China indefinitely by eliminating the One-Way Permit System and the Admission Scheme for Mainland Talents and Professionals. Recognising that many worthy individuals would seek to get around this ban, Trump would sell “investor visas” to wealthy Mainlanders at HK$100 million apiece. Of course, foreign professionals from North America and Europe (i.e. “westerners”) would be excluded from this ban.

In lieu of conducting a hygiene-related street sweeping campaign, CE Trump would initiate a “Sweep Away the Locusts” campaign. This would ensure that public resources only go to Hong Kong people (港人優先) and not Mainland Chinese locusts. To increase patriotism, Trump would also create an official Hong Kong anthem to be sung at all public ceremonies - none other than the song “Boundless Ocean, Vast Skies” (海闊天空) by the Hong Kong rock band Beyond.

Finally, CE Trump would address increases in drug offences and violent crime among South Asian youth by banning new immigration from India, Nepal and Pakistan. [5]Decrying the historic Chungking Mansions as a hotbed for “criminals and rapists,” Trump would tear down the gathering place for ethnic minorities and replace it with the glamourous “KingTrump Mansions.”

Economy, Trade and Development

Trump has boasted that he would be “the greatest jobs President that God ever created.” [6]As CEO of the Trump Organisation, his name is plastered on everything from skyscrapers to bottled water. On the issue of trade, according to Trump, “the problem with free trade is you need really talented people to negotiate for you…When was the last time anybody saw us beating China in a trade deal? They kill us.” [7]

In CE Trump’s Hong Kong, locals would enjoy a total Trump lifestyle experience. Trumpy toothpaste and TrumpSoy soymilk would be available at TrumpnShop and Trumpcome supermarkets. We would get around via the MTR (“Mass Trump Railways”) and by CatTrump Pacific. Television networks would be rebooted with new names (“TrumpVB” and “ATrumpV”). The stranglehold that wealthy families, foreign corporations, and the Government used to have over our economy would be efficiently consolidated under a single Trump brand.

Using the services of “talented negotiators,” CE Trump would strong-arm Mainland officials and overhaul the Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement in a way that prohibits any new Chinese companies from entering the Hong Kong market, while compelling Mainland China to give most preferred status to Hong Kong firms. With regards to the parallel trading of infant formula, Trump would replace the two-can limit on infant formula with an export tariff of 400%. [8]The tariff would also apply to commonly traded necessities such as shampoos, mooncakes, and pharmaceuticals. [9]

Trump will immediately fix Hong Kong people’s housing problems by building gold-coloured Trump Public Towers for the poor and needy. Using his immeasurable business savvy, Trump would open the first casino in Hong Kong - entirely constructed on country park land.

Foreign Policy

The real Trump has said that he would not have thrown President Xi Jinping a state dinner to commemorate his first state visit to the United States. Instead, Trump would offer Xi a “McDonald’s hamburger.” [10]

Hong Kong’s relations with its neighbours, such as the Philippines after the Manila hostage crisis, have been tense. [11]If Philippine President Benigno Aquino were to visit Hong Kong under CE Trump’s tenure, Trump would give him the “Tsui Wah treatment” - pineapple buns and milk tea from the nearest Tsui Wah location. He would also make Aquino pay for the bill.

Seriously?

Surely all of the above sounds like a work of fiction. Yet this is the reality Americans may face in 2016. How a truculent, anti-immigrant, economic nativist has succeeded in appealing to such a large number of voters continues to baffle American political scientists.

Here in Hong Kong, the Trump phenomenon does not baffle us at all. The anger that Trump thrives on bears an uncanny resemblance to the despair afflicting many Hongkongers on a daily basis. With too many perceived frictions with the Mainland, too little self-identity, and too much competition for too few good jobs, Hongkongers are sick and tired of establishment politics. In these conditions, it is not inconceivable for an outsider to start a revolution.

Our Chief Executive electoral system remains unchanged. Thus, a “CE Trump” would never be elected into office. But if we do attain universal suffrage with open nomination, a Trump-like candidate may well emerge and appeal to our basest emotions and instincts. It will be our right under universal suffrage to elect this candidate as our leader. Whether Hongkongers will exercise that right is anyone’s guess. Democracy, unlike Trump, is no joke.

 

 

1 Tom LoBianco, “Pew Poll: Donald Trump holds commanding lead,” CNN, October 2nd, 2015, http://edition.cnn.com/2015/10/02/politics/pew-poll-donald-trump-leads/ .
2 Hunter Walker, “Donald Trump just released an epic statement raging against Mexican immigrants and “disease,” Business Insider, July 6, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trumps-epic-statement-on-mexico-2015-7 .
3 Ibid.
4 “Immigration Reform,” https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions/immigration-reform .
5 Yonden Lhatoo, “Ethnic minority gangs rampaging in Hong Kong: That’s what you get when you ignore reality,” South China Morning Post, September 24, 2015, http://www.scmp.com/comment/insight-opinion/article/1861030/etnic-minority-gangs-rampaging-hong-kong-thats-what-you-get?page=all .
6 Hunter Walker, “Donald Trump just released an epic statement raging against Mexican immigrants and “disease,” Business Insider, July 6, 2015, http://www.businessinsider.com/donald-trumps-epic-statement-on-mexico-2015-7 .
7 David Lawler, “Trump for president: Best quotes from the best announcement speech of all time?” The Telegraph, June 16, 2015, http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/us-politics/11679430/Trump-for-president-Best-quotes-from-the-best-announcement-speech-of-all-time.html .
8 Lai Ying-Kit, “Hong Kong-made mooncakes seized in mainland China in crackdown on parallel-goods trading,” South China Morning Post, September 15, 2015, http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1858291/hong-kong-looks-seizure-citys-mooncakes-mainland .
9 Samuel Chan, “No plan to lift two-can milk formula limit at the border, says Hong Kong health minister,” South China Morning Post, September 8, 2015, http://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/health-environment/article/1856056/hong-kong-health-minister-says-no-plan-ease-ban .
10 David Sherfinski, “Donald Trump: I’d get the Chinese President a McDonald’s hamburger,” The Washington Times, August 25, 2015, http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/aug/25/donald-trump-id-get-xi-jinping-mcdonalds-hamburger/ .
11 Simon Lee, “Hong Kong Lifts Philippine Sanctions over Hostage Crisis,” Bloomberg, April 24, 2014, http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2014-04-23/hong-kong-lifts-philippine-sanctions-over-hostage-crisis .