US Republican presidential candidate has a beef with China and it may have to do with how our property moguls rescued him – and then made a killing
Donald Trump is on record as a fan of Russian strongman Vladimir Putin. In his view, the Russian leader is a real man, not one of those girly men in Washington, and who knows how to get things done.
Given the US Republican presidential candidate’s preference for tough rulers, and the similarities in the authoritarian governing style Putin shares with President Xi Jinping (習近平), it’s puzzling why Trump has been so tough on China.
He has accused China of stealing American jobs and has threatened to impose sanctions and tariffs to reverse the trade imbalance between the countries.
A recent expose in The New York Times offers clues to Trump’s China-bashing, and it may have something to do with how two of Hong Kong’s best-known property tycoons beat him at his own game.
In the mid-1990s, Trump was on the verge of bankruptcy. A partnership was formed by several of Hong Kong’s richest men including Henry Cheng Kar-shun and Vincent Lo Hong-shui to rescue him by investing in one of his properties in Manhattan, according to the Times.
A decade later, with excellent timing ahead of the US property market collapse, the partners sold the property in Riverside South and made a killing, while Trump got his 30 per cent cut. But he claimed he wasn’t consulted and sued his former partners for US$1 billion. He lost the lawsuit.
Instead of suing his former friends, he should have thanked them, seeing how the property market subsequently collapsed, which in turn triggered the global financial crisis.
But Trump has proved to be a sore loser/winner because the Hong Kong tycoons had made far more money out of the deal. Of course, without their support, he would have been a lot poorer – and might not be running for president now.
But hey, Donald, these are Hong Kong businessmen, not mainlanders. It’s “one country, two systems”. You shouldn’t hold a grudge because there is no reason to make the rest of China pay for it.
Many people in this part of the world think we don’t need to worry about Trump. Well, it’s the same people who thought there was nothing to worry about Brexit. There are many Americans who share his outrageous prejudices, resentments and hate. Watch out, China may soon have to deal with President Trump. SCMP