Why Some Chinese Immigrants Will Vote for Trump

Trump supporters

Trump supporters outside Trump Tower at 725 5th Ave. on Oct. 8, 2016 (Photo by Jane Yi Zhang via Kings County Politics)

It’s hard to say how widespread the support for Donald Trump is among Chinese immigrants in NYC. In a story for City Limits from September, Sing Tao Daily reporter Rong Xiaoqing found, based on a random sampling of recent immigrants in Chinatown, there is some “surprising support for Trump.”

In a story from this week in Kings County Politics, reporter Jane Yi Zhang also finds support for the Republican candidate among Chinese immigrants, in this case, among those who came to the U.S. about two or three decades ago when they were in their 20s. Again, there’s no scientific study involved that can accurately gauge how much backing Trump has in the community, but at least from those Zhang interviews, there appears fervent dedication to the candidate. With the help of Chinese messaging app WeChat, they’re committed to sharing articles in Chinese on the presidential race and gathering support among their circle of family and friends.

Zhang describes some reasons why they’re drawn to Trump:

They felt uncomfortable when New York City announces new policies encouraging undocumented immigrants to live in the city as residents. Most recently this includes the NYC ID, a card that acts as an official ID for undocumented immigrants, and Action Health NYC, a health care program for low-income and undocumented immigrants to get low-lost medical access.

“I work hard for my money. Why should I share it with people who don’t work or scamming the system?” said Tan Man Li, 45, a city employee and Brooklyn resident who migrated from a southern city of China to New York when he was 26 years old. He thinks the Obama administration is too generous to the poor, while the middle class is left out to any benefits. “The current welfare system only creates parasites.” Li said.

Another supporter, in speaking about specialized high schools in NYC, “thinks Trump would give fairer opportunities to Asian American students.”

Go to Kings County Politics to read why, and for other concerns that have these supporters eager to vote for Trump come Election Day.

On a related note, a National Asian American Survey has polled select Asian-American communities, including Chinese, in New York state and nationwide, on the 2016 election. See the results here.

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