I was showing my class a Discovery video about China’s transformation prior to the Beijing Olympics. I’ve shown this for several years now as it’s a great video to help understand the turmoil China went through in order to emerge as a 21st century powerhouse.
One section of the video always produces some laughs. It concerns a local election in which the female mayor of a small village is being challenged at the polls by a local garlic grower. This section highlights the democratic changes in Chinese society which are taking place at the very lowest levels.
The current mayor has proved herself to be a shrewd politician who understands the needs of her constituents. She has paved a road from the village into the neighboring town so farmers can easily bring their wares to market. She has inspired many farmers to switch to flowers, instead of rice, more than quadrupling their income. She keeps a village ledger on the side of one of the buildings to keep the local government accountable for their actions. She has, in every sense, been an exemplary public servant.
Her challenger, Mr. Zhang the garlic grower, acknowledges this fact and even says that everyone admires Mayor Lieu.
You might be wondering what his running platform is? How does he have a chance against her? What’s his strategy? Does he have any clever tricks up his sleeve?
Yes, he most certainly does. He says, “I think the way I can compete with Mrs. Lieu is that I’m a man, and she’s a woman.” Okay, he says it like it is. But he doesn’t stop there. He said that a leader needs to make others rich, and to do that, the leader also needs to be rich – like he is.
So let’s boil this down to a campaign slogan. “Vote for Zhang. I’m a man, and I’m rich.”
But as I was watching again this year it hit me: this guy is the Chinese Donald Trump!
“Vote for Trump: I’m a man, and I’m rich.”
A good chuckle was had by all. I have found his Chinese twin. A rich garlic grower.
By the way, Zhang lost in his election by nearly a 4-1 margin.
Those Chinese farmers know a thing or two.