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Regardless of what one might think about President Donald Trump, there’s no way around the fact he’s doing things his own way, and oftentimes, it works out in his favor.
Despite the fact he constantly taunted China throughout the 2016 presidential election and hasn’t been much friendlier to the communist country since entering the White House, Trump just became the world’s first foreign leader to dine in the Forbidden City, the famous royal district closed off to the rest of the world ever since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
One historian spoke to CNN about the unique invitation for Trump and First Lady Melania, both of whom landed in Beijing on Wednesday, suggesting it was a power play by the Chinese government.
“The Chinese government know who they’re dealing with,” Jeremiah Jenne, who lives in Beijing, said. “It’s another in a long line of fairly shrewd moves by the Chinese government and something [Trump is] going to be very impressed with.”
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“What was once known as the ‘palace of blood and tears’ is now being used for a state visit. This is an example of how the narrative [within China] has shifted, particularly in the last 25 years, it’s no longer about emphasizing class revolution. In recent years, it’s been much greater emphasis on the glories of Chinese civilization.”
The plan is for the president and first lady to tour the Forbidden City with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, before dining in the place that once housed Chinese emperors and their families for some 500 years.
Ming Wan, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, told CNN the Chinese will “give Trump an exceptional reception, essentially they’ll try to make Trump happy — that will work to China’s advantage.”
“[Xi’s] going to treat Trump almost like an emperor,” he added.
Trump’s historic visit to the ancient enclave comes just one day after the White House condemned communism with a bold statement commemorating the National Day for the Victims of Communism.
Communism has “systematically robbed innocent people of their God-given rights of free worship, freedom of association, and countless other rights we hold sacrosanct,” the statement read, in part.