‘Trump is better’## In Asia, pro-democracy forces worry about Biden
“The Trump administration by far has done more to raise our issue than all other countries combined,” said Salih Hudayar, who was born in Xinjiang and moved to the United States as a child. “I’m very sceptical of a Biden administration because I am worried he will allow China to go back to normal, which is a 21st-century genocide of the Uighurs.”
During the presidential campaign, Biden released a statement calling the situation in Xinjiang a “genocide.” The Trump administration has not used such a designation, and a book by his former national security adviser said that Trump told Xi that he should continue building the detention camps in Xinjiang.
Foreign policy advisers to Biden say it is unfair to presume that he will continue the Obama administration’s moderate stance. It is, they say, a different era. The recent human rights legislation championed by the Trump administration has received broad bipartisan support.
And some Asian dissidents acknowledge that the antipathy toward Biden is driven in part by a deluge of online misinformation that paints the president-elect as a secret socialist or contends, without any proof, that foreign “communist money” turned the election against Trump. Such unsubstantiated claims have been repeated by niche online publications in Vietnamese, Chinese and other languages.
“The crisis of democracy in the world makes people, especially activists, confused and susceptible to the influence of conspiracy theories and information manipulation,” said Nguyen Quang A, a Vietnamese dissident who has been detained multiple times for his criticism of the country’s communist leadership. “Vietnam doesn’t have independent media, and people, especially activists, already hate mainstream media.”
One of the most influential voices spreading false narratives about Biden and the election on Twitter is Ai Weiwei, the Chinese contemporary artist who now lives in overseas exile.
In an interview, Ai said that he was not a fan of Trump. For his art, he has posed at Trump properties with his middle finger raised. But Ai said that by shutting off debate on his social media feed, he would be no different from an authoritarian government like China’s.
“All over Asia, all over the world, people don’t have the right to speak,” he said. “In America, left or right, you have