Given Donald Trump's penchant for bashing all thing China—or even his obvious relish in enunciating the country's name—one might expect Beijing to worry about the prospect of the real estate mogul rising to the presidency. And yet, there are also reasons to believe that China would welcome a Trump administration.
Hillary Clinton may have been far too accommodating of China's human rights abuses during her tenure as secretary of state, but Donald Trump, whatever his virtues, has not exactly made the promotion of human rights or democracy a hallmark of his candidacy. Moreover, one could easily envisage Trump cutting a "deal" with China on a subject like, say, Taiwan. How much does Taiwan "pay us" for her implicit protection by the United States, after all?
But Zhongnanhai is evidently not relishing the prospect of a Trump presidency. According to my sources, including a diplomat who worked for years in China, Beijing would prefer a Clinton administration. Why? Because the regime feels it can anticipate Clinton's actions, whereas Trump is downright "unpredictable." Trump looks like a deeply destabilizing force, and Beijing prizes "stability" over all else.
Or at least, stability on the part of others—China is currently doing great damage to global stability by, for example, rewriting the map in the South China Sea, in contravention of international law. But it's not at all clear that either a President Clinton or a President Trump would do anything to stop that.