With just a month and a half until Lunar New Year, a Chinese shopping mall has decided the best way to welcome in the Year of the Dog is to erect a giant Donald Trump dog statue. Known as #TrumpDog, the massive figure greets visitors outside a shopping mall in downtown Taiyuan, capital of Shanxi Province in northern China. This is the same mall that blessed shoppers with the 32-foot-fall #TrumpRooster last year to usher in the Year of the Rooster. The Chinese zodiac is based on a 12-year cycle and this year's sculpture is extra special because President Trump was born in 1946 in the Year of the Dog.
The giant Trump statue depicts the president as a white dog sporting Trump's signature comb-over, golden eyebrows narrowed down, and one index finger pointed up — a popular Trump move from the 2016 presidential debates. Similarly, last year's giant Trump statue showed the rooster version of him making his well-recognizable hand gestures. This year's Trump dog sculpture also features a red collar, possibly to drive away evil spirits. According to Chinese astrology, your zodiac year is an unlucky year and wearing red, one of the luckiest colors in Chinese culture, is tradition for driving away bad luck.
The publicity stunt will no doubt become a hit with selfie takers. His likeness has appeared everywhere from Trump socks (with hair) to Trump Halloween pumpkins, also known as #trumpkins. Street artists have also immortalized Trump on wall murals, such as the one in Lithuania where Trump is kissing Vladimir Putin and the one in the West Bank where Trump is kissing Benjamin Natanyahu, the Israeli Prime Minister.
As of the time of this writing, Trump has yet to comment on whether he finds it amusing that he's now depicted as a ginormous dog in China, or whether he's offended by the possible dig. At least one die-hard "Make America Great Again" fan on Twitter seems to think it's a good thing. "Year of the Trump Dog! TrumpDog is a sensation in China as it prepares for the upcoming Year of the Dog.
#TrumpDog," the user tweeted on Tuesday.
Rocky relations between the United States and China aren't new. Trump has repeatedly accused China of taking advantage of American workers and companies through unfair trade practices, saying during his presidential campaign that “we can’t continue to allow China to rape our country.” He then backtracked in November, holding past U.S. leaders culpable for creating the trade deficit with China. “After all, who can blame a country for being able to take advantage of another country for benefit of their citizens?" he asked rhetorically at a press event in Beijing. "I give China great credit, but in actuality I do blame past administrations for allowing this out-of-control trade deficit to take place."
Despite his tough trade talks on China, Trump did exchange some pleasantries with Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife, Peng Liyuan, during his visit to China in November. While sharing afternoon tea at Beijing's Forbidden City, Trump showed Xi and Peng adorable video clips of his 6-year-old granddaughter, Arabella Kushner, singing in Mandarin and reciting several ancient Chinese poems. Her performance was well received by China's internet users and Xi praised her Chinese language skills. Dubbed Trump's littlest and greatest ambassador in China, Arabella first charmed the Chinese president and his wife during their visit to the United States at Trump's Mar-a-Lago golf club. Arabella has been learning Chinese since she was just a toddler thanks to her Mandarin-speaking nanny.
Lunar New Year begins Feb. 16, 2018. If this Chinese shopping mall continues with tradition, we can look forward to a giant cartoon Trump pig in 2019 and a giant cartoon Trump rat in 2020.