The Chinese government clearly received the message when Donald Trump pledged to not only rebuild the U.S. military, but also show it off with parades down Pennsylvania Avenue and flyovers of New York City. In response, Beijing has sent America’s new president a signal that it too can play that game. That signal comes in the form of a rooster, which, in Chinese astrology, is associated with people who are hardworking, supremely confident, and demanding of attention. In marking the dawn of each new day, one Chinese scholar observes, roosters are in charge of “time.” The Chinese government’s point—at a time of serious tensions between the world powers over trade, Taiwan, and the South China Sea—is unambiguous: Trump may want to Make America Great Again, but the coming century belongs to China, not America.
That’s one explanation. Another, more likely possibility is that Chinese soldiers were simply celebrating the start this week of the Chinese New Year, which ushers in the Year of the Rooster. The People’s Daily, a newspaper run by the Chinese Communist Party, has just posted this gem of a video that I strongly urge you to watch in full:
Priscilla Lam, a fortune-teller in Hong Kong who correctly predicted Trump’s victory in the 2016 election, foresees an up-and-down Rooster Year for the U.S. president. The “characteristic of a fire dog”—Trump’s zodiac signs—“is over-confidence and a tendency to act quickly without thinking things through,” she notes. “Since he was born in the year of fire, the spring and summer—when the weather is hot—will be good for Trump. … But the cooler months of autumn and winter will see him run into difficulties. There will be protests.”
Your move in the dance-off, Donald. And you’ll likely want to move fast, before the weather turns chilly.