As China prepares to ring in the Lunar New Year, one shopping mall has declared it the year of #TrumpDog, complete with a giant statue that bears a striking resemblance to the US president.
The statue sports a deep frown, an index finger pointing straight up and Trump’s signature coiffure in what is believed to be his favourite colour, gold. The dog is also wearing a red kerchief, although it is significantly shorter than the power ties typically worn by the president.
The People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Communist party, heralded the statue’s arrival, declaring “Welcome the #TrumpDog”.
The Festival Walk Mall in Taiyuan, the capital of the northern province of Shanxi, erected the statue ahead of the start of the Lunar New Year, which falls on 16 February, 2018. Last year the shopping arcade built another Trump-like effigy, but the US president was portrayed as a rooster.
The Chinese zodiac is a 12 year cycle, with each year represented by a separate animal.
Trump was born in 1946, also the year of the dog. But that is not good news for the US president, as Chinese culture predicts a year of bad fortune for anyone that shares the same zodiac sign.
People are generally told to be careful during their own zodiac year as pitfalls abound.
Trump frequently criticised China on the campaign trail, claiming Beijing’s unfair trade practices were “raping” the US. Since taking office however, he has refrained from taking a hard line on China and often lavishing praise on Chinese president Xi Jinping.
While the statue is a transparent ploy to gain international attention, an employee who answered the phone at the mall claimed it was not meant to resemble Trump.
“It’s just a cute dog for our customers to see and take pictures with,” the employee said, declining to give her name.