BEIJING (AP) — A judge in China's top court has labeled Donald Trump an enemy "of the rule of law" over his insults directed at a U.S. judge who temporarily blocked the president's travel ban, saying Trump had set a poor example as head of the world's leading democracy.
Supreme People's Court Judge He Fan's blog post came after Trump went on Twitter on Saturday to denigrate James Robart as a "so-called judge" whose "ridiculous" decision opened the country to potential terror attacks.
In his post, dated Sunday, He wrote that under the U.S. system's separation of powers, a president who is dealt a judicial defeat should bear the loss silently rather than lash out at the judge in question.
The widely reported controversy surrounding Trump's ban follows recent remarks by China's top judge that the concept of judicial independence was an "erroneous Western ideal" unsuited to China — seen as a demand for obedience from the ruling Communist Party's leaders. Those comments have reignited a debate on the topic within China's legal community, which is in general tightly bound to uphold the party line.
He, an expert on the American justice system, did not voice his thoughts in that debate, although he frequently offers opinions on matters foreign and domestic. He published a lengthy and widely read paean to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia following his death last year.
He said Trump had set a poor example and lost respect for having "led the way in insulting a judge, with the vice president and his political party swarming to his defense (and) in a country known as the most democratic and most respectful of the rule of law."
"The president who would curse a judge and the thug who would kill a judge are both public enemies of the rule of law," He wrote, referencing the recent murder of a retired judge in southern China.
"Who cares that you control the armed forces and have nuclear weapons at your disposal. Your dignity has been swept away and you are no different than a scoundrel," He wrote.
Trump had been considered by many in China as preferable to Democratic Party candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was seen as taking a harder line toward Beijing. However, Trump has also raised concerns over his comments on Taiwan, trade and other issues seen as diverging from long-established U.S. policy toward China.
The divisive U.S. presidential campaign and seeming chaos of Trump's first three weeks in office have also provided the ruling Communist Party with new grist for its claims that China's authoritarian one-party system is the best way for the country to ensure economic growth and social stability.