China’s Twitter-like Weibo platforms exploded on Wednesday over Donald Trump’s unexpected win in the US election, with millions of users sharing stories and commenting on America’s choice for its 45th president.
Compared to the colourful, if often snide, comments on Trump’s victory and the pitfalls of democracy on Weibo, China’s first official comment on the result was staid.
China’s foreign ministry said it expected to make joint efforts with the new US government to maintain sustained, healthy and stable growth of bilateral relations, and benefit people of the two countries and the world.
Foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang made the remarks at a routine news briefing on Wednesday around the time when Trump was delivering his victory speech. “We are closely following the final result of the US election,” Lu said.
By late afternoon on Wednesday, Trump’s victory had become the top trending news on Weibo platforms under the title “Trump won”. News about the counting of votes was the most searched item on Weibo.
By the time Trump was declared the winner, his name had been searched more than 1.74 million times, and the count continued to rise rapidly.
Many comments on the election and counting were wry and took digs at democracy.
“In the coming four years, Americans will feel shameful when they see or talk about the president” - this comment by user Joe Wong was among the top in the “picked list” of comments on Weibo, with more than 2400 users commenting on it.
Another comment by Zhang Zhaozhong, a retired People’s Navy admiral, was circulated by many users. “No matter who wins, the new president will lead America from the peak to the slump,” Zhang said.
Many users called the victory “unexpected and amazing”. Some users posted funny videos of the election by changing the lyrics of patriotic Chinese songs.
“Thank god, we don’t use the referendum system in China or our president would Li Yifeng or Wu Yifan (both teen entertainment idols),” was another popular comment.
“(Trump is) the first American president without political experience before. As long as you have money and power, you almost have everything in America,” another user posted.
One Weibo user compared the result of the US election to Britain’s vote to leave the European Union: “This is such a drama, just like Brexit. They have carried it too far”.
The state media had earlier weighed in on the debate about how Trump and his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton were different.
“Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump represent two different concepts of governing a country…Republican candidate Trump will pursue conservative economic and social policies that reduce economic intervention and return to ‘traditional US values’," said a state media editorial.
“Externally, Trump will cut back on the US overseas presence and pull together domestic resources and energy to focus on building capability domestically,” it added.