Eighteen days after Joe Biden was projected as the winner of the US election, Chinese President Xi Jinping officially sent over a message of congratulations. The move brought US politics back into public discourse, and Biden’s victory soared to the number one trending spot on Weibo.
Once acknowledged by the head of state, Biden’s win saw a resurgence of public interest, with many users expressing an amused state of “eating melon” rather than in-depth policy discussions (a slang term connoting entertainment, similar to the image of popcorn and a movie in the West).
Biden and Trump hashtags shot to the #1 and #4 trending spots on Weibo
“China has already welcomed Biden,” reads one top-voted comment. “They even have ‘For Biden City,'” playing on the Beijing cultural institution.
The Chinese public holds a good impression of Biden, who visited Beijing as US Vice President in August 2011, dining on noodles and steamed buns at Yaoji Chaogan restaurant. As Biden’s name jumped back to the forefront of online conversation, some users teased that his order missed out on the restaurant’s signature dish — stewed pork liver — and hoped that Biden would be able to try it on his return.
“There are lots of delicious flavors awaiting his arrival,” said restaurant owner Yao Yan after learning that Biden had been elected the 46th President of the United States.
On the other side, Trump’s “big mouth” also managed to draw attention on Weibo. Over the past four years, Trump-related memes have been doing the rounds in China.
“I think Trump is quite funny,” wrote one user. “Putting aside other things, I kind of ‘like’ this dude who refused to concede. After the election, I hope he can carry on the spirit of comedy, and make a greater contribution as a comedian than as the US president.”
How are Young Chinese People Reacting to the 2020 US Election?
Common posts expressed hopes that Biden would contain the US Covid-19 pandemic, and alleviate US-China tensions formed in the Trump era.
“Promoting healthy and stable development of China-US relations not only serves the fundamental interests of the people in both countries, but also meets the common expectation of the international community,” Xi said in a statement released by The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Cover image: Obama White House Archives
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