‘The Trump reality show is over’: Chinese social media users react to Biden’s presidential win

Society & Culture

While most comments were celebratory, some people soberly reminded others that a peaceful transition of power was unlikely to happen, especially given Trump’s “desperate” attempts to paint the voting process as fraudulent.

Illustration by Derek Zheng

As Americans anxiously waited to find out who their next president would be last week, Chinese people were also closely following the race. And over the weekend, as soon as the news of Biden’s win came out, Chinese social media erupted in response to the outcome.

“It looks like most Americans have realized how terrible Trump is and exercised their rationality when casting their votes. Since Trump took office in 2016, he failed to make America great again and he has proved himself to be a joke. It seems that American people don’t want to be the butt of everyone’s jokes anymore,” a Weibo user wrote (this and all links below in Chinese). “This is the beginning of a new journey. American people did the right thing,” another user commented.

Biden’s victory speech on Saturday, in particular, has drawn compliments from Chinese observers, with many praising the President-elect for adopting a “professional rhetoric and manner” eschewed by Donald Trump. “This feels a breath of fresh air. I like the way he talks,” said one Weibo user. Others said that when it boiled down to looks, Biden was simply “more comfortable to watch.” “Honestly, Biden looks much better than that orange obese man,” another one wrote.

On Saturday, quickly after his victory speech, Biden’s name shot to the top of trending topics on various social media platforms. As of today, the hashtag “Biden” (拜登 bàidēng)has racked up a whopping 1 billion views on Weibo and been mentioned in more than 130,000 comments. Meanwhile, #“American election” ( #美国大选 měiguó dàxuǎn) #, the main hashtag used by Chinese internet users to discuss the election, has amassed over 12 billion views on Weibo.

While most comments were celebratory, some people soberly reminded others that a peaceful transition of power was unlikely to happen, especially given Trump’s “desperate” attempts to paint the voting process as fraudulent. “The win was easy. Now, the real challenge: How to kick Trump out of the White House?” a Weibo user said, while another wrote, “Trump should learn how to accept defeat like a real grown-up. This only gets more embarrassing for him the longer he throws a temper tantrum.”

Not everyone was delighted at Trump’s defeat, though. On Weibo, a number of commenters confessed that while they hated Trump’s anti-Chinese rhetoric and erratic behavior, his presidency was entertaining to witness, and that they would miss all the memes and jokes inspired by him. “Trump running America is the only reality show that I’ve followed closely. It pains me to say goodbye to it,” wrote an Internet user. “Trump lost his presidency. We lost a great comedian,” another one said.

Under his four-year tenure in the White House, Trump has blown hot and cold on China, calling Xí Jìnpíng 习近平 a “great leader” and hyping a trade deal at some times, and at other times casting Beijing as America’s main adversary, responsible for the disappearance of manufacturing jobs and then a “Chinese plague.” In the wake of Biden’s win, a number of Chinese people hoped that the President-elect would bring U.S.-China relations onto a more stable track — and ideally, heighten prospects for cooperation.

The optimism, however, wasn’t felt by everyone. Some skeptics raised the question as to whether a Biden White House would see China more as a partner than a threat. “It really doesn’t matter who’s the next U.S. president. China and the U.S. are destined to be strategic rivals,” a Weibo user wrote. “The only thing under our control ultimately is our determination to make China stronger.”