Chinese social media reactions to Joe Biden’s inauguration

Foreign Affairs

Social media users around the world reacted today to the end of the Trump presidency, and China was no exception. Weibo users cracked jokes, remarked on Biden's tough job ahead, and expressed skepticism that anything would change in U.S.-China relations.

U.S. President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden wave as they arrive at the North Portico of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. January 20, 2021. Alex Brandon/Pool via REUTERS

Joe Biden’s unusual inauguration ceremony today as the 46th President of the United States — amid the ongoing coronavirus crisis and heightened physical security risks — had the whole world watching, including Chinese internet users who tuned in via live coverage at China Central Television, the country’s state broadcaster. 

Below, we rounded up some of the best reactions to Biden’s inauguration that Weibo has to offer:

1. The highly anticipated successor note from Trump

Despite refusing to explicitly concede to Biden and skipping the inauguration of his successor, Trump, in a surprising move, did carry out one tradition of outgoing American presidents: He reportedly left behind a note for Biden in the Oval Office, though the contents of the note are not yet known. So naturally, Weibo users took this news and ran with it.

“The note reads: ‘Wifi password is 88888888.’”

“Biden, Twitter will get in your way of running the country. Don’t spend too much time on your phone!”

“The note says: ‘Please pardon me for the sake of Jesus.’”

“Trump: Can someone please give back my Twitter?”

“Trump sealed the envelope with his saliva. Biden contracted COVID-19 and died.”

2. Trump, as a joke, is deeply missed by many 

During his presidency, Trump — with his unhinged Twitter rants and erratic behavior — was an excellent source of entertainment for Chinese internet users. When the news of Trump’s election defeat came out, a number of Weibo users said they would miss all the memes and jokes about him. Now, in the wake of his official departure from the White House, many hoped he would stay in the picture in some form for entertainment purposes.

“Going forward, there will be fewer things to poke fun at.”

“Trump, today is the first day I miss your international performance.”

“Farewell, king of comedy.”

“Even the finest feast must break up at last. It has come time to say good-bye to Trump.”

3. A tough job for Biden

Biden is one of the most experienced U.S. presidents ever to be inaugurated, but he has to face a host of historic challenges on his very first day in office, including a deadly pandemic and a struggling economy. Many Weibo users acknowledged that he’s got one hell of a tough job on his hands. Some said this might all be too much for someone his age. 

“Poor guy. A 79-year-old man has to run this supersize country hit hard by COVID-19.”

“A patient with dementia has been replaced by a man who’s almost in his eighties. Can the presidential election set an upper age limit?” 

“There’s a number of complex problems for Biden to deal with. This is such a demanding job for a 78-year-old.”

4. Biden’s inauguration is hardly a new dawn for U.S.-China relations

When it comes to the prospect of U.S.-China relations during the Biden-Harris administration, most comments on Weibo strike a cautious tone. 

“A wolf was sent away, and a tiger came in. Biden’s attacks on China will be worse than Trump’s!”

“Nothing really changed for us. Now we have a new hooligan to deal with.”

“The transition of power in the U.S. has absolutely nothing to do with me. I just want to go home for Chinese New Year.”