BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese social media users watched election day in the United States with bemusement and mockery, as President Donald Trump complained of a “major fraud on our nation” and falsely claimed victory before millions of votes had been tallied.
“Whether he wins or loses, his final mission is to destroy the appearance of American democracy,” one user on China’s Twitter-like Weibo platform wrote on Wednesday.
“Let Trump be re-elected and take the U.S. downhill,” another wrote, while a third likened his premature declaration of victory to claiming the pot in a game of mahjong before the round is finished.
Communist Party-ruled China’s own leadership is chosen through an opaque, closed-door process.
Relations between China and the United States are at their worst in decades over disputes ranging from technology and trade to Hong Kong and the coronavirus, and the Trump administration has unleashed a barrage of sanctions against Beijing.
Chinese state media frequently call attention to negative news in the United States, and ahead of Tuesday’s voting showed images of shops that had been boarded up in anticipation of election-related violence.
“This kind of unrest is usually (a) complication of elections in poor countries, but people are worried it may appear in the US. The US is in degradation,” tweeted Hu Xijin, editor of the Global Times, a nationalistic tabloid published by the Communist Party’s People’s Daily.
He later mocked pre-election polling that had predicted a stronger showing by rival Joe Biden.
A popular meme circulating online showed an electoral map in the shape of China, coloured red to show Trump had 270 electoral votes. Many who shared the image believe a Trump win would mean chaos for the United States, to China’s benefit.
Beijing has not expressed a preference in the race.
“The U.S. election is a domestic affair. China has no position on it,” foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday.
(Reporting by Tony Munroe, Gao Liangping, Yew Lun Tian and Gabriel Crossley; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)