US presidential debate sparks discussion in China

The audience listens to instructions before the first Presidential Debate between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, USA, 26 September 2016. Photo: Andrew Gombert/EPA

China has been mulling the fierce duel between the two US presidential candidates Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton following Monday’s televised debate. 

On China’s largest social platform Weibo, the tag #USPresidentialElection [美国大选] received more than 650 million readers. The Chinese translated version of the debate video was broadcast just 10 hours after on the Internet, although state-run television CCTV didn’t air the complete debate.

“Maybe the only consensus the two candidates could find is blaming China,” a Weibo user commented when she found that the two candidates mentioned “China” 12 times in the 90-minute showdown.

It’s interesting to see that quite a lot of Chinese netizens approve of Trump, and have set up several online fansites for him. This perhaps makes many Westerners surprised because he has chided China's trade protection policy on many occasions.

However, the comments of some Trump supporters obviously carried a little satire: “Trump successfully proved that so-called ‘democracy’ is always controlled by elites and syndicates, so what’s the difference between China and America?”

“Many Chinese netizens like Trump’s anti-system image, even though it might not be true. This affinity might reflect many Chinese people’s deep desires for change in their own country, particularly in an era of huge economic and social inequalities,” an article published in The Diplomat said.

There's no dispute that China and the United States have different political systems and values, but to some extent, maybe something has struck a shared responsive chord in the hearts of the people in the two very different countries.

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