According to Hu Xijin, editor of China’s state-run Global Times, former Vice President Joe Biden has become a figure of great fascination for Chinese internet users who admire him as a “tenacious man.”
“Various articles introducing Biden’s life have become popular on the internet in China. The tragedy of him losing close family members has aroused sympathy among Chinese people. His failed bids for presidency in the past have also helped create an image of a tenacious man,” Hu wrote on Friday.
The official position of the Chinese government, and the official tenor of the conversation on its heavily-censored, government-approved social media sites, has long been that China has little preference in the U.S. presidential race and expected no major changes to U.S.-China relations if Biden won the election. If anything, Chinese social media accounts worked overtime during the last days of the U.S. election to convey the sense that they don’t support Biden and have no great expectations of him.
Chinese “netizens” were said to be curious about President Donald Trump, appreciative of his pragmatic outsider approach to politics, and disdainful of his opponent Hillary Clinton when Trump won the presidency in 2016. Their attitude toward Trump soured considerably after the U.S.-China trade war began, and especially after Trump highlighted China’s actions in spreading the Wuhan coronavirus.