Though no wide-scale opinion polls were conducted, anecdotally Obama seemed more popular among the Chinese public than Mr. Romney. In a BBC poll, the incumbent outpolled his Republican rival 3 to 1.
“I support the candidate who is friendlier to China, and that is Obama,” said Zhou Qiang, an accountant, as he returned to his office in downtown Beijing after lunch on Wednesday, soon after the election results became clear. “I hope he won’t hurt China’s interests in the future.”
Predictably, microblog commentators had some comparisons to make between the freewheeling US presidential election that unfolded just as Chinese leaders were preparing to open the 18th Communist Party Congress on Thursday, the culmination of a secretive leadership transition in which the Chinese public plays no part.
“Americans across the nation are voting,” tweeted Wu Shuilan. “But what about us? We all know the result before the voting starts; we are faster than them.”
But at an event organized by the US embassy in a fancy Beijing hotel, where US and Chinese citizens were invited to watch the election returns on Wednesday, even Chinese guests who had joined in the mock election by casting replicas of San Francisco ballots were uncertain whether the exercise was relevant to China.