China welcomed Barack Obama as a youthful president-elect with the energy to tackle the financial crisis now threatening its economy and an ethnic heritage that could help America reach out to the rest of the world.
Excitement about the billion dollar race filtered down to the streets of Beijing on Wednesday, where ordinary Chinese citizens who have never voted themselves and some who could not even name the candidates embraced Obama’s message of change.
“The black guy is a good choice, he has so much more energy than the other one, who was far too old,” said Han Xue, a new father who runs a small cigarette and alcohol store and followed the results on a television behind the counter.
Update: The Wall Street Journal blog reports on the Chinese government reaction to Obama’s election:
“The Chinese government and I myself have always attached great importance to China-U.S. relations,” President Hu Jintao wrote in his message to the U.S. president elect. “In the new historic era, I look forward to working together with you to continuously strengthen dialogue and exchanges between our two countries and enhance our mutual trust and cooperation…”
Chinese officials have voiced no preference on the outcome, but Mr. Obama seems to have won greater popularity than his rival among those average Chinese who have paid attention to the election — even though his stance on trade issues has been tougher toward Beijing.
While the Hindu writes about the enthusiasm of Chinese youth, and especially netizens, for Obama:
But nowhere has the craze for Mr. Obama been more evident than on the Internet. On China’s hugely popular online Bulletin Board System or BBS discussion forums — 60 per cent of all Chinese college students use BBS — several thousand congratulatory messages were posted within hours of Mr. Obama’s victory.
Earlier this year, Mr. Obama was even named ‘Person of the Month’ on Baidu.com, China’s biggest search engine, for being one of the most searched personalities, reflecting the level of curiosity he has generated.
On China in Transition, Josie Liu translates some Chinese blogger’s comments on the election. The Huffington Post also reports: “China: Mixture of Hope, Skepticism Greet Obama Victory.”
Reuters video recorded the following video postcards from Beijingers for President-elect Obama: