Quote of the Day: “Still Not As Good As a Certain Someone Who Was Reelected Unanimously.”

Following Sunday’s carefully controlled and largely predetermined election, Russian President Vladimir Putin has been reelected with nearly 88 percent of the vote. With years of legal and administrative harassment having weeded out any real rivals to Putin, leaving only token challengers, the result came as little surprise. Thousands of Russian voters lined up at polling stations exactly at noon to participate in a symbolic show of defiance known as Noon Against Putin,” while others sought to express their support for recently deceased opposition leader Alexei Navalny by writing his name on their voting slips or visiting his grave in Moscow to symbolically cast their vote for him. The election was condemned as unfair and undemocratic by a long roster of Western governments, while China, India, and North Korea offered Putin their congratulations. 

Much of the Russian election coverage on Weibo was laudatory, with many verified users posting fulsome praise, but there were some dissenting voices—including this Weibo comment archived by CDT editors:

“Still not as good as a certain someone who was reelected unanimously.”

– Comment from Weibo user 我的名字叫做_an, jocularly comparing the news that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been reelected with nearly 88 percent of the vote to Xi Jinping’s 2023 unanimous and uncontested “reelection.” [Chinese]

In March 2023, China’s rubber-stamp National People’s Congress unanimously reelected Xi Jinping to a third five-year term as President. (His third term as General Secretary had already been confirmed the previous October at the 20th Party Congress.) The vote was 2952 for, none against, and none abstaining. Xi’s appointment to an unprecedented third term as president was made possible by 2018 revisions to the Chinese constitution that repealed term limits adopted after the Cultural Revolution. The entire process was so contentious that there was a notable increase in online censorship designed to quash discussion of the unanimous vote. For example, Weibo searches for the hashtag #2952#, the number of votes Xi won, were initially blocked and later restricted to results from verified state- and Party-affiliated accounts. Weibo searches for the term, “the People’s choice,” which Party outlets used to celebrate Xi’s election, similarly only returned results from verified accounts. Party mouthpiece People’s Daily even censored its own 2011 essay in which it had warned: “If the people’s will continues to be hijacked through ‘unanimous elections,’ it will fuel public resentment.” Xi’s reelection, praised by state media as another triumph for China’s “whole process democracy,” was characterized by exactly the sort of widely derided unanimous elections (全票当选, quánpiào dāngxuǎn) that Xi Jinping himself had warned against in 2003

Alexander Boyd contributed to this post.


Subscribe to CDT


Browsers Unbounded by Lantern

Now, you can combat internet censorship in a new way: by toggling the switch below while browsing China Digital Times, you can provide a secure "bridge" for people who want to freely access information. This open-source project is powered by Lantern, know more about this project.

Google Ads 1

Giving Assistant

Google Ads 2

Anti-censorship Tools

Life Without Walls

Click on the image to download Firefly for circumvention

Open popup

Welcome back!

CDT is a non-profit media site, and we need your support. Your contribution will help us provide more translations, breaking news, and other content you love.