Chinese social media has fun with U.S. presidential debates in song

As U.S. voters gear up for the third and final presidential debate between former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and businessman Donald Trump on Wednesday, Chinese social media has been having fun, with an irreverent look at this U.S. tradition.

Chinese social media users on Weibo, especially Chinese international students in the United States, reacted humorously to the candidates’ actions and gestures — comparing them to people singing love songs.

Humor has been one way for young Chinese people to engage with the U.S. debates. During the second debate on Oct. 9 (which was the morning of Oct. 10 in Beijing), #ThePresidentElectionOf2016 was being discussed over 9 million times on Weibo, which is the Chinese version of Twitter.

Right after the second debate, a post containing a series of photos of Clinton and Trump started going viral, because the candidates looked like they were singing. Weibo users added lyrics of the song “Xiaojiuwo” by singer J.J. Lin on each photo.

Photo from @英国宝姐. The most popular tweet that contained the love song series of Clinton and Trump was retweeted right after the debate over 40,000 times. (Screenshot via Weibo.)

User @我不转弯不转弯转弯弯 said to her friends, “how interesting is that Clinton and Trump were against each other; but in these photos they looked like a lovely couple.”

Another Chinese user also created a music video which was posted to YouTube.

Jingyuan Dai, a first year graduate student at the University of Washington majoring in Computational Finance and Risk Management, discussed the debate with other Chinese international students.

Jingyuan hasn’t really paid attention to which candidate had a better chance to win, but the humorous discussion got her attention.

“I actually paid attention more toward to the entertaining side, such as the love song series. Meanwhile, how the candidates acted during the whole debate was more interesting for me to look up afterwards,” she said.

Jingyuan said that she was not able to watch it live, but she got information about the debate from social media. Jingyuan also enjoyed reading comments on Facebook since she could get a sense from how American people thought about the debate as well.

“As an international student, I would to pay attention to the election only if there is an issue that is related to international students,” she said. “Other than that, I think that the debate actually reflects the culture and society of the country. Those things (culture and society) attract me most, as well as the entertaining images.”