Millions on the social network Sina Weibo agree: It didn't impress ... but democracy does.
The U.S. presidential race between incumbent Barack Obama and his Republican challenger Mitt Romney has caught the attention of the Chinese, and the first presidential debate was no exception. The debate began at 9:00 a.m. in Beijing, but well beforehand hundreds on Chinese microblogging platform Sina Weibo posted comments, articles, live blogs and advice on where to stream it. One user said his teacher played it for the class.
The term "debate" had over 9 million mentions, and most of the recent posts referred to the U.S. presidential debate. A search for "Obama," in Chinese, 奥巴马, came up with over 19 million hits. A search for "Romney," 罗姆尼, came up with about 672,000 after the debate had finished.
While Chinese netizens seem to be following the election avidly, many were cynical about it and critical of both candidates. Some were impressed by Obama but said he seemed to have lost his edge since his election in 2008. A user namedzongfeng wrote, "When Obama answered questions he had prepared, he was extremely smooth and unconstrained but when answering ones he wasn't ready he very obviously lost points." Another by the name Xisi said, "Obama's debating is as bad as the New York Jets' offense. "