US election: why China doesn’t mind its citizens watching democracy at work

US election: why China doesn’t mind its citizens watching democracy at work

The upcoming US presidential election, which has attracted strong interest in China, is a chance for Beijing to promote the superiority of its own political system.

Every morning since September, Frank Fu has started the day with a cup of coffee and news about the US presidential election. Fu, 45, a business analyst with an American financial institution in Beijing, has never been so keen to follow an election.

Although he lives behind “the Great Firewall” along with most of China’s 1.4 billion people, whose access to foreign media is largely blocked, Fu tries to form a picture of what future US-China trade relations will look like despite the mostly censored and limited information available domestically.

“As far as I know, many Chinese like me have an unprecedented interest in the election because China’s fate will be more intertwined with the United States and the next president will be a key person for [America’s] China policy,” Fu said. “I’m not deterred by the limited amount of information we can get here from Chinese media.”

China-US relations have plummeted to their lowest in decades as tensions have escalated over trade, technology, security, defence and human rights since US President Donald Trump took office in 2017.

It is widely believed the upcoming election results will have significant consequences for years to come for relations between the world’s two largest economies.