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Websites buzz as Chinese log on to election fever
By Zhu Zhe (China Daily)
Updated: 2008-11-06 08:04

Comments and opinions, pictures and sentiments flashed across Chinese websites Wednesday, just moments after Democratic candidate Barack Obama clinched victory in the US presidential election.

The dramatic poll headlined across the country's top news portals, ousting even reports of the historic visit by a senior mainland official to Taiwan.

By Wednesday evening, a video of Obama's first speech as president-elect had been viewed on more than 310,000 times.

Chen Guodong, senior editor at, said: "We put the US election coverage at the top of our news page, because Chinese people care about it. It's based on the importance of the news and its popularity among the viewers."

Unlike four years ago, when most election stories used nothing more than words and pictures, Wednesday's coverage was clearly a child of the Web 2.0 era. Videos, games, blogs and polls all combined to make the topic more attractive than ever to the average Chinese, unfamiliar with the ins and outs of US politics.

Super-fast Internet connections and rapid translations also ensured people received up-to-the-minute news.

Sohu and announced Obama's win in Chinese just two minutes after CNN declared it in English. Moments later, the message was sent to subscribers to mobile phone newspapers across the country.

"We closely follow CNN, the BBC and Reuters, which are faster than other foreign media in reporting the election," Chen said.

"We have staff with excellent English, and we also invited bloggers from around the globe to write for us."

Not surprisingly, much of the election coverage related to Chinese issues, and online debates were soon under way on over issues of foreign policy, economics and trade, Taiwan and human rights.

Most of the comments posted at online bulletin boards and forums expressed support for Obama.

"I hope he can bring peace to the US and the world," a post on Youku read.

Another, on the popular online forum, claimed the poor leadership of George W. Bush had contributed to Obama's success.

Some people even played with words once spoken by former Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, changing the phrase "Black cat, white cat, who cares as long as it can catch mice?" to "Black or white, who cares as long as he can improve the US".

But not everyone was so optimistic about the future.

One skeptical visitor to Tianya wrote: "No matter how much diversity Obama represents, he will act as the president of the United States, based on the interests of the United States.

"So don't expect too much."