Chinese greeted Donald Trump’s victory with a mix of optimism and bemusement Wednesday, unsure how the US president-elect who demonised their country on the campaign trail would approach it once in office.
Communist-ruled China does not hold competitive elections of its own, and while most of Beijing went about its daily business, a few small groups of die-hard political fans gathered to watch the results come in.
Many started off expecting a win for Trump`s Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and were surprised to see the businessman take an early lead in polling.
At an event hosted by the US Embassy, two rooms full of people cheered excitedly when CNN announced Clinton had won California.
“That was expected,” a moderator, tasked with explaining the intricacies of the US election system, tersely informed them.
But as Trump`s victory looked assured, many in the room argued that the former reality TV star`s experience in business meant he would prioritise economic relations over thorny questions about security and human rights that they associated with Clinton`s time as secretary of state.
Despite Trump`s campaign promises to hit Chinese-made goods with a 45 percent tariff, teacher Zhang Meiyang said she thought “he will have some very friendly foreign policies towards China”.
Graduate student Ren Hong, 36, told AFP she found Trump “friendly, but also aggressive”.
He “might be a good president” domestically, she said, but was less sure how his presidency would affect her country.
“I think that he must take some actions that are not beneficial for China… but I think it`s a good chance for both China and America to build a new relationship,” she said.
Under Barack Obama, China and the United States have been at loggerheads over a wide range of issues including the South China Sea, cybersecurity and the Asian giant`s trade policies.
Solutions for massive global issues, such as climate change, will be unreachable without cooperation between the world`s two largest economies.