Last week, Donald Trump took it one step further to keep travelers to the U.S. in check. According to Politico, Chinese visitors holding long-term U.S. business and visitor visas will be asked online to provide their social media “handles”. It is, however, unclear if Chinese social media sites like Wechat and Weibo will be included since the internet firewall built by Chinese government actually makes it almost impossible for Chinese people to access popular social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Besides, the intention behind this notice is also yet to be confirmed.

But what is under the veil of Chinese social media? How actively are Chinese on the social media sites, which are seen as the signs of democracy in china, talking about Trump?

Background

The Chinese government initiated the Great Firewall of China back in 1998, 4 years after the Internet became a permanent basis in China. Since then, China has developed its own internet system--Baidu to replace Google, Youku to replace Youtube, Weibo to replace Twitter, Wechat to replace Whatsapp, and so on. The government censorship “inside of the firewall” has been a hot target for Western liberal critics.

Most tweeted issue

Based on Weibo's official keyword analysis system, both “Trump” (the blue line) and “川普” (the green line), Chinese people's nickname for Trump, have been searched and mentioned much more often than “Hillary” (the red line) in the past 3 months.

On average, “Trump” and “川普” are mentioned or searched on Weibo about 4,000 times a day. It is also to be noted that in China, people prefer calling Donald Trump by his last name and Hillary Clinton by her first name.

Here are some dates when Weibo users actively tweeted about Trump and the most retweeted relevant content on those days:

Nov 22, 2016: Trump’s plan to quit TPP

Dec 3, 2016: Trump’s call with Taiwan that threatened America’s stance on the “One China” policy

Jan 10, 2017: Trump’s meeting with Alibaba’s Jack Ma

Jan 21, 2017: Trump’s inauguration, although the most retweeted post on his inauguration is about Bill Clinton checking out Ivanka Trump

Jan 29, and Feb 5, 2017: Trump’s executive order to ban travelers from 7 Muslim-majority countries

Demographic

In the “Interest by Region” graph above, Beijing, Guangdong, Shanghai are the places where Trump is talked about the most.

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More specifically, 13.22% of people living in Beijing, 7.69% in Guangdong, and 7.19% in Shanghai have tweeted about “Trump”, and roughly the same percentage of people tweeted about “川普”. If we take a deeper examination, the more liberal, open, and economically prosperous the regions are, the more likely they are to post Trump-related “tweets”.

However, it is also important to note that this phenomenon by no means represents the region’s preference or disdain for Trump or Hillary.

Gender

More men than women tweet about “Trump” and “川普”. Unsurprisingly, more women than men tweet about Hillary by a substantial margin.

Age

In general, people from age 19 to 34 are fond of tweeting about Trump and Hillary. The data perfectly reflect the opinions of the “80s” and “90s” generation, a Chinese way to say millennial, who are progressively more open to western ideas and ideologies.

General

On Weibo, Chinese talk about Trump as less of a politician than a public figure. No conclusion can be drawn simply by these numbers to determine whether Chinese people on social media prefer Trump to Clinton.

That said, Trump has not been taken very seriously by Chinese internet users. So what do Chinese social media users think of Trump in general? Perhaps Madame Fu Ying, chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People’s Congress of China, answered this question during the China-US Forum at New York University on Dec 1, 2016 saying, “Does Trump realized that the whole world is listening?”