Another user, called “gw1710,” after watching the final American presidential debate, wrote: “It's an election for them (Americans), but it’s an internal decision for us. How do you compare? …The rich keep getting richer, the poor are getting poorer. I really don't want to stay in this country.” And a Netizen, calling himself “Guliyeweiqi,” posted on weibo: “Although Mainland China is a one party state, competitive elections … should still be adopted here. But that’s just some luxurious dream.”
The fact that the Chinese public was watching the American campaign and openly pining for the same thing in their country became so worrisome to the country’s Communist rulers that they decided to launch a counterattack. A spate of commentaries and editorials in the tightly-controlled state-run media—the opposite of the freewheeling, publicly-accessible weibo—have cautioned China’s citizenry not to be lured by the spectacle of American-style political theater.
The Global Times, a fire-breathing America-bashing nationalistic tabloid owned by the Communist Party’s main mouthpiece, People’s Daily, ran an unsigned commentary entitled “Beauty and Beast of democracy displayed in debates.” The commentary conceded that the reaction from many Chinese to the U.S. presidential debates “showed their admiration for U.S.-style democracy.” But it warned that the American system of electing leaders “has its risks in other parts of the world.” China, it concluded, “was charting a democratic road for itself.”
The reasons China’s Communist rulers insist their country can't abide a more open democratic process are familiar cliches by now. China is still developing, and democracy is a luxury of the more advanced Western nations. Chinese people care more about getting a good job, finding decent housing, and educating their children. And of course there is the old “Asian values” meme; that democracy runs counter to East Asia’s paternalistic Confucian tradition.