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Muzzled Chinese media frame Trump win as loss for ‘elite politics’

Mainland Chinese media described Republican Donald Trump’s win in the US presidential election as a defeat for elite politics and a potential source of great global uncertainty.

An editorial published by the Chinese-language Global Times, a tabloid under party mouthpiece People’s Daily, called the win a blow to “conventional US politics”.

“[Trump] beat not only [Democratic rival] Hillary Clinton, but also the convictions and authority of the traditional elite politics [that] she stands for,” the editorial said.

“The elite has never been standing more opposed to the middle and lower classes.”

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Another tabloid, The Beijing News, said Trump’s win would induce short-term sharp turbulence in the global stock market and possibly inflict serious blows to the global economy.

In an editorial, the newspaper said Trump had no political experience and often went back on his own words. It was very difficult for the outside world to know what his position was on major issues, it said.

“But of all the threats, the biggest one is the uncertainty,” the editorial said.

The authorities tried to limit coverage of polling day, ordering mainland websites to steer clear of live coverage or broadcasts and to avoid “excessive” reporting of the story, according to a source briefed on directives from mainland censors.

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Mainland media were also told by censors to report “in a timely manner” on any scandals during the presidential election and to criticise “in depth” political abuses, according to the source.

Beijing Foreign Studies University communications professor Qiao Mu said Beijing was trying to dictate the media narrative about the US election to discredit the process.

“They want to make the Chinese people believe that Western democracy is bad,” Qiao said.

State-run news agency Xinhua and People’s Daily had little coverage of the presidential election on Wednesday.

Major news websites, including QQ.com run by Tencent Technology, Sina.com, Sohu.com and 163.com run by NetEase, put information about the US election in secondary positions, giving top news slots to recent speeches by President Xi Jinping.