The state media, in particular, has fixated on protests in American cities – starting this summer with the Black Lives Matter demonstrations through the election-related protests – as evidence that American democracy is chaotic.

After Mr Biden won the Pennsylvania presidency, CCTV, the state broadcaster, broadcast videos of large crowds in Philadelphia and a heavy police presence on Saturday night. An anchor stated that there had been “not only verbal attacks, but also physical clashes” between Trump and Biden supporters. (In reality, there have been few reports of violent confrontations.)

Hu Xijin, the editor of the Global Times, pointed to Trump’s refusal to admit, on Weibo, a Twitter-like platform, that “American society is now deeply divided, creating the ground for further political derailments”.

The outlets had been stressing the potential for political violence all week when the vote plummeted. Since election day, the Chinese state media had shared photos of networked companies and police officers standing guard at polling stations.

Updated

Nov. 8, 2020, 2:19 p.m. ET

At the time of the race, the second best topic on Weibo was the drive-by shoot of two people taking part in a pro-Trump rally in Florida on Friday. Few posts mentioned that the shots fired were pellet bullets or that the two people were treated and released for minor injuries.

Some state-controlled outlets appeared to be reveling in the instability. Just minutes before Mr Biden’s race was scheduled on Saturday, People’s Daily, the official mouthpiece of the Chinese Communist Party, had mocked Mr Trump’s stated refusal to accept the election results.

Mr Trump had mistakenly tweeted about an hour earlier that he had won the election. The People’s Daily account retweeted this post and added the comment “HaHa” and a laughing emoji.

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