Today I learned that in China Trump is (derisively) called "Comrade Nation Builder"--the nation referred to is not the US though, but China, in the sense/claim that Trump has built up Chinese nationalism too, with his decoupling policies.

Do any other US presidents have some common nicknames in China? E.g. does Biden?

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    N.B.: an article in The Economist that further delves into the etymology of that ("Comrade Chuan Jianguo: Chuan being a common rendering of Mr Trump’s surname, and Jianguo meaning “build the country”") also says that "Mr Biden may be known as Shui Wang, or Sleepy King, in China." However I cannot find other confirmations of the latter, so I'm not sure if "may be known" means The Economist is just projecting/suggesting something there, or if Biden is really called that in China by some. Commented Jun 4 at 20:10
  • I recall that in the Xi Jiping/ Winnie the Pooh memes (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_Winnie-the-Pooh_in_China) Barack Obama was depicted as Winnies friend Tigger.
    – quarague
    Commented Jun 5 at 7:07
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    @againstverylongusernames "Sleepy King" sounds like they've kind of adopted Trump's nickname for Biden, since he calls him "Sleepy Joe".
    – Barmar
    Commented Jun 5 at 19:53
  • Biden has nickname in Russia, "Бидон". Cant tell english variant, french language has word "Bidon" with same meaning. Commented Jun 10 at 5:26

1 Answer 1


Barack Obama is apparently sometimes called 奧觀海 (Ào Guānhǎi), where the first character sounds like the O of Obama and the other two mean "watching the ocean". Wiktionary reports:

The surname is a clipping of 奧巴馬/奥巴马 (Àobāmǎ, “Obama”), and the given name originated from a calligraphy given to Barack Obama during his trip to China in 2009 that contained the following four characters:

觀海聽濤/观海听涛 ― guānhǎitīngtāo ― Watching the ocean and listening to the roaring waves

This idiom-like phrase may be interpreted as a pun on the Chinese leadership, with “ocean” (海) referencing 中南海 (Zhōngnánhǎi, “Zhongnanhai; the central headquarters for the Communist Party of China”), and “roaring waves” (濤) referencing 胡錦濤 (Hú Jǐntāo, the Chinese president at the time), making this translate to “watching the central government and listening to President Hu”, something a Chinese ally would do.

See also Chinese Wiktionary, Baidu Baike, and a couple of references on Reddit; a web search for those characters will also show up lots of Obama pictures and references.

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