How did Chinese people take the Argentine president's mocking tweet?
A recent tweet by Argentine president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner mocking a Chinese accent during an official visit to China sparked criticism worldwide. But what was the reaction inside China?
In her tweet, Kirchner replaced mimicked the difficulty many Chinese speakers have in pronouncing the letter "r" in Spanish and other foreign languages. The president replaced "r" with "l" in the message.
As soon as the Global Times, a popular nationalist newspaper in China, posted the story on Weibo it got hundreds of comments. "At least China has the Chinese language. It's a shame that your country don't have your own language," wrote one user. Other commented: "Spanish speaking people are no better in speaking English." And one asked Fernandez to pronounce "Buenos Aires" in Chinese.
The reactions weren't overwhelming however, only numbering in the hundreds. Perhaps part of the reason why is because Chinese people don't have access to Twitter - social media is instead dominated by Chinese-only networks. Not Xiao Yueyue noted: "In fact, we are not angry, because… what is Twitter?" Others used the incident to criticise the Chinese government for banning the social media site. "By not opening doors to Twitter you miss the chance for the public to vent their wise counter-arguments," complained Primmm.
But about a third of commenters thought the whole issue was trivial. "No need to be angry with. Let's show our tolerance to it as a big nation," wrote Tangkeqing. And user Sen Wang said: "Don't be too sensitive. Aren't we Chinese often poking fun on the accents to our own folks in different regions?"
Minutes after Argentine president posted the comment - and over a thousand retweets later - Fernandez apologised with a new tweet. But she didn't sound too contrite. "Sorry. You know what? The levels of ridiculousness and absurdity are so high that they can only be digested with humour."
So far, the Chinese government hasn't reacted to the story.
Blog by Gabriela Torres
Translations and reporting by Zhuang Chen, BBC Chinese
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