China

China angered by Hillary Clinton tweet on women's rights

US Republican presidential candidate Hillary Clinton speaks in the gymnasium of Moulton Elementary School in Des Moines, Iowa, 22 September 2015 Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mrs Clinton has made women's rights a signature part of her presidential campaign

From calling her a "big mouth" to making Monica Lewinsky jokes, China has reacted furiously at US presidential candidate Hillary Clinton's recent comments about China's record on women's rights.

Mrs Clinton said in a tweet on Sunday that Chinese President Xi Jinping was "shameless" for hosting a United Nations conference on women's rights that day.

Image copyright Twitter / @hillaryclinton

Mr Xi has come under fire for hosting the summit as several women's rights activists were held earlier this year for planning a demonstration against sexual harassment on public transport.

Rights groups say several female human rights activists remain in detention.

Mrs Clinton has made women's rights a signature part of her campaign.

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Media captionActivist Lu Jun: "It would be a shame if the UN turned a blind eye to the repression"

'Rabble-rouser'

Chinese state media have taken care to cultivate an affable and lovable image of President Xi Jinping. Calling someone "shameless" is also a particularly bad insult in Chinese culture, which abhors "losing face".

State media on Monday thus unsurprisingly reacted with fury, with a strongly-worded editorial by The Global Times put out in both English and Chinese and carried widely in other local media outlets.

It accused Mrs Clinton of aping Republican candidate Donald Trump - who has himself made provocative remarks about China - in an attempt to gain votes through China-bashing.

In its English editorial, Global Times called her "a rabble-rouser" engaged in "ignonimous shenanigans" - but in Chinese it was even blunter: "It looks like Hillary is in a panicked frenzy, her eyes have turned red... She has started to copy Trump's speaking style and allowed herself to become a fierce big mouth."

"She really has lowered herself. Chinese people aren't angry at her, but we now despise her a little."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Trump talk? Chinese media compared Mrs Clinton to Mr Trump

News outlets also widely covered a response by the Chinese delegation in New York, that said the women's rights activists "were not arrested because they were advocating women's rights issues, but because their behaviour flouted Chinese laws".

'Lewinsky's in your bed'

Online, the reaction was more divided. Riled-up patriotic netizens on microblogging network Sina Weibo called her "an old witch" and made references to Monica Lewinsky, the former White House intern who had an affair with Bill Clinton.

"Hillary you should quickly rush home, Lewinsky is already in your bed with Bill. Why don't you mind your own business instead of talking rubbish about China," said user Lewubianzhong.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Blast from the past: netizens referenced Ms Lewinsky whose affair with former president Bill Clinton led to his impeachment trial

But others took her side, decrying the detention of the activists and the state of women's rights in China.

Said user wbxxxhhh: "Hillary wasn't criticitising the arrests of the activists, but instead was criticising their arrests on cooked-up charges."

"Chinese women don't even have the right to reproduce, let alone women's rights," said Te_leinijiangtui, in a reference to China's one-child policy.

It is not certain whether Mrs Clinton has taken note of the Chinese brouhaha yet - if she has, she has yet to give a direct response.

Her campaign team meanwhile continues to press on. One of their latest tweets stressed the importance of women's rights.

Image copyright Twitter / @hillaryclinton

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