Argentina's President Causes Outrage With Tweet Mocking Chinese Accent

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner P 2015
AP Images/Invision

The leader was on a trip to Beijing to get help for Argentina's struggling economy, inspiring one Chinese commentator to tweet: "You come to our country to ask for money, why don't you a little respect?"

Chinese webizens are outraged over what they view as an offensive tweet sent by the President of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner.

In the tweet, sent on Monday around the time of her meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Kirchner appears to mock the Chinese accent by substituting R's for L's in the words "rice," "petroleum" and "Campora," which is the youth wing of her political party.

It read: "More than 1,000 participants at the event ... Are they all from the Campola and only here for the lice and petloleum?"

In a subsequent tweet she said that it was "merely an attempt at humor." Despite a wave of criticism within China and around the world, the original tweet has not been taken down.

Kirchner was in Beijing on a four-day visit to negotiate a currency swap and to drum up investment for her country's struggling economy. The mention of Campora was said to be a reference to criticisms that she packs out events with her own supporters.

One online Chinese commentator, writing under the handle Tangchunyap, tweeted: "You come to our country to ask for money, why don't you show a little respect?"

Another, Jiao wuja de shaonian wrote on Sina: "How can she be so ignorant? It's not even the Chinese who mix up their R's and L's — it's the South Koreans and Japanese."

Some Twitter users in Argentina tweeted to express their embarrassment, urging Kirchner to stay in China and not bother coming back.

Others responded by attacking her over the death of Alberto Nisman, a prosecutor who died of a gunshot wound to the head shortly after he accused Kirchner's government of covering up a probe into the bombing of a Jewish Center in Argentina in 1994. Shortly before his death, he had signed an arrest warrant for Kirchner.