Chinese State Media Fires Back at Trump, Twitter Users Turn to Mockery
Chinese Twitter users have been poking fun at the president-elect under #AskTrumpFirst, a reference to his recent outburst directed at their country.
President-elect Donald Trump's recent Twitter rant against China was met with an assertive rebuttal by the country's state media Tuesday.
In a series of late-night tweets over the weekend, Trump appeared to offer his version of a defense over his recent decision to communicate directly with the president of Taiwan — a breach of diplomatic protocol that many warned might strain relations with China, the United States' top trade partner.
Although China's response to Trump's Taiwan overture had been measured, with most of the fiercest criticism coming from foreign policy circles within the U.S., Trump directed his umbrage squarely at Beijing, tweeting: "Did China ask us if it was OK to devalue their currency (making it hard for our companies to compete), heavily tax our products going into their country (the US doesn't tax them) or to build a massive military complex in the middle of the South China Sea? I don't think so!"
During a press briefing in Beijing on Monday, China's foreign ministry spokesman said the country had voiced its displeasure over the remarks directly to Trump's team.
China's state media were more vocal in their condemnation, however.
"Trump can make a lot of noise but that does not exempt him from the rules of the major power game," said the authors of an op-ed in the Global Times, a state-backed paper. "He doesn't have sufficient resources to deal with China wantonly, the second-largest economy, the biggest trading country and a nuclear power," it added.
The People's Daily, the Communist Party's official mouthpiece, said in a front-page editorial Monday that "Trump and his transition team ought to recognize that creating trouble for China-U.S. relations is just creating trouble for the U.S. itself."
Although it had appeared that China might be willing to look beyond the Taiwan call, Trump's follow-up Twitter tirade has increased the likelihood that China will feel it has to respond to his provocation.
"If China behaves soft-heartedly for the greater good of the bilateral ties, it will only embolden Trump to be more aggressive," the Global Times argued.
"We must confront Trump's provocations head-on, and make sure he won't take advantage of China at the beginning of his tenure," the editorial went on.
Many Chinese social media users have accepted that challenge in a lighter vein, offering satirical rebuttals to Trump on his own turf: Twitter. Writing under #AskTrumpFirst, Chinese Twitter users have lobbed a bevy of insults at the president-elect. The hashtag is a reference to the curious beginning to Trump's late-night outburst: "Did China ask us if it was OK..."
Although Twitter is officially blocked in China, like all overseas social media platforms, internet users in the country are able to access the service by using virtual proxy networks (VPN).
Here are some highlights: