Chinese state-owned media China Daily's EU Bureau Chief Chen Weihua has gotten into a very public argument on Twitter with American Senator Marsha Blackburn.
Twitter spat between U.S. Senator and Chinese journalist
Blackburn had sent a tweet on Dec. 3 thanking United States President Donald Trump for "banning cotton produced by forced Uyghur labour".
Thank you @realDonaldTrump for banning cotton produced by forced Uyghur labor. The U.S. will not support companies that profit off of slave labor.— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) December 3, 2020
But she criticised China in a subsequent tweet, claiming that the country "has a 5,000 year history of cheating and stealing".
China has a 5,000 year history of cheating and stealing. Some things will never change...— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) December 3, 2020
In response to Blackburn's tweet, Chen wrote:
Bitch— Chen Weihua （陈卫华） (@chenweihua) December 3, 2020
Less than 30 minutes later, Chen sent another tweet in response to the same statement:
This is the most racist and ignorant US Senator I have seen. A lifetime bitch.— Chen Weihua （陈卫华） (@chenweihua) December 3, 2020
"This is the most racist and ignorant U.S. Senator I have seen. A lifetime bitch," Chen wrote.
Responding to Chen's remarks, Blackburn hit back at Chen with yet another scathing tweet, calling him a "puppet in Xi Jinping's delusional China dream for global domination".
Chen, you’re a puppet in Xi Jinping’s delusional China dream for global domination. From Tiananmen Square to Uyghur genocide, Communist China is an expert at slaughtering populations. America will not bow down to sexist communist thugs. https://t.co/PrRyTlpnFc— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) December 3, 2020
She also called the country "an expert at slaughtering populations".
In yet another response to the same tweet, Chen called Blackburn a "lowlife".
Wonder why the US Congress would have approval rating as low as 9% (according to Gallup)? It is because people like lowlife Marsha Blackburn were there.— Chen Weihua （陈卫华） (@chenweihua) December 3, 2020
Both continued retweeting other tweets that supported their individual points of view.
Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of nationalistic state-affiliated media Global Times, has responded to Blackburn too, likening her "cognitive level" to that of a "monkey's".
When the Chinese were forming civilization, fighting against cheating and stealing, the ancestors of the Americans had not completely got rid of the nature of monkeys. The US is modernized today, but the pity is why this senator’s cognitive level is still as low as a monkey’s. https://t.co/NtCE8bj5RY— Hu Xijin 胡锡进 (@HuXijin_GT) December 4, 2020
Blackburn is a junior Senator for Tennessee, a Republican state in the U.S., after she was elected in 2018.
She has been vocal in her support of Trump, and is known for her highly critical views of China.
Chen’s behaviour can be seen as part of the wider trend of Chinese wolf warrior diplomacy, with the latest prominent episode being online attacks on Australia by the Chinese foreign ministry’s spokesperson earlier on Monday (Nov. 30).
While such behaviour might carry an audience cost beyond the Chinese borders, it is often condoned and even rewarded by the state, which caters to domestic audience with strong rhetoric.
Top image via Chen Weihua/Twitter, Getty Images