Argentine president's tweets on Chinese accent cause furor

Updated: 2015-02-05 16:20


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Argentine president's tweets on Chinese accent cause furor

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner waves as she stands with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a welcoming ceremony in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, February 4, 2015. [Photo/Agencies]

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Embattled Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, while on a state visit to China seeking badly needed investment, caused a furor Wednesday by joking about her hosts' accents on Twitter.

Fernandez tried to mimic a Chinese accent by switching "r's" with "l's" in a tweet in Spanish that translates as: "Did they only come for lice and petloleum."

A few minutes later, she added: "Sorry, the levels of ridiculousness and absurdity are so high they can only be digested with humor."

The tweets came as she met with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

As of late Wednesday, there was no official response from China about the comments by Fernandez, a prolific tweeter who has 3.53 million followers.

But that didn't stop the Twitterverse in the South American country and beyond from exploding with criticism of what many considered a racist tweet.

"Cristina Fernandez's lack of tack and respect is incredible," wrote (at)FaundezLafarga. "She goes to China looking for (economic) agreements and she makes fun of their accents."

(at)GuyChazan wrote: "Faux pas in China. Really, this sort of joke went out of fashion in the 70s."

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