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Argentinian President Goes to China, Mocks Chinese Accents on Twitter

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Sorry. You know what? There is such an excess of ridiculousness and absurdity that can only be digested with humor. Otherwise, it's all very, very toxic. Image from Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner's Twitter account.

In a now infamous tweet, Argentinian President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner mocked the accent of Chinese people speaking Spanish during an official visit to the People's Republic of China, upsetting media and social media users around the world.

The president, who was accompanied by Argentinian entrepreneurs, intended to forge a strategic economic agreement with China while there, according to an official press release:

“La alianza estratégica y el intercambio comercial con China tendrán una fuerte participación del empresariado argentino”, afirmó la presidenta Cristina Fernández, ante empresarios chinos y argentinos, al cerrar las deliberaciones del Foro Empresarial Argentino-Chino.

La presidenta realizó su discurso este mediodía (la madrugada argentina), ante más de 100 empresarios argentinos y 400 chinos, al cerrar las deliberaciones del Foro Empresarial Argentino-Chino en el hotel Shangri-La, en Beijing, China.

“The strategic alliance and the commercial exchange with China will have the strong participation of the business world,” President Cristina Fernández told Chinese and Argentinian entrepreneurs at the close of deliberations at the Corporate Argentinian-Chinese Forum.

The president delivered her speech this noon (Argentinian early morning hours) in the presence of more than 100 Argentinian and 400 Chinese entrepreneurs at the end of the Corporate Argentinian-Chinese Forum at Shangri-La Hotel in Beijing, China.

The same day, the president published a tweet on her Twitter account making fun of the Chinese accent, in which she switched out the letter R in the words arroz (rice) and petróleo (petroleum) for an L:

Over 1,000 people attended the event… Are they all from “The Campola” and did they only come for the “lice” and the “petloleum”?…

Kirchner also stuck an L in “Campora“, a youth organization that supports Kirchner and supported the government of her husband, Néstor Kirchner, before her.

Only a minute later, she tweeted:

Sorry. You know what? There is such an excess of ridiculousness and absurdity that can only be digested with humor. Otherwise, it's all very, very toxic

In Argentina, where people are still reeling over the suspicious death of attorney Alberto Nisman, who was hours away from testifying against Kirchner's government, accusing her and others of corruption, the head of state's tweet generated a whirlwind of reactions. 

Journalist Jorge Lanata gave his message to Kircher — “Crook. Robber. Good-for-nothing. Corrupt” — the same treatment:

Clook. Lobbel. Good-fol-nothing. Colupt.

Others tweeted: 

Ignorant, stupid and racist, a jewel, come on. And she is the representative of a country, poor Argentinians.

In China, Twitter is restricted, so I think it's in bad taste to speak badly of people who went to see her using a medium that.

Argentinian journalist Andrés Oppenheimer doubted that Chinese people would be pleased with the message.

But messages of support soon rolled in:

So right! Pessimistic and despicable people have to be digested with much joy. I admire your strength!!! Go for it, president!!

You go, Cris, hopefully you'll be ruling us many more years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In the post titled “Like this speak Chinese, Chinese speak like this,” the blog Relato del Presente (Accounts of the present) shared Kirchner's good mood following controversial tweet:

Del mismo modo que la rebeldía, el humor desde el Poder no es humor. Es gastada, tomada de pelo, bullying, falta de respeto; es cualquier cosa, menos humor. No causa gracia. Y esto es así porque el humor es rebelde. Podrá ser anárquico, negro, sucio, inocente, exagerado, simple o absurdo, pero es la forma de sobrellevar las desgracias entre las cuales se cuenta al Poder mismo. 

As happens with rebellion, humor from the Power is not humor. It's worn out, it's pulling someone's leg, it's bullying, it's disrespect; it's anything at all but humor. It's not funny. And this is because humor is a rebel. It might be anarchic, black, dirty, innocent, overkill, simple or ridiculous, but it's the way to endure the pains among which there is the Power itself.

Microblogging service Weibo, popular in China where Twitter is blocked, was quick with reactions towards the president's tweet, as well:

阿根廷总统访华期间在推特上对我们老大开了一个极具冒犯性的玩笑。这女人活腻了吗?

During her visit, the Argentinian president made a very offensive joke at our expense. Is she tired of living?

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