Uproar in mainland over US embassy's barking mad post

Top News | REUTERS 7 May 2021

The resumption of US visa applications for students in China got off to an acrimonious when online users took exception to an American embassy social media post they interpreted as likening Chinese to dogs.

On Weibo, the embassy's visa section asked students what they were waiting for after the Biden administration eased restrictions.

"Spring has come and the flowers are in bloom. Are you like this dog who can't wait to go out and play?" said the post in Chinese, which was accompanied by a video of an excited puppy trying to climb over a safety gate.

The post drew an angry backlash from some Weibo users, however, who felt the comparison was inappropriate. The post was later deleted.

"Is this American humor? I believe they did it on purpose!" one user wrote.

"Dogs in American culture basically have positive meanings, but in Chinese culture and idioms, they are mostly negative," wrote another.

Others said the students' "master" was now calling them back to the United States.

State-run Global Times also cited online users as saying the post was "blatant racism."

A US embassy spokesman in Beijing issued an apology yesterday. The post was "meant to be light-hearted and humorous," he said. "We took it down immediately when we saw it was not received in the spirit we intended."

It is not the first time animal-related remarks have sparked a backlash in China. In 2019, a senior economist from UBS was placed on leave after comments about pigs in China were perceived by some as a racial slur.

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