American presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton has called Chinese President Xi Jinping “shameless” for hosting a United Nations women’s summit while five female rights activists remain imprisoned at home. Chinese state media hit back quickly, calling the former US first lady “low” and stating that she has turned into a “big mouth like Donald Trump.”

Photo: HKFP

In a Tweet on Sunday, Clinton said: “Xi hosting a meeting on women’s rights at the UN while persecuting feminists? Shameless.” The message included a link to a New York Times report titled “UN Summit Meeting on Women’s Rights Highlights More Tension Between US and China.”

Clinton also tagged a campaign called “Freethe20”, which calls for the release of 20 female human rights activists around the world, including three from China. The post was retweeted 728 times as of 10am Monday Hong Kong time.

Hours after Clinton posted the message, Chinese nationalistic tabloid Global Times hit back with an editorial denouncing Clinton for her “low trick” of China-bashing just to “please voters.”

“Hillary Clinton chose this sensitive time, the [September] 27th, to launch an attack on China using very provocative language. Her choice of words were vulgar and very rude, it reminds us of Republican presidential candidate ‘big mouth’ Donald Trump, who would say anything,” the Global Times editorial reads.

Global Times issued an editorial at around 1:30am Monday hitting back at Hillary Clinton. Photo: Global Times website screencap.

The newspaper said Clinton is jealous of Trump because he is getting a lot of attention and trying to learn from Trump’s speech style. “It seems like Hillary is alarmed and jealous, she abandoned her political demeanor and restraint as a former secretary of state and incumbent senator, moved herself closer towards Donald Trump’s ‘speech style’, just to make herself look alive and fresh.”

The editorial goes on to slam the American election culture, saying candidates often throw away their manner, attacking each other and attacking China to please voters.

It concluded: “Hillary learning from Trump, [she] really is lowering herself. Chinese people will not necessarily be angry with her, but we despise her now.”

A “Fake Sellout Crowd”

Meanwhile, Hong Kong media have noted that Xi’s speech at the UN was not as popular as it was depicted in the Chinese media. Apple Daily reported that, while Chinese media told their audience back home that “it was hard for journalists to squeeze in the room”, reality showed that the speech was sparsely attended with the room mostly empty.

Pope Francis’ speech at the UN and Xi’s speech at the UN.

The Hong Kong newspaper put a picture of Xi’s speech next to a picture of Pope Francis’ speech, which was better attended.

Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.