- Australian tycoon Clive Palmer delivers scathing tirade against China
- The insulting remarks widely condemned in China and Australia
- Many Chinese took to social media to back remarks, believing them to be about their government
Offensive remarks about China made by Australian tycoon and politician Clive Palmer have struck a chord on Chinese social media -- with some users actually seeing them in a positive light.
The outspoken leader of the Palmer United Party went on a tirade on Monday night during a televised interview on Australian television channel ABC.
When asked about his legal battle with Chinese firm CITIC Pacific Ltd, Palmer defended his position before launching into a verbal attack on China, calling the Chinese people "bastards" and "mongrels" who "shoot their own people."
"I'm saying that because they're Communist, because they shoot their own people, they haven't got a justice system and they want to take over this country [Australia]," said Palmer.
On Tuesday, Palmer clarified that his statements were meant for the Chinese state-owned company that he is locked in a dispute with, and not for the Chinese community or the Chinese government.
Palmer's words sparked outrage among Chinese and Australian citizens and officials -- though they did find support on Weibo, the Chinese micro-blogging platform.
"Please separate the Chinese people from the Chinese government. Smart people will know what he is really talking about," wrote one Weibo user. "If those who kill their own citizens aren't bastards, then what are they?"
"He [Palmer] was clearly referring to 'Communist,' not to China as a whole, and not about Chinese people. Global Times please do not take things out of context," wrote another microblogger, referring to an opinion piece published in the state-controlled English-language news outlet, Global Times.
The article described Palmer's rant as a "vicious attack by one of the Australian elite" and said that he had called "a whole country 'bastard.'" It also called for sanctions to be imposed on Palmer's companies.
Meanwhile, official voices continued to condemn the Australian businessman.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott called Palmer's outburst "over the top, shrill and wrong" during an interview with an Australian radio station. He said the Chinese economic boom helped Australia get through the global financial crisis.
"Palmer's words about China in recent days are totally irrational and absurd," Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement released on Wednesday.