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Queen's China Gaffe: Beijing Newspaper Calls British Media 'Barbarians'

The Global Times described the U.K. media as “narcissistic” and “reckless,” and accused it of blowing the story out of proportion.
Queen Elizabeth II shelters from the rain under an umbrella at a garden party at Buckingham Palace in London, Tuesday.John Stillwell / AP

BEIJING — Chinese state media branded British journalists “barbarians” Thursday after Queen Elizabeth II was caught grousing about the behavior of Beijing officials during a state visit to the U.K.

The queen was caught on camera describing Chinese officials as "very rude" during a conversation with a senior police officer at an event celebrating the monarch's 90th birthday. Her remarks were widely reported.

The Global Times described Britain's media as “narcissistic” and “reckless,” and accused it of blowing the story out of proportion.

“[The British media] have retained the bad manners of barbarians,” the paper railed, before claiming that Sino-British relations were entering a new “golden era” that would not be affected by the incident.

The queen’s comments, which were initially censored in China, revealed tensions between British officials and their Chinese counterparts during president Xi Jinping's first state visit to the U.K. in October.

In China, social media users were largely unhappy with her comments.

“The queen’s words show us British arrogance,” declared one user on Weibo. “Is it polite to talk about people behind their backs?”

“This is the so-called British gentlemanly spirit,” wrote another user. “They act like gentlemen but indeed are racists.”