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Chinese State Media Keeps @-Ing Donald Trump On Twitter And It's Getting Testy

BuzzFeed News went through some of the Chinese government's state-run Twitter accounts to watch how China went from "gravely concerned" to just fed up.

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As it turns out, China is really not a big fan of President-elect Donald Trump's tweets at this point. "An obsession with 'Twitter diplomacy' is undesirable," read a headline on an op-ed from state-run Xinhua on Tuesday.

The trigger was this tweet, in which Trump threw shade at China, blaming the country for not holding its nuclear neighbor North Korea accountable.

China has been taking out massive amounts of money & wealth from the U.S. in totally one-sided trade, but won't help with North Korea. Nice!

"The common sense is that, diplomacy is neither a child's play nor a business," writes Liu Si, a Xinhua writer who covered the 2012 US election and longs for the old days of diplomacy.

Trump's Twitter obsession might've helped creating a new profession: Trump Twitter Monitor. South Korea has hired one, but Beijing is taking a different strategy — launching counterattacks via state mouthpieces.

Any form of trade war with China provoked by the US will hurt itself. @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/cfaaGDXGo0

BuzzFeed News looked through the Twitter accounts of China's state-run media — CGTN (formerly-known as CCTV), Xinhua, People's Daily, Global Times, China Daily, and China.org.cn — and located these tweets that directly tag Trump's account:

Dec. 7: On the precedence breaking phone call between Trump and Taiwan's President Tsai Ing-wen, the Global Times, the most outspoken tabloid, threatened that Trump would pay for his mistakes — with a tweet that failed to go viral.

#Trump will pay for his mistakes if he challenges China’s #coreinterests. @realDonaldTrump https://t.co/dfJRWAtD0F

Dec. 12: The People's Daily opted to be more subtle and warned the US president-elect that the country was "gravely concerned" about his "Fox News Sunday" remarks that the US doesn't have to be bound by the long-standing "One China" policy.

China is "gravely concerned" about US President-elect @realDonaldTrump's latest remarks on the one-China policy… https://t.co/KEeKFUj9i5

Dec. 13: This time the government highlighted a battle between a rich man and a really rich man, who threatened to cut his investments in the US.

China's richest man sent warning to @realDonaldTrump: curbs on Chinese investment in US will cost thousands of jobs… https://t.co/WzlVMyLoGH

Trump's assets are hard to pin down since he did not release his tax returns during the campaign but he's estimated by Forbes to be worth about $3.7 billion, whereas Wang Jianlin, China's richest man, owns assets worth $31.4 billion.

Dec. 19: China's foreign ministry started to lose patience and sent a message via the People's Daily: "We don't like the word 'steal.'"

"We don’t like the word ‘steal’, it's absolutely inaccurate", FM spokeswoman rejects @realDonaldTrump’s tweet… https://t.co/Wf3a7fwCfU

Dec. 23: Xinhua urged him to rethink his New Year's resolution to "greatly strengthen and expand" the US's nuclear capacity.

China urges US to cut nuclear stockpile after President-elect @realDonaldTrump tweets to expand nuclear arsenal… https://t.co/xPU8M3X0Ps

Jan. 3: The People's Daily @'ed Trump to point out that China-US trade is not "totally one-sided."

.@realDonaldTrump's claim that China-U.S. business ties are 'totally one-sided' is nonsense #VoiceofChina… https://t.co/hyHW9ywzwe

In fact, Chinese foreign direct investment in the US skyrocketed in 2016.

All of this shade does make one wonder though: just who is fanning these Twitter flames? Twitter, like many other American social media websites, is blocked in China — "404 page not found."

Weibo

As one Weibo user put it: "Twitter is a non-existent website, was Xinhua having an illusion?"

Beimeng Fu is a BuzzFeed News World Reporter covering China and is based in New York.

Contact Beimeng Fu at beimeng.fu@buzzfeed.com.

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