China refers to Australia as a 'second-class citizen' in the West as Olympics drug row escalates
Australia is the "second-class citizen" of the West and unrestrained in its "white supremacy", Chinese state-run media has claimed in response to an escalating Olympics row over the countries' champion swimmers.
An editorial published by Communist Party-backed Global Times also referred to its trading partner down under's convict history and labelled its awareness of sports ethics as "as low as that of a young and brash kid".
The lashing commentary came as Australia's own media chose to back champion swimmer Mack Horton as "our clean machine", after he referred to his Chinese rival Sun Yang as a "drugs cheat".
Horton's comments first emerged in Australian media on Saturday, hours before he beat the Chinese swimmer in the men's 400m freestyle final. Sun served a three-month suspension two years ago for using a banned stimulant, which he claimed was treatment for a heart issue.
Chinese social media was flooded with the hash-tag #SunYangDontCry when he broke down in tears after the race, despite claiming the silver medal. The Chinese champion went on to win gold in the Men's 200m freestyle.
In an editorial post titled "Smug Aussie swimmer won't cloud Rio", the Global Times praised the Chinese Swimming Association's call for Australia to force Horton to apologise for his "rude and irresponsible words" as a show of "the unity of Chinese society and the people's human touch" and lashed out at Australia's "aberrant" response:
"From China's perspective, Australia, an English-speaking and developed country, is a typical part of the Western world. But actually, Australia has always been a "second-class citizen" in the West, and many people from Western Europe, especially the UK, feel condescension toward Australians.
"Australia used to be a land populated by the UK's unwanted criminals, and this remains a stigma attached to Australian culture. Eager to be completely accepted by the Western world and afraid of being overlooked, Australia has grown docile and obedient in face of the US and the UK.
"However, in front of Asian countries, it cannot help but effuse its white supremacy. The tangle of inferiority and superiority has numerous reflections in Australia's foreign exchanges.
"We don't have to take seriously the tinge of barbarism that comes out of some Australians, nor should we pay keen attention to some vindictive provocations. "
The editorial followed up the lashing on a calmer note, urging China to ignore the entire episode and concentrate instead on its own path of development: "This trifling botheration won't ruin our beautiful memories of this grand event."
Australia's Daily Telegraph weighed in with an editorial titled "Our clean machine fights dirty dopers" and the Australian Olympic Committee defended Horton's comments.
The row is the latest in a growing history of diplomatic skirmishes between China and Australia, which depends heavily on the emerging Asian superpower to bolster its resources-heavy economy. Chinese investment down under reached A$15billion in 2015.
Last month the Global Times denounced Australia for showing "blunt double standards" over the South China Sea and threatened that if the country stepped into the waters "it will be an ideal target for China to warn and strike".
The election of former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, a fluent Mandarin-speaker, in 2007 was heralded as a potentially new era of closer Sino-Australian relations.
But the excitement was short-lived, as Rudd offended the Chinese by commenting on human rights problems in Tibet during a speech to students at Peking University. Tensions reached a peak in 2009, following the arrest in Shanghai of Australian mining executive Stern Hu, who was accused of spying.
Footage later leaked of Rudd losing his temper while practising a speech in Mandarin, referring to "those d***heads in the embassy". He also reportedly referred to the Chinese as "Ratf******" while talking to journalists in 2009.