I never liked you and I don't really like Americans, China's senior most diplomat in the United Nations reportedly ranted drunkenly to his boss Ban Ki-moon at an official dinner in Austria last week.
Sha Zukang, 62, the UN undersecretary general for economic and social affairs, is being hailed on the Chinese Internet for what could go down as the most undiplomatic toast in recent UN history. "I know you never liked me, Mr Secretary General. Well, I never liked you either,” Sha was quoted saying on the website of Foreign Policy.
As colleagues reportedly tried to get him away from the microphone and while Ban Ki-moon smiled awkwardly, the diplomat singled out an American colleague saying, "I really don't like him; he's an American and I really don't like Americans," he reportedly said.
"You've been trying to get rid of me. You can fire me anytime,” he also told the boss.
Beijing is maintaining the diplomatic silence that was such a struggle for Sha. Asked about the incident on Thursday, China's foreign ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said she has not heard about it.
But on the government's own websites, Chinese netizens are raising toasts to the farmer's son turned diplomat. The forum of the state-run China Daily asked on Friday if Sha is a 'Chinese hero for saying he doesn't like Americans'. 'China's representative at the UN gets drunk but talks sense?' asked the forum of People's Daily, the Communist Party mouthpiece.