Secretary of State Condolezza Rice got a taste of horrendous anti-black attitudes in Asia, at least via the Internet, as she visted China.
On a major Chinese Internet discussion site, almost all of the posts were hostile and at least 10% of them expressed outright racism of a kind that would be confined to neo-nazi sites in America, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.
The Chinese government, ordinarily so quick to censor the Internet, made no effort to stop overtly racist, hate-filled comments about Rice.
There's speculation it may be China's way of deflecting anger toward America and away from sticky issues involving Hong Kong's local government becoming more assertive and other growing internal tensions.
Rice was especially diplomatic during her visit, keeping the rhetoric toned down, but that didn't stop China's government from using her for political target practice.
Isn't it interesting how America is the one always taking heat for racism, the truth is that it's one of the more tolerant places in the world, despite its shortcomings. It can be shockingly overt in most countries.
Some Free Republic posters, only half-jokingly, thought the comments on the Chinese board reminded them of the past rantings of Sen. Robert Byrd.
What bothers me is that this so far only seems to have been covered in Australia. Why wasn't the American media interested?
(Sydney Morning Herald-Hamish McDonald)
"How come the United States selects a female chimpanzee as Secretary of State?"
"This black woman thinks rather a lot of herself."
"She's so ugly she's losing face. Even a dog would be put off its dinner while she's being fed."
The 5000 years of civilisation on which the Chinese pride themselves were not so evident this week in the comments on Condoleezza Rice's visit to Beijing posted on the internet site "New Tide Net".
As monitored by the media analyst Liu Xiaobo, the overall tone of the 800 postings was hostile and about 10 per cent were racist, sexist or both, reflecting what Mr Liu calls a pervasive phobia here about dark-skinned races.
Similar undercurrents well up in neighbouring South Korea and Japan, which Dr Rice also visited on her introductory Asian tour as Washington's foreign minister.
Although Dr Rice's public comments here about the touchy subjects of Taiwan, North Korea and China's domestic freedoms were restrained, the visit capped a frustrating episode for the leadership.