Shrugging off Queen Elizabeth II's complaints about the rudeness of Chinese officials, an influential Chinese newspaper responded by attacking the British media for making such a fuss about the story.
The queen was caught on camera at a garden party this week lamenting how Chinese officials had been “very rude” to the British ambassador last year — walking out of a meeting to discuss arrangements for President Xi Jinping’s state visit.
The nationalist state-owned Global Times newspaper said relations between the two countries would not be damaged by the incident, arguing that a new "golden era" in ties was unshakable. But it said some frictions were only to be expected as ties deepened.
"It is not a big deal to complain in private," the newspaper said. "Chinese diplomats surely also complained about British officials privately."
The British media, though, had blown the incident out of all proportion, it argued, treating the story like a “precious treasure.”
"The reckless gossip-fiends in the media there, narcissistic and baring their fangs, seemingly retain vestiges of the inelegance of barbarians," the paper said.
"But with constant exposure to 5,000 years of continuous Eastern civilization, we believe they will make progress," it said in an editorial published in Chinese, but not in the paper’s English-language edition.
On Chinese social media, users argued that the queen was also rude to have complained, while some recalled a less rosy era in relations. "Don't you remember how your ancestors invaded us rudely?" one asked.
Britain is still remembered here less than fondly for the 19th century Opium Wars that forced China to accept opium imports from British-ruled India and to cede Hong Kong to Britain and many treaty ports to foreign powers.
"Yes we're rude, but we're rich," another wrote.
Coverage of the queen's remarks was initially blacked out on BBC World, the British broadcaster reported, although it was easily available online.
Writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Mary Dejevsky said it was clear that the incident involving British Ambassador Barbara Woodward still “rankled” the queen.
“Was this (a) a diplomatic gaffe, (b) an attempt to send a message to the Chinese or (c) a statement of fact? Perhaps all three,” she said. “But it is hard to argue, as some have tried to do, that it was of no importance.”
“For the rest of us, there is some satisfaction to be drawn perhaps from the glimpse behind the scenes of a state visit that clearly went less smoothly than the media coverage at the time led us to believe.”
Xu Jing contributed to this report.