The Philippines’ top diplomat apologized on Sunday for Twitter posts on Mao Zedong, the founding father of the People’s Republic of China, including referring to the revolutionary leader as “burnt rice.”
In a tweet two weeks ago, Philippine Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin called the Chinese revolutionary Mao Che “Tutung,” which means burnt rice in the Filipino language. In a separate tweet on Oct. 11 while reacting to a challenge by left-leaning groups for leaders to use public transport, Locsin said the point of communism is “to take power and unleash a famine like Mao did.”
Locsin, known for his colorful words, apologized to China and its ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, for using Mao’s name “in vain.”
The Philippines under President Rodrigo Duterte has improved its ties with China and tapped Chinese funds for infrastructure projects amid a territorial dispute between the two nations in the South China Sea.