By Farah Master
HONG KONG (Reuters) – A group of Chinese female economists who met with U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen over the weekend have been lambasted on Chinese social media by some netizens who accused them of treason for meeting her and being “radical feminists”.
Yellen, a trailblazer in the field of economics, had lunch with six female economists in Beijing on Saturday, an effort to spotlight gender diversity following meetings with China’s largely male government leaders.
In one post which garnered close to 600 comments, an online user said female economist Hao Jingfang who attended the meal with Yellen was “not only a traitor but also a radical feminist.”
Hao wrote online in response to queries as to why she attended the meal that “Yellen is the friendliest American official, she is always dedicated to developing friendly China-U.S. relations”.
Some users called Yellen an “obviously dangerous person” asking why she was allowed to be officiated as a public guest in the country, while others called out the female economists as being pro-American.
“Look at the bunch, the anti-espionage law might come in handy,” wrote a user called Shan3847, while another user wrote “Everyone around the table should be caught, no one is innocent. The United States is always so kind to help us expose the rebels.”
Ahead of the meeting, a senior Treasury official had said the lunch with the Chinese economists would give Yellen, who was also the first woman to head the U.S. Federal Reserve, a chance to “interact with a number of people kind of outside the normal policy structure”.
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s decade as the ruling Communist Party’s general secretary has seen the number of women in politics and top government roles decline and gender gaps in the workforce widen, with the government emphasizing more traditional roles for women.
(Additional reporting by the Beijing newsroom; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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