China Netizens React To ‘Piegate’


Chinese netizens mostly applauded the reaction of Wendi Deng to the cream-pie attack on her media baron husband Rupert Murdoch during a parliamentary committee hearing in London, likening her defensive moves to those of a volleyball player.

Video of the hearing showed Deng to the left of the shot in a mauve suit leaping to her feet and closing with Murdoch’s assailant, who was apparently trying to push a paper plate of foam into the media mogul’s face.

The incident sparked a flurry on popular microblogging platforms in China, garnering thousands of retweets and comments by Wednesday, which ranged from the admiring to the satirical, to both together.

“Once again the Chinese come to the aid of ailing Western capitalism,” tweeted user @woxiangfengyiyangziyou on Sina Weibo.

“Murdoch kept a cool head, while Wendi Deng behaved like a Chinese woman,” wrote user @jiangnanke. “When you look at her romantic history, you have got to admire her. Wendi Deng is a very passionate woman.”

Many commented on the swiftness of Deng’s reactions in coming to aid of her husband after he was approached by comedian and activist Jonathan May-Bowles with a plate of foam.

The incident temporarily disrupted a parliamentary committee hearing linked to the ever-widening phone-hacking scandal in the U.K.

The scandal has already led to the resignations of top police officers and the closure of Murdoch’s News of the World newspaper.

‘Quick as a wolf’

One user, @yuangang_, tweeted: “They control the media. The Communist Party School has even invited Murdoch to speak. Now is the time to limit their power.”

But most Chinese netizens seemed to pay scant attention to the political background of the attack.

“With a single leap, this former … volleyball player leaped across a table, swiping the troublemaker and his pie to the ground in one stroke,” wrote user @roushishu.

“No one is going to throw pie at her husband and get away with it.”

Others commented on the physical comedy of Deng’s movement, which they saw as a spike shot in volleyball.

“She hit him like she was playing volleyball,” tweeted user @Catherine889. “Great!”

User @daliantianma added: “Amazing. Quick as a wolf!”

Others were more interested in the morality of the attack and of Deng’s response, with many saying they admired her spirit.

Hundreds of netizens passed around a single slogan: “Everyone should have a wife like Wendi Deng.”

“This is how our brave Sagittarian lady shows her love,” wrote user @huting_gejiashan.

‘Murdoch’s greatest protector’

In a reference to traditional Chinese values, user @toushangdasijiaokudewo slammed the attempted pie attack on Murdoch.

“Whatever you say about him, this is an elderly man!” the user wrote.

Some varied the message to sound less complimentary to Deng, however, saying with some irony that she was a model for Chinese women: “Grab hold of an inheritance, fight off the villains,” read a commonly retweeted slogan on the incident.

User @tonghuashunzi commented drily: “She saw off the first wife, now she’s beat out the villain.”

Others focused on how the pie attack, which was advertised just beforehand on Twitter by Jonathan May-Bowles, was viewed in the West.

“The foreign media is is interpreting Wendi Deng as a Tiger Mother,” tweeted user @huanqiuwang, apparently an account linked to an international news website.

“This Chinese tough lady has become Murdoch’s greatest protector,” it added.

Police arrested and charged May-Bowles, who also goes by the name Jonnie Marbles, who was charged with a public order offense and released on bail.

Twitter user @JonnieMarbles tweeted just before the incident: “It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat.”

Reported by Luisetta Mudie.


Radio Free Asia’s mission is to provide accurate and timely news and information to Asian countries whose governments prohibit access to a free press. Content used with the permission of Radio Free Asia, 2025 M St. NW, Suite 300, Washington DC 20036.

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