United States Vice President Joe Biden came under fire late last month after a number of Chinese students took offence at comments he made during a congratulatory speech at the University of Pennsylvania, a China Smack report has said.

Although his presence was likely intended to inspire and motivate an entire generation of graduates from the prestigious university, the Vice President’s speech has also incited an altogether different kind of passion as hundreds of international students have signed a letter demanding an apology for remarks made about China. News of the incident has also spread throughout mainland China in more recent weeks, leaving many angered that such politically charged statements should be made at a graduation ceremony.

“I love to hear people tell me how, to use the vernacular, China is going to eat our lunch,” Mr. Biden commented around 11 minutes into his speech. “China is a great nation, and we should hope for the continued expansion. But, ladies and gentlemen, their problems are immense. And they lack much of what we have.”

Without openly stating that China cannot say the same, Mr. Biden goes on to list the qualities that the United States can be proud of, pointing to the country’s sophisticated legal system and technological achievements among others. He then alludes to the late Steve Jobs, citing his “think different” motto as a model of success, before passionately asserting that “you cannot think different in a nation where you aren’t able to challenge orthodoxy, because change only comes from challenging orthodoxy!”

It is this last statement in particular that has riled a number of Chinese students.

Zhang Tianpu, an international student at the university’s Wharton Business School, is quoted by the South China Post as saying:

“I believe Biden should apologize for his inappropriate comments; he made those comments at commencement in the face of at least hundreds of Chinese people. It was a humiliating experience, and how can a graduation speech be this political? … My ancestors were challenging orthodoxy even before his ancestors got to America.”

The student also described his feelings of dejection upon hearing the speech on what ought to have been a very happy day, saying, “After four years of hard work and studies, the graduation speaker suddenly says to you, you and your nation suck. How would you feel?”

What do you think, Rocketeers? Were Joe Biden’s comments inappropriate? Let us know in the comments section below. You can listen to the Vice President’s speech in full in the following video.

Source: China Smack, YouTube UnivPennsylvania