U.S. Ambassador Jon Huntsman has stirred controversy after popping up in an anti-government protest in China and promptly leaving the scene after someone in the crowd recognized him and accused him of wanting to see "chaos" in the country.
The potential 2012 Republican presidential nominee is set to resign his post as U.S ambassador to China on April 30. According to Politico, Huntsman was at the anti-government rally with members of his family.
A video captured the exchange that has since been posted to YouTube and widely circulated on Chinese nationalist and pro-government websites.
"Hey Mr. Ambassador, what are you doing here?" a member of the crowd asked upon recognizing him, according to a translation of the video.
"I'm just here to look around," Huntsman responded in Mandarin.
"You want to see chaos in China," the man asserted.
"No, I don't," Huntsman answered.
Regardless of his intentions, Huntsman's mere presence at such a rally sends a negative message to the Chinese government. According to a U.S. Embassy spokesperson, Huntsman was passing by the protest on his way to a museum located near Tienanmen Square. The embassy told the Wall Street Journal that the ambassador was curious and just wanted to see what was going on.
The protests in China have coincided with pro-democracy movements spreading throughout the Middle East. Dubbed the "Jasmine Revolution," references to the loosely organized protests have been strictly censored by the Chinese government. However, the photos and video of Huntsman at the scene have been allowed to circulate.