September 6, 2016 1:54 pm
Updated: September 6, 2016 8:12 pm

Justin Trudeau earns nickname ‘little potato’ during trip to China

WATCH ABOVE: Justin Trudeau wrapped up an eight-day visit in China, and picked up a new nickname during his first visit as Prime Minister to the Asian country.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is finishing up his trip to China, where he earned the affectionate nickname “little potato.”

The primary goal of the trip has been to strengthen business ties with China, the world’s second-largest economy.

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READ MORE: Canada isn’t perfect on human rights, either, Trudeau tells Chinese leaders

Trudeau is following in the footsteps of his father, former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau, who established diplomatic ties with China.

Trudeau, well-known around the world for his use of social media, has been given the nickname “xiao tudou,” or “little potato,” as the name Trudeau sounds similar to the Mandarin word for potato.

WATCH: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrapped up a visit to China with a stop in Hong Kong. Shirlee Engel takes a look at what his lengthy trip accomplished.

“This trip is aimed at restoring, refreshing, strengthening the Canada- China relationship,” International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland told CNBC on Sunday.

“We are quite proud. The prime minister has been given a fond nickname in China, he is called tudou, which I believe means potato.”

“His father Pierre Elliott ‘tudou’ was ‘senior potato’,” Freeland said.

READ MORE: Chinese TV host accuses Canada tourism body of censorship

Gao Xiaosong, a popular Chinese talk show host, also called Trudeau “Little Potato,” in an episode that featured a discussion about First Nations issues in Canada.

The episode was pulled from the Chinese video-streaming site iQiyi.com, and lead to accusations from Gao that the Crown corporation, Destination Canada, which promotes Canadian tourism abroad, was trying to censor discussion of the country’s aboriginal issues on his program.

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Reuters reports that Xiaosong made the accusation on Chinese social media site Weibo on Aug 27, just days before Trudeau depart for his first official visit to China.

Trudeau capped off his official visit to China for the Group of 20 leaders’ summit on Tuesday with a speech in Hong Kong where he raised his concerns about China’s human rights record. 

With files from Reuters

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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