By RYAN GORMAN
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin just can't catch a break.
The newly single and ready to mingle leader of the former Soviet country caused a controversy in China after a simple act of politeness was seen by many as him hitting on China's first lady.
Putin politely put a jacket over the shoulders of Peng Liyuan, the wife of Chinese President Xi JingPing, possibly because she was cold.
"President Putin has placed a coat on Peng Liyuan," an anchor for the pool footage remarked.
The kind gesture came only days after Putin told Russian state media that "the meaning of life is love."
She politely rebuffed the offer, which occurred in front of the leaders of 21 Asia-Pacific nations during the APEC summit, and motioned for an aide to remove it, but the simple act of kindness set off a firestorm in China, and Western media.
Foreign Policy said Putin "hits on" Peng, Slate chose "flirts with and the Sydney Morning Herald went with "cracks on to."
A New Zealand media outlet called it "coatgate," because someone had to.
Russian television station RT described Putin's "innocuous gesture" as "shawl chivalry" that comes from the learned habits of living in a cold-weather country.
RT, which is a government-run media outlet, might be on to something. Or it might not.
Neither Putin, the object of his alleged affections nor her husband have commented on the incident.
The Chinese public took to Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, and other social media to collectively vent their rage at the former Kremlin official shortly after multiple Chinese media outlets posted footage of his actions, according to Foreign Policy.
But within hours, the media had removed the content and Chinese internet censors appear to have scrubbed all traces of it from the Internet accessed behind the Great Fire Wall.
An AOL News search of Weibo for the hashtag used by outraged online protesters resulted in a "page not found" error message.
There, curiously, are no reports of the incident currently being shown in Chinese media, especially government-run CCTV and the Xinhua news agency.
The shared border between both countries remains peaceful.
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