Beijing has a policy of not picking favorites in foreign elections, but that doesn't mean China has held its tongue on the candidates.
Xie Zhenhua, China's special representative for climate change, made headlines on Tuesday when he rebuked Trump for suggesting that he would pull out of a global pact to fight climate change.
"If they resist this trend, I don't think they'll win the support of their people, and their country's economic and social progress will also be affected," Xie said in response to a question about Trump.
"I believe a wise political leader should take policy stances that conform with global trends," he added.
Despite that recent rhetorical wrist-slapping, Beijing's propaganda mouthpieces have been equally critical of Trump and Clinton.
On Trump, Chinese outlets have described him as an "irrational type," whose mouth is too small and who employs a "childish style of speaking," He's seen as a candidate who would "bring changes to the Sino-U.S. relationship," but who embodies"pragmatism" despite his "dubious record of success as a businessman."
Clinton, experts say, is also viewed negatively by Beijing. The Chinese government sees the former secretary of state as a more hawkish version of Obama, and she has previously rankled Beijing on human rights — extending all the way from a 1995 speech that stirred controversy in Beijing, up to a 2015 tweet about the country's persecution of feminists.
— Reuters and CNBC's Jacob Pramuk and Fred Imbert contributed to this report.