Republican US presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen in a video screengrab as he apologizes for lewd comments he made about women during a statement recorded by his presidential campaign and released via social media. Reuters

Two of China’s main state-run newspapers heaped scorn on the US presidential elections on Saturday, saying the endless stream of scandals surrounding both main candidates showed the United States had no right to lecture others on democracy.

The commentaries came around the same time as Republican nominee Donald Trump was scrambling to prevent his campaign from falling apart with a hastily prepared video statement expressing regret for making lewd comments about women.

While Beijing has largely avoided commenting on the elections, not wanting to be seen to interfere in the internal affairs of another country, the government-run media has been given more leeway.

China frequently takes umbrage at foreign criticism of its one-party political system, particularly from the United States, and says no country has the right to try and force China to change a system it says best suits China’s situation.

In a commentary, the ruling Communist Party’s official People’s Daily termed the US election “chaos”, pointing to tax-related issues for “big mouth” Donald Trump and the dispute over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton’s use of private email and worries over her health.

Both candidates appear more set on personal attacks than discussing the issues, as can be see from their first presidential debate, the newspaper said.

“All this weirdness not only clearly shows the predicament of the U.S. political establishment, it also points straight at the corrupt practices of the US political system,” it added in the commentary, published under the pen name “Zhong Sheng”, meaning “Voice of China”, often used to give views on foreign policy.

“For a long time, the United States has boasted about how its extremely lively election is a sign of the superiority of its system, and has even used this to willfully criticize the vast majority of developing countries,” it said.

“This extreme self-belief and arrogance by the ‘preacher of democracy’ should be reined in.”

The People’s Daily’s sister paper, the strongly nationalistic and widely read tabloid the Global Times, said in an editorial in its Chinese and English-language editions the scandals showed there was no superiority in Western democracy.

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump scrambled to prevent his campaign from falling apart early on Saturday with a hastily prepared video statement expressing regret for making lewd comments about women.

Meanwhile, Trump was expressing regret for his lewd comments about women and declaring himself a changed man. At the same time, he tried to turn the tables by raising the infidelities of former President Bill Clinton and slammed his Democratic opponent, saying he would talk more about Hillary Clinton and her husband’s past in coming days.

Disclosure of a 2005 video of Trump talking on an open microphone showed the then-reality TV star speaking openly about groping women and trying to seduce a married woman. Democrats have sought to highlight such behavior to prevent women voters from supporting him with less than a month to go until the election.

The video landed ahead of the second presidential debate on Sunday night, which has been seen as critical for Trump to try to rebound from a dip in some opinion polls after a rocky performance in the first debate.