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A woman in Beijing puts on makeup on a train in December 2014


Fred Dufour / AFP

A promotional video by China's state-owned railway company urging women not to wear makeup on trains has sparked a fierce backlash and debate about sexism, CNN reports.

On Saturday, China Railway's clip was the most searched for and discussed on the Chinese social media platform Weibo – two months after it was first published. As of Saturday, the associated hashtag had 340 million views and 20,000 comments.

The video is apparently part of a campaign by Deutsche Bahn to curb undesirable passenger behavior as well as loud talking.

The video, released in July, shows a woman, apparently in the cabin of a high-speed train. She films herself applying cream and makeup, and is then interrupted by a man in the next seat. When the man's face is shown, you can see that he, too, is wearing lotion and says, "I don't have to put on makeup, beauty." The woman then apologizes and helps the man clean up.

The clip, which lasts about a minute, has sparked an ongoing controversy in China. Many users criticized the video as insulting. For example, one Weibo user expressed incomprehension as to why women who put on make-up stand for uncivilized behavior. Many others also defended the right to wear make-up.