US and China's basketball brawlPunches were thrown, chairs flew through the air, and even the spectators got stuck in as the game between Washington's Georgetown University Hoyas and the People's Liberation Army team turned violent. One spectator described how "all hell broke loose" on the court after a scuffle between two of the players.
"When the Chinese were on defence, they were unnecessarily aggressive, touching, pushing, grabbing the ball. If you ask me, it was risky behaviour for a friendly exhibition game," Beijing resident Sarah E. Burton told AFP.
A US embassy spokesman said the incident, which came the day after Biden stopped by to watch a Hoyas friendly on his first night in Beijing, was "unfortunate".
"We look to these types of exchanges to promote good sportsmanship and strengthen our people-to-people contact with China," said Richard Buangan.
"Our people-to-people engagement is an important part of our efforts to develop a positive, cooperative and comprehensive US-China relationship."
It was not immediately clear what triggered the fight, which forced the match to be abandoned.
But China's assistant foreign minister Cui Tiankai on Friday said the teams had patched things up.
"By this morning, the two teams had returned to good terms. The Chinese team saw off the American team at the airport, and the two sides agreed the Chinese team would visit the United States and have more matches there," he said.
"We're pleased about that outcome."
Still, Georgetown head coach John Thompson III expressed regret over his players' behaviour in a statement posted on the team's website.
"Two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams. We sincerely regret that this situation occurred," he said.
"We remain grateful for the opportunity our student-athletes are having to engage in a sport they love here in China, while strengthening their understanding of a nation we respect and admire at Georgetown University."
Thursday's fracas was in marked contrast with the reception given to Biden, whose down-to-earth attitude has been praised by Chinese web users.
On the same day, the US vice president charmed the Chinese public with his decision to lunch at a small, family-owned restaurant in Beijing, which one local newspaper dubbed "noodle diplomacy".