China infuriated by Olympic loss to ‘the enemy’
Chinese nationalists vented their fury online following Taiwan’s shock win over the heavily favoured China in the Olympic badminton event on the weekend.
Chinese Taipei’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin beat Liu Yuchen and Li Junhui of China in the men’s doubles gold medal match on Saturday, giving Taiwan its first ever gold medal in the sport.
The communist nation is viewed as a dominant player in the game of badminton, and as you’d expect the loss didn’t go down well.
China’s state media reportedly cut off the broadcasting of the medal ceremony to avoid Taiwan’s “National Flag Anthem”, which has the same melody as the Taiwanese national anthem but different lyrics.
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China claims the self-ruled island of Taiwan as their territory, so since the 1980s Taiwan’s athletes have competed under the name of “Chinese Taipei”.
In a Facebook post after the badminton match, gold medal winner Lee dedicated the gold medal to “my country, Taiwan”.
Later, Taiwan’s President, Tsai Ing-wen, congratulated the athletes for “winning our country’s first gold medal in badminton”.
The reaction to Taiwan’s gold medal win on Chinese social media has been described as hostile.
Chinese internet users labelled the loss a “shameful day” and a “disgrace” while calling the Taiwanese “the enemy”.
Internet users in China have been on a rampage during the Tokyo Games, accusing officials of bias in some cases and ripping their own athletes for their not reaching expectations.
In the men’s all-round gymnastics final, local hope Japanese gymnast Daiki Hashimoto beat his Chinese rival Xiao Ruoteng to win gold.
Ruoteng reportedly received a deduction on his performance in his final rotation because he failed to salute the judges before his horizontal bar routine, which is clearly defined in the rules. Chinese social media users accused the judges of being biased towards a Japan athlete, and Hashimoto’s social media account was hammered by trolls.
It comes as no surprise athletes have been caught up in the country’s recent celebrating of 100 years of Communist party rule since its founding in 1921.
After Chinese swimmer Zhang Yufei won the gold medal in the women’s 200m butterfly in the opening week of the Games, she credited her performance to “the power of China”.
“I don’t know how it happened, but swimming the last 50 metres, I felt the power of China kindle in my heart and felt that I must fight,” said Zhang.
Chinese weightlifter Shi Zhiyong dedicated his gold to the Communist Party after taking out his event.
“I’m a member of the Chinese Communist Party and it is not only for me but also for my party, because it is the 100-year birthday party and it means a lot,” Shi said.
China’s nationalists have also expressed their displeasure for athletes who haven’t been so successful.
After winning a silver medal in the mixed doubles table tennis in Tokyo, China’s Liu Shiwen offered a tearful apology for her performance.
Her compatriot, Wang Luyao, who apologised in a social media post for failing to qualify in her air rifle event, was hounded on social media by online trolls who didn’t feel she was sincere enough.
China’s state media Global Times published an editorial calling for the public to stop its attacks on athletes.
“Unless there is a major reason someone needs to be criticised, these moments of public attention should not become harsh personal attacks, nor should it become cyber bullying,” the editorial said.
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