After leading Team USA to the silver medal in figure skating competition and Winning his first Olympic gold medal In a men’s singles event, Nathan Chen was criticized on Weibo – the Chinese equivalent of Twitter.
The 22-year-old Chinese American has been labeled a “traitor” on the social media platform for choosing to represent the United States, and has been asked to “get out of China.” After his victory on Thursday, some complained on Weibo that Chen was “too white” and bellicose, citing a long list of examples where they believed Chen was “insulting China” with his actions.
Chen previously refused to speak in Chinese interviews, claiming that his Mandarin was “not very good”.
A Yale University student put his support to the American ice dancer Evan Bates. condemnation of human rights in China Violations in an October interview. At the time, Bates was highly critical of China’s “awful” treatment of Uyghur people. The United States did not send any diplomats to the Beijing Winter Olympics because of “Great human rights violations and atrocities.”
According to Reuters“We are human too, and when we read and hear about the things that happen there, we absolutely hate it. We hate what is going on there,” Bates said during an event for the Olympic and Paralympic Committee in the United States.
“I agree with what Evan was saying,” Chen added. “I think for a bigger change to happen, there has to be a force beyond the Olympics.”
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He began responding to Chen during his first Olympics in 2018 when he performed one of his routines to a song from the movie “Mao’s Last Dance,” which tells the story of a Chinese dancer defecting to the United States during the 1980s. Chen claims that he was not aware of the movie before introducing the song.
“Maybe naively, I didn’t understand the whole system, the whole story behind it, just that the music was so beautiful,” he said on Friday, adding that the song was chosen by the choreographer.
Chen did not respond to any of the vitriol directed at him, merely saying that he was proud to be a Chinese American. He said it wasn’t hard to avoid the online barrage because he doesn’t have access to platforms in China.
“I don’t have social media here. So I was probably very protective of that. And I don’t plan to look at social media because sometimes social (media) can be a bit toxic,” he said.
He also discussed the importance of Beijing, the place where his parents first met.
“It means for the world to be able to be here. My mom grew up in Beijing… and of course, my dad spent a lot of time in Beijing as well.”
Chen has been compared to American-born athletes Elaine Gu and Zhou Yi, both competing for China at the Winter Games. Gu, free skater, Won the gold medal in the women’s major competitionHe was hailed as a Chinese national hero. The 18-year-old, who plans to attend Stanford University next year, was rated on Weibo as “Miss Perfect” for her skateboarding skills, modeling work, and perfect Mandarin.
Last week, Joe Defend Chinese Internet Censorshipwhich was immediately criticized on Twitter and Instagram by those who thought its response was far from communicating with the actual experiences of those living in China.
At the team figure skating event, Chu tripped and fell twiceChina fell from third to fifth place. The hashtag “Zhu Yi has fallen” went viral on Weibo after she stumbled. Users told the 19-year-old to “go back to America”, and said she had brought “disgrace” to China. Zhou, whose family moved from California to Beijing, has been widely criticized for her lack of Mandarin fluency and for being “too American”.
Zhou renounced her US citizenship to represent China, and while it is not known if Gu did the same, it is customary for her to compete with China.