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Controversies around Chinese Gymnast’s Pick of “Anti-Japanese Music” at Tokyo Olympics

On Sunday July 25, in a qualifying match, Chinese women’s gymnastics player Tang Xijing, chose Jiu Er, the end credits song of the Chinese TV series Red Sorghum as the background music for the competition.

The TV series Red Sorghum, starring the Chinese actress Zhou Xun, is adapted from the novel by Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan. Set in Shandong Province during China’s war against Japan between 1937 and 1945, it tells the story of a man and a woman who ended up being killed by the Japanese for participating in the resistance movement.

For many Chinese people, Jiu Er is a familiar melody that reminds them of the TV series and stories of flighting against the Japanese invasion. In addition, Tang also chose a Chinese patriotic song Me and My Motherland for the competition.

Chinese netizens overwhelmingly expressed support for Tang’s pick of this anti-Japanese song for the Tokyo Olympics.

Some posted, “I want to cry when I hear this song; we are strong.”

“The main business is to win. The side business is to take revenge.”

“Not only will the national anthem be played on Japanese soil, but also anti-Japanese songs will be on the game field.”

“(The pick of Jiu Er) is to protest Japan’s provocations in its history of invasion and on its meddling in the Taiwan Strait.”

“When the motherland is strong, you can go to the home of the people who bullied you and hit them in the face.”

“Win win win, we’ve won in spirit.”

However, a few netizens pointed out that it is unethical and against the spirit of the Olympics to play an anti-host song on the host’s home turf. On Twitter, some Japanese netizens expressed their “discomfort” and said that Tang’s action was “deliberately insulting to Japan” and “disrespectful to Japan”.

Source: Lianhe Zaobao, July 27, 2021