China's Keyboard Warriors Attack Olympic Athletes 

When Chinese athletes fail to win gold, the trolls come marching in. 

It seems the Chinese are not fans of the silver Olympic medal. After Hidilyn Diaz snatched the gold from her Chinese opponent Liao Qiuyun, the athlete did not look too happy with her podium finish. Probably because she knew what awaited her back home, or in the threads of Weibo. 

Air-rifle athlete Wang Luyao became the target of bashers from her own country who considered her a disappointment after she failed to win a medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

But it’s not just Chinese athletes who fail to win gold that receive such attacks. Japan, a traditional rival of China in politics and sports, also faced backlash from Chinese keyboard warriors after Japanese athletes beat Chinese favorites in various sports. 

Japan’s Daiki Hashimoto, who beat China’s Xiao Ruoteng by 0.4 points and won gold in the men's all-around gymnastics final, became the target of troll attackers, accusing him and the judges of cheating. Hashimoto is the youngest gymnast to ever win the event at 19 years old. 

Chinese social media was unforgiving: People tagged Hashimoto in Photos of the Hiroshima atomic bombing, accused him of stealing China’s gold medal, and called him a national humiliation for Japan. 

Chinese trolls also heaped their displeasure on their own badminton silver medalists Li Junhui and Liu Yuchen, who were edged by Taiwan’s Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin. The Chinese duo were called “weak” and “trash” by their own compatriots, with their loss to the Taiwanese labeled as “the worst loss in history,” according to a report by India Today


Losing to Japan is one thing, but losing to Taiwan is on another level of national embarrassment for Chinese trolls. 

As if that wasn’t traumatic enough, try losing in table tennis. In sports, table tennis is considered a province of China, and losing in that sport in the Olympics—particularly against their historical adversaries—is something many Chinese find hard to swallow. 

China hasn’t lost a gold medal in table tennis since the 2004 Olympics, that’s why when Japanese pair Jun Mizutani and Mima Ito upset China’s winning streak by dominating Chinese opponents Xu Xin and Liu Shiwen, Weibo was set on fire. 

The Japanese pair was called “dwarf thieves” and “little demons” on Weibo, while Japan was accused of fixing the games to favor their own athletes. “Little Japan,” a derogatory term that became popular in East Asia after World War II, trended on Chinese social media. 

China finds it hard accept losing in the sporting arena, and it will neither accept losing in any other issues of national interest. But what should be clear is that no athlete needs to apologize for not bagging a gold medal in the Olympics, nor do they deserve to be pilloried when they do or don't.

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor-at-Large
Mario Alvaro Limos is features editor-at-large at Esquire Philippines, and heads the Lifestyle and Esports content of as its section editor. Email him at [email protected] and [email protected]
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