Hubbub over handsome swimmer’s hardship
Top society and culture news for February 23, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina news roundup "Is the U.S. ignoring China’s nuclear threat?"
- World champion swimmer Ning Zetao kicked out of China’s national swimming squad / SCMP
On Wednesday, a memo from China’s swimming regulating authority was leaked and widely circulated on Chinese social media. It states that Ning Zetao, a 23-year-old Chinese swimmer who rose to fame in 2015 for being the first Asian swimmer to win the 100-meter freestyle at the world championships and since then enjoyed great popularity nationwide due to his handsome appearance, has been kicked out of the national swimming team for “signing sponsorship deals without official approval, failing to obey national team competition rules and refusing to participate in a relay event.” Shortly after the leak, Chinese authorities confirmed the statement, which sparked a heated online discussion. A throng of fans rushed to defend their star, denouncing the decision as “unfair and arbitrary.” Others said the scandal highlights the hierarchical structure of the Chinese sports administrative system, in which athletes are strictly controlled and not allowed to make profits outside the rigid system.
- Chinese divorcees seek to change financially crippling clause in law / SCMP
Divorcees in China are calling for the government to repeal or amend Article 24 in the second of three judicial interpretations that clarify Chinese marriage law, which stipulates that “at the time of divorce, debts incurred jointly by the husband and the wife during their married life shall be paid off jointly by them.” In a small-scale survey conducted in a WeChat group of more than 1,000 members who are trapped in debt left by their ex-spouses, 527 members said they were victims of Article 24, of which more than 87 percent were women. Many of these victims were kept in the dark when their partner borrowed money during their marriages, but they are required to pay off debts together with their ex-partners after divorcing.
- China wants to attract more foreigners (of a certain kind) – “China’s immigration policies…prioritize attracting foreign talent to increase economic modernization, while reflecting a deep-rooted instinct to keep foreigners at arm’s length” / NYT (paywall)
- Film review: ‘The Great Wall’ is the best of Zhang, the worst of Zhang / China Film Insider
- Former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming named president of Chinese Basketball Association / NBA.com
- China announces plans to build 50,000 soccer academies by 2025 / Sports Illustrated
- Dancing noodle vendor is China’s latest celebrity chef / SCMP
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