On June 14, Chinese President Xi Jinping met with FIFA President Gianni Infantino at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing, amid widespread speculation that China is planning to bid for a World Cup in the near future, according to Xinhua.
Widely known as an avid football fan, Xi said the Chinese government still attaches great significance to the sport’s development, although he noted the huge disparity between China and traditional football powerhouses in terms of both the sport’s domestic popularity and competitiveness of the teams.
Although Chinese state media’s coverage of the talks didn’t include any mention of the World Cup, rumors have been circulated recently that China will apply to host it in either 2030 or 2034. At the Chinese Foreign Ministry regular press conference on June 12, when asked whether China would officially announce a bid for the 2030 World Cup, spokesperson Lu Kang 陆慷 answered (in Chinese), “China certainly wants to seek greater cooperation with FIFA and other countries in the field of football. Hosting the World Cup has been a dream for many Chinese. I also hope that day will come sooner.”
In a qualifying match for the 2018 World Cup on June 13, the Chinese national football team tied 2-2 with Syria, leaving the aspiring football giant at the bottom of its Asian qualifying Group A with only two games left. Online, Chinese football fans seemed resigned to the team’s poor performance. One commenter on the social media platform Weibo wrote (in Chinese), “It’s normal for them to lose. But if they win, they will boast about their victory for a year.”
Chinese student visiting the U.S. has been missing for more than four days / Shanghaiist
Zhang Yingyin 章莹颖, age 26, is a Chinese student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who has disappeared. Police showed surveillance footage of a car pulling up to talk to her on a quiet road last Friday. She got in the car and has not been seen since then. The FBI have begun a search for Zhang. There is a wide discussion of the case on social media (in Chinese).
Dog meat dropped from two Carrefour supermarkets in China / Guardian
“The French retailer Carrefour has removed dog meat products from two supermarkets in China after an outcry,” which was apparently sparked by a report from the activist group Animals Asia.
Nine Chinese gay, transgender couples to tie the knot on cruise ship / Reuters
“Eight hundred people will watch on Wednesday as Aries Liu, a 32-year-old man who used to be a woman, marries his blushing bride on a cruise ship in waters near China’s business capital of Shanghai…in a week-long series of gay pride events in China, where same-sex marriage is illegal and homosexuality frowned upon.”
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