Ping-Pong controversy – China’s latest society and culture news

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A summary of the top news in Chinese society and culture for June 26, 2017. Part of the daily SupChina newsletter, a convenient package of China’s business, political, and cultural news delivered to your inbox for free. Subscribe here.


Chinese social media is abuzz with stories of one of the country’s favorite sports: table tennis. On June 23, Liu Guoliang 刘国梁 — head coach of the Chinese men’s national table tennis team — become the subject of a nationwide controversy after a personnel reshuffle, which removed Liu from active coaching duties. Over the weekend, at a major international table tennis competition in Chengdu, three of Liu’s former athletes, Ma Long 马龙, Fan Zhendong 樊振东, and Xu Xin 许昕, who also happen to be the top three table tennis players in the world, didn’t show up for their second round of singles matches in an apparent protest at Liu’s removal.

Of course, the story is more complicated than that: Jiayun Feng fills in some of the details in her article “Why are China’s top table tennis players protesting?