Thursday, February 17, 2022

Eileen Gu or the Chained Woman?

I've already blogged about Eileen Gu, but nothing like this. 

There are at least 600,000 million Chinese living in abject poverty, but Chairman Xi can't let the cat out of the bag. So, Ms. Gu is promoted to the top of Wiebo while human-trafficking victim Xiaohuamei (little flower plum) is censored and crushed under the boot-heel of totalitarianism.

Absolutely unreal story. I already loathe China. I'm to the point of no longer reporting on the regime because it makes me furious. The diabolical hypocrisy is stunning. Americans like Eileen Gu to the cretins of the International Olympic Committee --- with this whole Olympics propaganda regime --- have blood on their hands. And that's to say nothing of the Chinese Communist Party thugs who should be destroyed rather than coddled. This is all so sickening, even anti-American. 

At the New York Times. "Who Is the Real China? Eileen Gu or the Chained Woman?":

Two women have dominated Chinese social media during the Beijing Winter Olympics.

One is Eileen Gu, the 18-year-old skier born and raised in California who won a gold medal for China. The other is a mother of eight who was found chained around her neck to the wall of a doorless shack.

The Chinese internet is exploding with discussions about which of the two represents the real China. Many people are angry that the government-controlled algorithms glorify Ms. Gu, who fits into the narrative of the powerful and prosperous China, while censoring the chained woman, whose deplorable conditions defy that narrative.

The two women’s starkly different circumstances — celebrated vs. silenced — reflect the reality that to the Chinese state, everyone is a tool that serves a purpose until it does not.

Whether she wants it, Ms. Gu has become a powerful propaganda tool for Beijing to demonstrate its appeal to global talent and the benefits of being loyal to China. She represents the successful China that Beijing would like the world to admire.

The chained woman represents the poor and backward China that hundreds of millions still inhabit. They sometimes appear in the state media to demonstrate the country’s success in eradicating extreme poverty until their miseries become an inconvenient truth.

“Does Eileen Gu’s success have anything to do with ordinary Chinese?” goes the headline of one viral article that was censored later.

“Can we remember these women while cheering for Eileen Gu?” asks another headline.

“To judge whether a society is civilized or not, we should not look at how successful the privileged are but how miserable the disadvantaged are,” the article said. “Ten thousand sports champions can’t wash away the humiliation of one enslaved woman, not to mention tens of thousands of them.”

The Chinese government doesn’t like where the debate is heading. The juxtaposition of the two women highlights that underneath the glamorous surface of one of the world’s largest economies lie jarring poverty and widespread abuse of women’s rights.

It defeats the purpose of recruiting star athletes like Ms. Gu: to showcase a powerful China with global appeal.

“The reality is that the vast majority of Chinese won’t have the opportunity to become Eileen Gu,” Li Yinuo, founder of a prominent education company in Beijing, wrote in an article. But the tragedy of the chained woman, she wrote, could happen to anyone.

A few hours later, her article was deleted.

Embedded in the debate is a deep disappointment among middle-class Chinese who are usually willing to go along with the government’s narratives but are incensed by the repeated lies, lack of action and subsequent censorship in the case of the chained woman.

They feel that the government is pouring too many resources behind a privileged member of the society while neglecting another member in dire need of help. They’re worried that the latter’s misfortune could happen to them or their daughters.

Many social media users, including some self-claimed nationalistic little pinks, posted a quote from a famous Chinese novel: “I love the country. But does the country love me?”

The story of the chained woman — whose name, according to the government, is Xiaohuamei (little flower plum) — has captivated the Chinese internet since a short video went viral in late January. In it, a middle-age woman with a dazed expression stood in the dark shack with a chain on her neck. Subsequent videos revealed that she had lost most of her teeth and seemed to be mentally disturbed.

The local authorities issued four conflicting statements in the following two weeks. In the latest statement on Thursday, the authorities reported that Xiaohuamei could be a victim of human trafficking and that her husband was under investigation for false imprisonment. The government had denied both earlier.

The fates of the two women converged online last week after Ms. Gu won her gold medal.

At one point, Ms. Gu, who grew up in an upscale neighborhood in San Francisco and represents some of the biggest brands, like Louis Vuitton and Tiffany & Company, occupied 10 of the 20 hottest hashtags on Weibo. The hashtag about Xiaohuamei was nowhere to be seen, even though many people were still talking about her.

Some social media users were outraged by the lopsided treatment of the two women. They felt that even though they had tried their best to be the obedient and useful tools in the giant machinery of the Chinese state, Xiaohuamei’s tragedy showed that the state won’t necessarily offer them protection...

And watch here, "To give the full story, here is the original video that caused the social media storm, which is still ongoing today (tw distressing content, not sure why the lock is blurred, as if that is the most shocking thing about this video..)."