China: Beijing doesn't love masks?

Global Voices OlympicsOn Tuesday, four Olympics athletes from United States showed up at Beijing airport with masks over their mouths and noses. Though they thought it was just a simple “precautionary measure” against the pollution in China, such behaviors were interpreted much differently by the Chinese internet users.

The No. 1 accusation is that the masks were intended to embarrass Chinese as a protest with political implication.

Blogger Gass-rooter(草根情怀) railed against them

美国运动员还真戴口罩来到中国了,一个个黑色的大口罩,戴上好像防毒面具一样难看。

别小看这一个个黑色的口罩,美国这是早就有预谋的,他们声称为了保护运动员的肺部健康,冠冕堂皇的理由,实则是蓄谋已久,为了在世界面前给中国难堪….

首先,美国当年自己举办奥运会的时候,洛杉矶糟糕的空气就远比北京的污染利害,结果他们自己什么事都没有,这次非和咱们北京的空气过不去

The U.S athletes finally put on their masks to China, the black masks, as ugly as gas masks…. The conceit way they wore them disgust us Chinese……
Don’t slight these little black masks. The U.S has planned to do so, to embarrass China in the presence of the world, though slef-proclaiming that they were just taking care of the athletes’ lungs.
Firstly, when U.S hosted the Olympics in Los Angles, whose air pollution was even worse than Beijing’s, they did nothing. But this time they just could not get along well with the air condition in Beijing.

And he furthermore took people living in Beijing as arguments.

其次,且不说中国人口密集,就说北京,多少人在日复一日的生活工作着?我们怎么都没事,我们的生活照样高质量,我们的快乐照样挥洒自如,那怎么他们一来就要弄个什么见鬼的口罩保护自己?

Secondly, not mentioning the dense population in whole China, just in Beijing are so many people there, and we are all living fine and with joy day after day. Why the hell have they got to put on masks once they arrive?

一个口罩,分明就是在挑衅,分明就是在侮辱,我们凭什么要受这些?

He finally concluded the mask as a sign of insulation. “Why do we have to withstand it?” he questioned.

Compared to this lengthy redicule, some just commented in short words with anger:

他妈的。滚.不要来了!

F**k off! ******

More people thought the athletes impolite.
afhel said:

不过他们这个绝对是对中国至少是对北京失礼的行为。就像和你握手时候带着手套一个道理,嫌你脏。

They were impolite to China, at least to Beijing. It’s just like shaking hands with you with gloves on, which implied you are felt dirty.

不一定1 in Tianya said:

你是客人,你来别人家,对方非常努力的打扫了房间,很热情的接待了你,这个时候,你不应该表现出友好和善意吗?就算对方家里还有不足之处,你不应该表示理 解和宽容吗?

You are guests that come to the home of a host who tidy up his room and welcome you warmheartedly. And shouldn’t you show friendship and kindness at the point? Even if there is a few aspects to improve at the house, shouldn’t you show understanding and toleration?

In senses of these net users, wearing mask is but a chilly rejection to Chinese courtesy, a behavior that “give no face to Chinese”, as translated from the Chinese idiom, 不给面子.

And 誓佐 ‘s comment gave another reason explaining why they feel pissed off by the athletes:

为凹运,为了清洁空气,就差把国人会放屁的屁眼给堵截了,可美国佬还是不给你脸.

For Olympics, for clean air, we nationals almost have to clog our assholes to let no gas out, but the Americans just don’t give you face (give you respect).

This grief is in some way justifiable. To prepare Olympics with good air, over 100 factories were shut down, and in Beijing, over 2 million vehicles were banned to run on way per day, industrial production and transportation affected. Also, the strict security measures in many cities bring abut great inconvenience.

That’s why some suggested it’s a ceremony to flatter the foreigners by the price of the citizens’ regular life; looking on the troublesome 2008 more or less associated with Olympics, it probably makes sense.

Back to the topic, however, there is also voice at the other side no less resonant than the aforementioned.

露珠湿纱壁 relentlessly contradicted the internet users who scolds the athletes:

你有痛骂他们装逼的权利,他们也有戴口罩的权利。
被GD洗脑洗多了,自然就会越俎代庖地替主子愤怒。
真是悲哀啊,这个民族

You have the right to call their names, but so that they can freely wear masks.
Brainwashed too much by CCP, you’ll of course feel piqued for your master, even if it doesn't need you to. What a wretched nation!

On August 6, the U.S athletes concerned, under the pressure of U.S.O.C. officials who were apparently unhappy with their choice (according to New York Times), apologized. The 4 cyclists said it was in no way meant to serve as an environmental or political statement.

On this apology, many Chinese internet users felt it a victory, while still a few thought it not a sincere one. But meanwhile some felt sorry with Chinese.

骑着蚂蚁猎大象 said:

戴个口罩也要道歉,可见中国确实比某些地方好五倍。
另外问一下,中国卖口罩吗?建议明天全国都不准卖口罩,也不准戴,谁戴罚谁。

That people should apologize because they wear masks indeed shows that China is 5 times better than some place. (It alludes to an embassy’s statement that the human right condition in China is 5 times better than that of U.S —- translator)
By the way, are masks sold in China? I suggested the masks being banned tomorrow, and punishing all those put it on.

Wear or not to wear masks, might not be a question for the guests, but the host, a sensitive host.

As龙锋塔said:

一个带口罩的都容不了,还谈什么大国风范?

What a great country is it supposed to be that even cannot stand a man with mask?

(Additional:less than 30 minutes to the Olympics. Regardless of so many controversies, may the ceremony be blessed!)

20 comments

  • MuLan

    Intead of complaining about China’s air pollution, why don’t you condemn your automobile companies for exporting vehicles to China? They are better off riding bicycles.

    I believe you do not have the guts, because it means money to help your economy!

  • haha @ MuLan. Those were the 3 most common topics in my CCP-approved Chinese reader when I studied at Beishida. I think those books were written in the early nineties. Maybe they should write new propaganda…

  • Zictor

    @MuLan,

    Is China a place where children respect their elders? Hmmm.. That’s not what happened during the Cultural Revolution, according to what I read. Same goes for the 1989 protests.

    Now, according to what I seed, those 小皇帝‘s are no better.

    Quit whinig and grow up. China put up a great opening ceremony. Probably the most beautiful in the history of the Olympics. But nobody is perfect and the air still sucks, tough life.

    The Chinese tried to clean their act, but it was clearly not enough. Well, do you expect people to just ignore it? Not gonna happen. People will praise China for what it deserves to be praised and criticise what deserves to be criticised.

    The Opening Ceremony deserves praise, the air deserves criticism. You are being childish, not the athletes. They apologised, just let it go, ok? Or is their apology not enough?

  • RD

    Making an issue of the masks only expands the global exposure of the poor Beijing air quality and political correctness in China. I wouldn’t have known about the masks otherwise. Thanks for spreading the word.

  • Dalai-Lama

    RD, do not need to thank, only someone who comes from under a rock is NOT aware of the controversies created by the west leading up to the olympic games!

    :-)

  • chan

    They can surely wear anything they like, they could even wear their” under-wear” outside like SUPERMAN does if they like to, however, we know what is their purpose.

  • Ben

    Does anyone know if those masks were made in China?

  • wewe

    thesee athletes wearing masks look like idiots.
    Over 20 million people lives in beijing without masks every single day, but these U.S. athletes don’t.
    They just made themself like aliens among the crowds.
    We should laugh at them instead of criticizen.

  • Zictor

    @wewe

    Have you actually ever been to Beijing?
    People in Beijing DO wear masks. Not everybody every day, but they do. Specially during Spring when the sandstorms come with the strong winds or when there is no wind and the air becomes too polluted.

    I do have to say though that after the first week of the olympics, the air became very clean for the second week of the games.

  • Captain Obvious

    I would have, going to olympics, *anywhere*, worn a mask, not for polution, but because the germs MY body is used to are different from the germs in places other than my home.

    That’s why so many people get sick while on holiday: not the *people* of the land they travel to, but the different ecology, the different microbes.

    If I was competing in the olympics, getting a cold or the flu would destroy my chance to win.

    I think all olympic athletes should wear them when traveling to their big day: let the games be decided by athletics, not by the flu!

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »

Guidelines

  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.

Receive great stories from around the world directly in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the best of Global Voices!

Submitted addresses will be confirmed by email, and used only to keep you up to date about Global Voices and our mission. See our Privacy Policy for details.

Newsletter powered by Mailchimp (Privacy Policy and Terms).

* = required field
Email Frequency



No thanks, show me the site