Chinese Athlete Defected to the US in the 80s Returns to China

Hu Na was one of the first Chinese athletes to defect to the US after the normalization of Sino-American relations. A professional tennis player on the National Team, Hu Na defected to the US in 1982 when she sought for political asylum. The subsequent “Hu Na Incident” caused a major diplomatic row between US and China. Netizens react to her recent return to China to hold an art exhibition, many condemned her for being a traitor.

From Sina Weibo:

@时代报: “Hu Na: you bring shame to the country, you must deeply repent”. For traitors, there are no reasons to forgive her. The motherland does not forbid her from coming back, this shows the tolerance and the progress of the nation; But our countrymen have rejected her, this is how the people judged her. Not rejecting her will not punish traitors, this is the impartiality of history. In the 5000 years of Chinese culture, there is no forgiveness for traitors.

Comments on Sina Weibo:


I only want to say this person really has thick skin!


Sign, I can’t image how her parents lived through this years ago.


No matter the reason, betraying one’s own people is unforgivable!


In that special era in history, to chase one’s dreams is understandable. But why use the country as your footstool? No matter how successful you are, your dreams are built on the foundation of the nation’s dignity…


Didn’t she come back to make money? She left when the country was poor.


This woman looks like a hanjian.


Hu Na’s experiences year ago, isn’t it same as the North Korean refugees today? Under a isolated dictatorship, she desired freedom and democracy, it was her own choice. What harm did she bring to the country, she only woke up our countrymen. Chinese culture is tolerant and multicultural. Violent suppression are the tactics of ancient Western religion, and the Soviet fascists!


From Sina Weibo:

@胡杨麟: Today I went to see Hu Na’s art exhibition, it was pitiful, it was located in the back of the Citic Building and the second floor of a small building. The exhibit only had 20 square meters of space and it was a exhibition for 3 people, with only one guard. It was very quiet with few visitors, Hu Na’s oil paintings are so disgusting like a dog licking shit. @网球胡娜 when you betrayed your country and caused significant losses for your coach and team, yet once you returned you didn’t even apologize, are you without shame! Spit on you!

Comments on Sina Weibo:


This bitch betrayed her country, she was the first athlete to defect since the founding of China! How many people did she harm: her coach, team leader, teammates…it was only 3 years since the economic reforms, this bitch married and ran off with a Taiwanese man! Yet she still have the face to come back. She hung a few pieces of sanitary pads and believes that she is Dali, Picasso or Van Gogh. I curse her again: fuck 8 generations of your family! Fuck your private parts.


Why didn’t we deny her visa?


Hu Na is a bitch!


A traitor will always be a traitor.


I don’t understand this person, she betrayed the country yet she can still come back, she must have really thick skin!


She was able to escape with such ease back then was all due to America working in the background. But she was just a young athlete, I doubt she had any useful intelligence, perhaps she wanted a better life in America so she left. But now why did she come back? And held an art exhibition, and is that really art? I’m thinking, what is the real reason she came back?


Who let her in? How long does the crime of defection stay in effect? Coming back to hold an art exhibition is clearly provocation.


Written by Joe

Joe is a documentary producer and journalist based in Shanghai


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