Hubei Government Rewards Li Na 800k, Chinese Reactions

Li Na receiving 800,000 RMB in award money from the Hubei government upon her return to Wuhan to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family following her Australian Open championship.

Li Na receiving 800,000 RMB in award money from the Hubei government upon her return to Wuhan to celebrate Chinese New Year with her family following her Australian Open championship.

The top 2 most commented articles of the day on popular Chinese web portal NetEase…

From NetEase:

Hubei Provincial Party Committee Secretary Li Hongzhong and Others Meet With Li Na, Rewards Her 800,000 Yuan

Yesterday (27th) noon, provincial Party Secretary Li Hongzhong, provincial Governor Wang Guosheng, provincial Deputy Party Secretary Zhang Changer, and others met with Australian Open female singles champion Li Na and her husband Jiang Shan, who have just returned home to Wuhan. Representing the provincial Party Committee and the provincial government, they rewarded Li Na 800,000 RMB.

Li Hongzhong praised Li Na for winning honor for her motherland and hometown, and welcomed her glorious return on behalf of the people of her hometown, paying his respects and expressing appreciation to her family. He said, “Li Na’s exquisite tennis skills and tenacious determination demonstrate the fighting spirit of the children of Jingchu. She is the pride of the people of Hubei. We as people of her hometown feel pride and happiness. Hubei Wuhan is the hometown that reared you, and is also your eternal harbor. Now that you are home, rest up! We here share the joy of your achievement, as well as continue to support and encourage you. May you compete and emerge victorious again with success.”

Provincial government leaders Yin Hanning, Fu Dehui, Zhang Tong, and provincial government Secretary-General Wang Xiangxi also participated in the meeting.

From NetEase:

shadowet [网易北京市网友]:

First, I really admire Li Na.
Second, awarding her money however is wrong. This is taxpayers’ money, who approved it? Li Na is a professional athlete, spending her own money to earn her own money. You people shouldn’t criticize when she loses, or then take taxpayers’ money to make yourselves look good when she wins.

網易跟貼局局長 [网易江西省南昌市网友]:

Li Na’s facial expression is the highlight! Haha

网易甘肃省网友 ip:42.88.*.*:

Softly asks: From whose pocket did this 800k come from?

zidan123 [网易山东省烟台市网友]:

What an ugly/shameful facial expression~

家有小虎 [网易广东省广州市网友]:

A bunch of rabble who make 2000-3000 a month paying taxes to give award money to a Li Na who makes tens of millions each year…

From NetEase:

Media: Hubei Provincial Government Rewarding Li Na 800k Violates Ethics of Public Finance

The government using public finances to reward a professional athlete is a bit unjustified. First, government expenditures must strictly adhere to budgeting, so was this expense of 800k yuan in award money budgeted? Second, government expenditures must comply with the principle of being for the public, to be used only to serve the public, so what is the relationship between a professional athlete winning a championship and the public good?

After Li Na won the French Open in 2011, Hubei province and Wuhan city both awarded her money. That time, the province gave her 600k, and this time, it has increased to 800k. When the increase in income and wages of residents hasn’t surpassed that of the increase of GDP, the rocketing increase of this unjustified government award money is like a cold joke.

The government’s power to allocate taxpayers’ money should be exercised in accordance with the law, or at the very least it can’t be too much at will/as one pleases, and it should be with consideration of public opinion. Li Na being rewarded last time already incited public controversy, with public opinion questioning: on what policy, item, and section is Li Na being rewarded on? If government officials can clap their foreheads and reward whoever they want to reward, say 60k and have it be 60k, say 80k and have it be 80k, then the [discretionary latitude] of government power is too big and the spending of money is too unregulated. Are they not afraid of the ordinary common people saying “is the child who sells his father’s field not ashamed?” Just what position does public opinion occupy in the hearts of government officials?

That Li Na’s success is a “[demonstration of] the fighting spirit of the children of Jingchu to the world” is, I think, also worth discussing in terms of logic: First, Li Na’s success mainly represents her own tenacity and does not necessarily represent “the children of Jingchu”; if she were to stop striving and struggling tomorrow, it too would not represent “the children of Jingchu”. Second, there are also many unknown peasants and workers who strive and struggle every day, so if the government only favors the successful and famous people, that those who have become successful must be elevated to such a “high level”, then the orientation of values is too utilitarian.

In 2011, the local government held an commendation ceremony for Li Na, with reports saying Li Na emotionally saying at the commendation ceremony, “I thank the motherland,! I thank Hubei! I thank my coach! It is you all who have made my French Open dream come true.” However, just a few months later, she said during an interview after the BNP Paribas Open: “I’m just a tennis player, and me coming here to compete is not for my country.” She says she doesn’t like to lie, “I know that when I speak the truth, many people will hate and dislike me as a result, but so what?” The two positions expressed are inconsistent, so which exactly is the truth? Perhaps the media embellished? However, no matter what she said, a professional athlete playing for herself, a government holding a commendation ceremony, awarding her huge sums, is all a little comical: A professional athlete playing for herself, so just what is the government commending her for?

As a public servant, the government should do more things that help those in need and less pointless gilding of the lily things. Li Na does not lack money, and 800k is nothing to her; but there are still many impoverished children in Hubei province who need poverty assistance, with the children of some areas even needing society to donate clothes to help them get through the winter… The government taking 800k yuan and not giving it to those who need it but instead arbitrarily rewarding an athlete, just what justification is there? Moreover, sports is sports, and should not be assigned too much far-fetched symbolism. (People’s Daily Online – Editorial Section / Ma Diming)

Comments from NetEase:

jmcity [网易广东省江门市网友]:

I often see authorities gilding the lily, but when have they ever helped the poor and sick?

goatgg [网易宁夏网友]:

How can this money be spent so arbitrarily~ just because you are government leaders!!!?

Q86669708Q [网易吉林省长春市网友]:

I strongly support Li Na.
The championship is her own glory, and has nothing to do with China.
Strongly oppose the conflating of sports and politics.
Strongly protest the use of taxpayers’ money, to reward various sports champions.
We absolutely must not insist on seeking glory in sports just because we were once ridiculed as the Sick Man of Asia.
When will our country walk out from the Sick Man of Asia inferiority complex?
Sports is an industry that consumes wealth, not an industry that creates wealth, so I strongly oppose the country [government] investing too much financial resources in sports.
All the various sports should be like tennis, all professionalized, without the government spending money.
Sports should be developed, but it should not be with Olympic gold medals as the goal.
If we want to develop sports, we should develop sports for the entire population, and not just sports for a minority of people.
For a few gold medals without any real substantive significance, we have scattered a large amount of our country’s limited financial resources, and even widened the wealth gap.
Just how much further does our country want to walk on this mistaken path?

镜子影子 [网易辽宁省抚顺市网友]:

Sports is sports, sports represents humanity’s spirit of surpassing oneself. On what basis does the government have to utilize public funds without permission?

网易安徽省池州市网友 ip:60.174.*.*:

This article, Hubei officials should respond: Where does the money come from? What is the basis for giving that money?

网易辽宁省大连市网友 ip:113.234.*.*:

Using money that doesn’t belong to them to reward a person who doesn’t need this money.


Written by Fauna

Fauna is a mysterious young Shanghainese girl who lives in the only place a Shanghainese person would ever want to live: Shanghai. In mid-2008, she started chinaSMACK to combine her hobby of browsing Chinese internet forums with her goal of improving her English. Through her tireless translation of popular Chinese internet news and phenomenon, her English has apparently gotten dramatically better. At least, reading and writing-wise. Unfortunately, she's still not confident enough to have written this bio, about herself, by herself.


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