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:

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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:

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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.

  • David Stern

    In most countries they would name a street or school or sports stadium after the famous local person.

    • Zappa Frank

      usually not while is alive..

      • Irvin

        Some not even after death.

      • Paul Schoe

        for very special achievements (world gold, nobel prize, …) they also do it when alive, often upon return to the home town.

        • Zappa Frank

          Really?….ok than maybe is different for each country. In my country I don’t know anyplace named after a famous sport star while he/she was still alive…. I think they are scared it sounds like a wish for a quick death.

          • Paul Schoe

            A few examples:
            In England, Alex Ferguson the former manager of Manchester United was aked to reveal the ‘Sir Alex Ferguson Road’.
            In Rheden (Holland) they named a street to princess Ariane when she was just 3 days old, so she didn’t even have the time for her achievement yet, and
            even during his life, dozens of streets world-wide were already named after Nelson Mandela.

          • Zappa Frank

            Yes you are right, even in Florence we have the Mandela forum…I forgot that one..

      • Teacher in China

        They named a lake in my province after a young guy in the NHL hockey league when he won the cup for his team. It happens regularly when people are still alive, especially sports stars.

  • Zappa Frank

    yes she really need that 800k yuan..
    i think she felt embarassed too, but no one refuse money..

  • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

    She should have refused the money but I guess she had to accept to give ‘face’ to the officials.

    Would be cool if she in turn gave the money to charity.

    • LaoShu

      hey it’s only face.. she did not have to give head !

    • the ace of books

      As you say, refusing the money would’ve lost face, yes. But! It also, either due to having, ah, “defaced” the officials, or to spite, or something similar, would have had long-term repercussions down the line – withdrawn support, press problems, intentional ignoring by Chinese sponsors, etc. It was an offer she couldn’t afford to refuse.

      • Boris_Da_Bengal_Tiger

        That too. It seems like these officials want to bask in her reflected glory.

  • Germandude

    Imagine her taking the money, building up sth like a kindergarden with a focus on sports, being cheaper than the governmmental ones.

    Taking money from the government that was supposed to be wasted, creating sth sensible, while doing it more efficient than the government. Now that would be the best way for her to show the middle finger to those that she seems to not be interested to get involved with. And doing sth for the people who initially paid for this governmental official’s poor act on gaining face upon her back.

    • David

      I like the idea and I think I understand. One small question, what is sth? It is possible it has a well known meaning and I just don’t get it. However, your meaning was very clear so as long as it does not mean kill puppies, I agree with you.

      • Wololoo

        sth. is a common abbreviation used in dictionaries.

        • SonofSpermcube

          I’ve never seen it outside of a Chinese context; but that would make sense, since this is the land of dictionary translation.

          • Irvin

            Agree, for people reading this take note. Don’t use it outside of china, it’s annoying. in fact all abbreciations is annoying, don’t be lazy and spell the whole thing out dammit!

          • Teacher in China

            You’ve never seen outside of a Chinese context? Really? That’s hard to believe. It’s pretty normal.

          • SonofSpermcube

            [citation needed]

          • Teacher in China

            2 years of teacher training and 8.5 years experience language teaching. It’s very common.

          • Guest

            32 years of reading shit in English. It isn’t. I’d literally never seen it before coming to China. Do you have any articles on its geographic prevalence or anything? Or do you just have nothing that is better than my word?

          • SimpsonsGoldenAge

            If you’ve never seen sth. before coming to China, you’re just uneducated.

          • Teacher in China

            So since you had never seen it before coming to China, it therefore must have never existed. Right. Do a google search on “university note taking abbreviations” or “ESL common abbreviations” and I’m sure you’ll see it. I’m done with this discussion.

        • David

          Thank you for the clarification Wololoo. I have been reading dictionaries my entire life and I can not remember ever seeing it. I believe you, I am just surprised.

          • Teacher in China

            I think it’s very common in language learning. If you pick up any English learner’s dictionary you’ll see it, especially in relation to phrasal (or two word) verbs. These verbs can sometimes be split (pick it up) and sometimes not (make friends with him). In dictionaries, this is commonly expressed this way: “pick sth up”, “make friends with sb” (the latter is especially funny if you know Chinese slang…)

          • SonofSpermcube

            Language learning where?

          • the ace of books

            A quick Google of “sth abbreviation” or “sth meaning” will answer you this — apparently it’s commonly used in various academic/language-learning contexts, not just in China, but in French, German, etc. These languages (as really, most alphabet-based languages) also have their own abbreviations for “something” – eg, French has qqch or qqu. You’ll find similar (but not necessarily the same!) abbreviations all over.

          • SonofSpermcube

            So what you’re saying is, it’s jargon.

          • Teacher in China

            Anywhere in the world that teaches English.

          • donscarletti

            It’s pretty ridiculous to be exposing language learners to abbreviations that are rarely used by native speakers and never used in a semi-formal or formal context. How are they to know what is in the text book isn’t proper English?

            If I received a work related email with “sth” or “sb”, I would automatically think that this person is too lazy to hit eight extra keys to make their email more legible to the reader, which would influence my opinion of them. However the writer might be completely innocent, thinking that this is actually normal and proper; by the time they learn differently, the habit may be already ingrained. This is added to the fact that new English users tend not to write in the clearest way at the best of times and the additional confusion is not needed at all.

            New speakers should be taught in a formal register until they are fluent enough to distinguish register by themselves.

        • lonetrey / Dan

          hmm! I learned something new today. I thought he was just self-censoring “shit” or sth. Ahahaha

      • Germandude

        Hold on. You mean you don’t know the abbreviation of sth?
        Or do you mean, you don’t understand what I am with sth for the people?

        • David

          Just did not know sth meant something. : )

        • mr.wiener

          It means you have joined the dark side and are a sth, the only question is are you an apprentice or are you the master?

          • lonetrey / Dan

            Ahahahahaha after “shit”, my mind jumped to “Sith” as well!

    • scanner

      Why does she look like a German man?

      • Germandude

        Initially I thought you are trying to troll me with your question. But after second thought, I admire your sharp imaging of comparing a German man with a Chinese professional tennis player. And if you take a closer look, both have many things in common as you can see in below picture.

        It is very hard to distinguish who is who, if Li Na is unknown to you. Racial characteristics are hard to be recognized, sth (<—that's something @Silntthnkr:disqus ;-) ) I don't blame on you. Even the Fuehrer himself had his issues with determining who is good and who is bad and eventually he gave up on his stupid idea of racial superiority, simply by comitting suicide.

        Anyways, sharp eyes will recognize that on the left side of the picture is the German man, while on the right side, it's Li Na. Please also be aware that this is the original picture. The 800k CNY cheque is not a cheque, but a voucher for this year's Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. The German man on the left side is to be called "the standardized German". Every man in Germany looks like him, or pretty similar. A white beard, which Germans grow at the age of 3, a beer glass (1 liter) in his hand and a vicious look in his eyes, that is showing his bad intentions of finishing this beer in one slug or to march east towards Russia again.

        On the right side, you see Li Na (yes, it's really her!), who seems less than impressed by an invitation for the Oktoberfest, as she hoped to be able to redeem the voucher for some Chinese baijou. A drink that is pretty uncommon in Germany and would probably be banned anyway to save the youth (we gotta march straight and not in circles).
        Her German facial characteristics are actually outplayed by huge amounts of makeup in order to look less German. Something that is not welcomed in Germany and was a common tactic of resistance to confuse Germans. You know, swimming against the stream is sth frowned on in Germany as in order to meet Moscow, everybody has to march into the same direction, that's east.

        So, yeah, @scanner, I admire your sharp eyes on finding one of us that has to be put in order again. Thanks

        • Free Man

          Danke für den Lacher!

        • scanner

          Hmmmmm, I do miss the worldiness of Brandenburg Tor during Oktoberfest. maybe if a German lesbian had presented her the Cheque, Li Na might have been smiling.

      • donscarletti

        Li Na is not an ugly woman at all, it is just that tennis has so many pretty players, since the figure it promotes (tall, lean and leggy) tends to be slamming hot. She is still prettier than many successful tennis players. She looks OK when she’s not scrunching her eyes up (which she does 90% of the time when she’s on court) and better with her mouth closed. If her husband has played Street Fighter II at all, he probably tries to convince her to cosplay as Chun Li and enjoys her very much.

    • Eileithyia

      According to Forbes, she is the third highest paid women athletes last year(18.2). and second in 2012(18M+). This little money probably doesn’t mean much to her. I hope she donates the money to charity.

      • Germandude

        I hope so too.

  • Wodowsan

    I think the comments of the netizens proves there are many independent Chinese that can think for themselves. They realize that this is Li Na’s victory as an individual and is not beholden to the Party. I applaud her and the netizens!

  • FYIADragoon

    “‘No!’ says the man in Beijing, it belongs to everyone!”

  • Anjing

    She looks so impressed as well! You can see how much she enjoys being trotted out by the government on the rare occasions she gets to come home for Spring Festival…

    • firebert5

      Aren’t those common expressions in Chinese photos though? Seriously, take a look at photos here. It seems like the vast majority of them have the most miserable expressions on their faces no matter the situation, though they seem to be more pronounced during official photos. Or maybe it’s just me.

      • TJDubs

        Look at the other photos of her, after winning the Australian Open, holding the trophy, or spraying champagne. She looks genuinely happy in those. Here, she knows this event is total masturbation on the part of the officials, and takes no joy in appearing in it. She probably felt obligated because it’s her hometown.

      • Edward_Crowley

        that would be the inscrutable chinaman, a smile does not mean happiness, very hard people to read indeed.

      • Wodowsan

        I thought the reflex action of 50% of Chinese was to a flash a peace sign anytime a camera is pointed at them.

        • Middle_Kingdum

          “V for Victory” Chinese kids come out of the womb with their index and middle fingers upraised waiting for any awaiting camera.

  • mr.wiener

    Probably wishing she was back on a beach in Australia.
    Still, apart from having to put up with being paraded by the local govt types at least she gets to see her family. Happy Chinese new year to all. May your visits be long, but not too long. May your hongbaos be full.

  • ex-expat

    Great for Li Na, but to give someone who just won almost two millions dollars in prize money and much more in sponsorships $130,000? You have defied logic once again, CCP, keep up the good work!

  • Zappa Frank

    i’ ve never heard of people that refuse money.
    Have you ever heard people like Nadal saying i’ve played for spain? Tennis is a individual sport and atlethes are ATP professionists, they play for their country just during some different kind of tournaments, not

  • mattman183

    Between a rock and a hard place. Obviously did not want to accept the award, but should she turn it down, imagine the shit-storm it would create for her and her loved ones.

    • the ace of books

      Exactly this.

  • nqk123

    she does not look happy at all. she seen kinda forced to accept the money. also, can anyone tell me where the phrase “Sick man of Asia” come from. I heard it was by a chinese writer trying motivate his fellow chinese.

    • wnsk

      I think the Japanese used that phrase to refer to China in WW2. It was famously referenced in a Bruce Lee movie, where he crushed up a sign with those words and made the Japanese dojo guys eat them. I think.

      • ElectricTurtle

        It’s older than that… though I can’t be arsed to do leg work on it at the moment, I can say it was coined by European commentators during the height of colonization in the mid to late 19th century when the Qing was making concessions and handing over cities to become European colonies.

    • ScottLoar

      Correction: “The Sick Man of Europe” referred to the Ottoman Empire but the phrase was later co-opted by others for their own ends, i.e. Sick Man of Asia. A little diligence will reveal the source.

      And another word which etymology has been corrupted by nationalists; “coolie” or laborer is an Indian word introduced by compradors as part of the trade jargon (like “godown” meaning a warehouse) and not 苦力。

      • nqk123

        i got some chinese people arguing that it come from japanese or westerner.

        • ScottLoar

          They are correct but it has no effect now other than to hold a grudge. Ask those good folks how were Westerners referred to then and even now.

        • ScottLoar

          They are correct but it means nothing now to anyone but those wanting to hold a grudge. Ask those same goodfolks what they called foreigners then and even now.

  • Cameron

    The CCP is a leech that sucks the blood out of anything and anyone good in a desperate attempt to sustain itself, bleeding the country dry in the process. Np doubt these Hubei officials saw this little outlay as a great way to rinse some of their spending on high price escorts and five star hotels. The day China is united under a flag which represents all of China rather than just the Communist Party will be a great one indeed!

    • Western leaders do not represent their people either so that’s a big ask.

  • ESL Ninja

    Seems like the government trying to ‘buy’ her loyalty and turn her into a puppet. Unfortunately, judging by her expression, I don’t think the amount is enough and I don’t think she really gives a fuck about the party.

    • donscarletti

      The aussies gave her $2,430,000 (16 times as much) for the exact same thing just a few days earlier. Kind of patronising when you think about it.

  • markus peg

    Sports personality of the year anyone?

  • Tamil Tiger

    Come on, 800K RMB? She deserve more.

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Everything has to be made into a crappy banner, chessy looking signs, always with fugly yellow on red. There are no people with any good aesthetics in all of China?

    • the ace of books

      Design is taught as a science, not an art. Art is taught as a science, not an art. And when you can’t science it, it’s not taught, because it’s hard to memorize, and memorization is the way you learn.

  • Wodowsan

    From the look of her expression one gets the feeling that they are holding a gun to her relatives’ heads off camera forcing her to accept the check and give them face.

  • linette lee

    Take those money Li Na and build programs or schools for the special needs kids or poor kids so they too have a chance to education or sports. You may discover talent.

  • Don’t Believe the Hype

    “The government’s power to allocate taxpayers’ money should be exercised in accordance with the law”

    It would be more believable if they ever, just once, mentioned what law in particular they were talking about.

  • wnsk

    It’s a lose-lose situation, lol. Don’t award her any money, and people are gonna criticize; award her money and people will still criticize.

  • the ace of books

    Li Na’s expression is pretty brilliant here, giving her opinion better than any statement might. Having read the last two articles, then this, all in one day, you see how sick she is of the situation.

    I’m waiting for her to put the money back into the community in some way – as mentioned above, it’s a nice, stick-it-to-the-Man way out of the situation. Wonder if she’s thought of doing it, or if she’s been specifically told not to?

  • hehehehh

    she doesnt look happy

  • YourSupremeCommander

    Where you at bro?

    • Mighty曹

      Hahahaha…. that looks identical to my pose.

      • mr.wiener

        Return of the mighty!
        Nice to have you back mate.

        • Mighty曹

          Thank you, Sir Wiener. Happy new year, mate.

  • Surfeit

    Red tape. Red tape. China all over.

  • Mighty曹

    Gong xi fa cai!

  • Mighty曹

    Li Na or Miss Japan?
    (I’ll pass on both)

  • ChinaPrat

    Tough week. The last three posts were about Li Na…. a fuckin tennis player.

  • Claude

    Doesn’t she have to give a percentage of her earnings to the state or are those days over?

  • yanukovitch

    Hey post about the song about ‘english teachers’ from a fellow named TED or something