U.S. Olympic Cyclists Arrive in Beijing Wearing Face Masks

Many world athletes are arriving in China for the 2008 Olympic Games. However, when the American cyclist team arrived wearing face masks yesterday, this caused a strong reaction with many Chinese. On many BBS forums all over the Chinese language internet, many people quickly posted photographs of the cyclists and expressed their feelings.

American cyclist, Bobby Lea, arrives in Beijing wearing face mask and 'Beijing' t-shirt

On KDS: I think the Americans wearing face masks is fine, what is wrong with that?

Each person has different tolerances for air and what they are accustomed to. Honestly, I also think Beijing air is not good, and this is publicly known. What is wrong with others caring about their health?


I cannot get used to those people who always criticize Americans, never looking at themselves and their own problems.

It is vagrants like you that worship foreign countries who spoil these foreigners!

Bad air? I have not seen Beijing people die immediately after birth!

The Olympics are in Beijing, whether you foreigners like it or not.

If you do not like the air, then just go home!

The two sides are about to start arguing again…

That was worshiping? You think you are patriotic? Afraid to admit your own shortcomings?
Do not be so narrow-minded, okay? You will be laughed at!

When your stomach hurts, but the only restroom is very smell, do you still go? At most, you might use your clothes to cover your nose. Would people still criticize you for this?

Grant Hackett’s lung is so bad but has not been seen wearing a facial mask. But this motherfucking cyclist needs one?

They do this intentionally, to embarrass Chinese people. I am surprised there are people willing to defend them and apparently be their lackey.

50 cents has already been deposited in your account, please check that you have received it.

American cyclist Bobby Lea arrives in Beijing for 2008 Olympic Games

There are a lot of foreigners in Beijing normally and I rarely see any wearing an air facial mask. They even live there long-term.

Coming to participate in the stupid Olympics when the air is this bad, honestly, would it not be better to just stay home?

Stop fighting, maybe they are sick but wear a facial mask so they can still come participate in the Beijing Olympics to give the host face.

Of course this is their own business. Forget wearing a mask over your mouth. even if you wear a bra over your mouth no one will bother you.

The point here is that this person or these people do not understand basic etiquette. If we are talking about basic manners, this is also one example of not having manners.

You go to someone’s home as a guest. If their indoor air is not good, at the worst, you just do not go.
You come and bring your own tableware, even wear a face mask, do you not think this is rude?
Are you not looking to be criticized?

Beijing’s air is not good, I admit.
But the Olympics are only a few days. It is not as if you are sweeping the streets.
Why can other people endure it, but you cannot?
You think you are more special than others?

Lou zhu,”
You have friends and family come to your house, and they think your house is dirty, but everyday you clean, they do not drink the tea you serve considering the cup dirty. You let them sit but they do not sit. How would you feel? If this kind of thing happened to you, you will probably think they have a mental problem.
Accordingly, you posting this kind of topic gives me the same feeling, just like the foreigners wearing face masks.

American female cyclist arrives for 2008 Beijing Olympic Games wearing face mask

American air is just average.
But those from New Zealand and similar places I think will not be able to breathe!

If I went, I would wear a face mask too. The air there really is not good.

Sigh…this Olympics has brought chaos to the entire country’s people.

Is this how a host country should be?
Can China’s education produce more logical, normal thinking people?

If you think it is dirty, you do not have to come, but since you have come, do not insult us Chinese. You dare wear face mask, then we can sell stars and stripes underwear and wear them on the outside like superheroes. Sorry, we cannot help it, the chairs are dirty. There must be mutual respect. If you do not respect us, why should I respect you!?
You say we pollute a lot, but the question is who motherfucking opened all those blood and tears factories?

Other people are only ordinary people. They do not understand these big principles. They only know they cannot breathe good air.

If you went to Africa, you too would wear a face mask…

Chinese air quality really is inferior to foreign countries. We should face the truth and not deceive ourselves and others.

Bobby Lea, American Olympic cyclist, wears face mask when arriving in Beijing

Indeed, this is just like the democracy-loving Americans to protest Bush invading Iraq on one side and pouring Middle Eastern oil into their cars on the other side.

Go to South Africa and do not wear condoms. Otherwise you would be insulting South African people.

Everyone has the right to wear a face mask!

With Beijing’s air quality, did you actually believe foreigners should take a deep breath?

Actually, it does not matter if it is Beijing or Shanghai, air quality really is serious concern.
When I was small, I had allergies. Each time I was flying back to China, the moment I begin uncontrollably sneezing, I knew we had reached China airspace. It was very accurate.

Wearing face mask is not wrong. The air being bad is not wrong either. The wrong thing was knowing that the air is bad, that foreigners are fussy, and still choosing a place with bad air to be the host city.

To be honest, the color of this face mask is too ridiculous.

I am Chinese. Tomorrow, I am going to Beijing and I will also wear a face mask.

Maybe the Americans have watched too much Transformers.

Many Chinese posted about this news on Tianya also, such as this post: “Firmly oppose Western ‘anti-Chinese’ athletes wearing face masks when walking onto the field.

American cyclist arrives in Beijing wearing face mask offends Chinese people

The Americans Olympic cyclists have already apologized:

BEIJING (Reuters) – Four U.S. cyclists who arrived in Beijing for the Games wearing masks to counter bad air have apologized to Olympic officials and the Chinese people.

Track cyclist Bobby Lea said the riders had sent a letter to Beijing Games organizers (BOCOG) to make sure they realized the masks were not meant to be any kind of statement or protest.

“We didn’t realize the impact that wearing the masks would have,” Lea told Reuters on Wednesday. “From our standpoint it was to take care of a perceived health risk.

“In reality it came across as offensive. We don’t want to insult BOCOG or the Chinese public. Had I known it was going to be perceived as an insult I wouldn’t have done it.”

What do you think?

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  • Gaoshan

    I think these riders are trying to protect their lungs but mainly I think they are trying to make a statement. I mean, wearing matching masks from the moment they land in Beijing? Seems to be a stunt on their part.

  • Gaoshan

    Also, why are the masks black? Speaking for myself I know that the masks that are commercially available here in the US are almost always white (the rest are tan) and I’ve certainly never seen a black one.

    Oh well, gives me a reason to root against them (normally I root for either China or USA athletes with my preference for the athlete winning when the US and China are going against each other. For instance I will root for US basketball to beat China but I will root for Liu Xiang over US).

  • Chinamerican

    The issue is not so much that they are wearing masks since people in many Chinese cities do this but that they’re doing this INDOORS, in a very large area (i.e. international airport). It’s a bit excessive.

    • Sturich

      lol, yeah cuz th air inside the airport doesn’t come from the outside, it’s produced in little clean air making machines by the ticket booth.

  • Sausage Mahoney

    It’s nauseatingly obvious what these jerks are trying to pull…wanting their 15 minutes… all premeditated to cause a stir…. and we all thought American tourists were rude and obnoxious!

  • Veer Left

    Actually many Chinese wear masks everyday in the subway. I wish I had one too sometimes, as I am in the recover stages of a pretty severe bout of bronchial trauma that has sidelined me for almost an entire week with fever and obscene coughing spasms. In any case…

    Do you ‘tards actually think that an athlete who has developed their muscles, aerobic capacity and their skill all their lives should risk (even 0.00001%) of their chances at Gold because of your feelings?
    How awfully selfish of them *gasp*! All they’ve heard is how polluted the air is…after all, your government has made all the factories shut down for a week already…just so that you can have some sun and fresh(ish) air, and they dare wear a mask?
    Some people wear them here…they wear them in Tokyo…they wear them in N.Y….
    These people are taking as few risks as they can..till after the event.
    Do you know that I have witnessed ordinary Chinese people just cover their mouth and nose walking by people of African descent? At first I thought it was coincidence…then I noticed that it happened often.

    So, think a bit about the behaviour of regular Chinese before you ridicule a finely tuned athlete for protecting his/her most delicate piece of equipment (lungs) from possibly not functioning at it’s absolute best in your well-documented dustbowl.

  • Sausage Mahoney

    Maybe these fine specimens should walk around in plastic bubbles so as not to endanger their oh-so delicate sensibilities…. notice any other athletes wearing masks? In the AIRPORT?? No. Just a few yankee douchebags. And of course you’re going on about RIGHTS. Just don’t. We all have the right to do whatever we want blah blah blah… those athletes knew EXACTLY what reaction those masks would cause. Fucking pathetic.

  • Veer Left

    You may not be an athlete and I applaud your decision.
    It’s not about sensibilities, it’s about capabilities. In case you haven’t noticed this is a pretty polluted place. Hence the CLOSING OF FACTORIES for all special days (which miraculously turn into clear, shining days)…or have you missed that part?
    Either you are new to this place Mahoney, or you don’t know any other. Either way…it’s the ATHLETES choice…just like it is your choice to put on rubber boots when it’s raining.

  • barry

    The next time any of you Nationalistic, Pro-CCP, Being so- CCTV, Pro-Han goons who support anything that involves 5000 years of unquestionable race superiority inferiority complex are given a visa to visit the next olympics go ahead and wear a mask, we all will be more grateful.

  • Ted

    Re: “You dare wear face mask, then we can sell stars and stripes underwear and wear them on the outside like superheros. ”

    Yes, if you live in the US, you can. If you like, you can even print American flag toilet paper.

  • Cyclemaniac

    what a bunch of asshole losers! they should apologize to all Americans for embarassing their country with such adolescent, white trash behavior. you can take the bozos out of the country but you can’t take the country out of the bozos! hope they lose all their races and return home humiliated like they should be

  • I blogged on this yesterday and agree with Chinamerican, why would they wear these inside? It’s just insulting and these athletes are an embarassment to the US.

  • czhou

    I really do not think it is a big deal.
    Anyone has the right to do anything as long as it does not restrict other’s freedom.
    BJ’s air quality is not that good, so I think it is understandable that they wear face masks, especially when they are in the period of getting used to everything here.
    The only thing I think is not proper is that they are doing it so high-key, as they should be able to foresee the potential impact of their behavior under the current circumstances.
    On a personal leve, I think there is nothing to blame for.

  • Kev

    It does look like a small political statement. The American athletes are assigned N95 masks which are white and do not look anything like what they wore.

  • laogao

    I would defend anyone’s right to wear a facemask, but my personal opinion is that the athletes are way over the top here, provocatively and offensively so. Partly you have to blame the way foreign media has whipped up hysteria about the pollution, but as a European, it does all seem like such a typically crass, insensitive “American” thing to do. Much of the USA, for all its multicultural cities and global power, is pretty insulated from the rest of the world. The best excuse I can give the athletes is that they are acting out of cultural ignorance that is not of their individual making. Just look at their current president.

  • Rick in China

    RE: “If you went to Africa, you too would wear a face mask…”
    Actually, African air is fantastic – having travelled through Rwanda, Tanzania, and Kenya extensively and multiple times I don’t understand how you can possibly make such a ridiculous statement. Industry? Yeah – Serengeti is covered in factories and vehicles causing pollution. Ignorant post.

    • 404namenotfound

      Yeah + The sky is ALWAYS blue (not ash) in Africa!

  • Rick in China

    Oh, lets also get some facts, people:

    “The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Air Pollution Index (API) is a measurement of concentrations of chemicals and dust particles in the air. The WHO recommends an API measurement of 50 as its maximum safe daily level. May 2008 saw a daily API average of 131 in Beijing. May 27, 2008, saw the capital’s API peak at 463, over nine times the safe level.”

    Compare to New York City http://airnow.gov/index.cfm?action=airnow.showlocal&CityID=164 I don’t think Cyclists practice in NY downtown – but if they did, the air quality would still be a MULTIPLE better than Beijing.

    Why criticize people with health concerns because you don’t share them? Who the **** are you to tell people what they can and can not be concerned with, when there are perfectly valid reasons? I personally don’t wear a mask when I’m in BJ, but if I did, and someone critiqued me for it, you can be sure I’d pop you in the face for being an ignorant whiney child.

  • krdr

    As I recon, Chinese people wears a mask everyday in Beijing. But THIS mask are just to provoke China and Beijing. So american. They forogten that main pollution comes from coal power plants which gives power to american owned factories in China

  • Veer Left

    KRDR….That is totally contradictory! You recall ordinary Chinese people wear masks in Beijing…good for you. BUT laowais on a mission of ultimate performance aren’t allowed to? Your ‘Rattlin Bog’ chain of logic in the above post makes it so obvious that the bamboo curtain was drawn aside a bit early in the evolutionary process.

    If the president came with a mask on…I’d understand your chagrin. After all, he isn’t here on a mission that requires maximum aerobic efficiency.
    Most likely at your level of exertion the air quality is irrelevant, but as a Canadian athlete who now lives in Shanghai, I can say there is a quantum difference in air quality.

  • Rick in China

    @ krdr RE “But THIS mask are just to provoke China and Beijing. So american.”

    As the above poster points out, your ignorance and speculation is astounding. You automatically take a defensive stance on something you widely accept, simply because of who the action is by. It’s OK for everyone, but not OK for some, because *YOU THINK* the intention is different. Who are you to state what someone else’ intention is? People like you look for and cause problems for no apparently logical reason. If only that was a crime.

  • Chill

    Seriously guys chill out.

    They’ve made a mistake and have now apologized. Obviously stepping off the plane in a mask when you know you’ll be facing the cameras is clearly just asking for trouble. If those athletes had a bit more common sense they’d put their masks on after they’ve left the airport.

  • Chill

    “Who are you to state what someone else’ intention is? People like you look for and cause problems for no apparently logical reason. If only that was a crime.”

    That’s ironic Rick, American athletes have the right to wear masks but “people like KDR” should not have the right to express themselves? I thought you Americans were advocates of free speech?

    I’m a liberal at heart, but all this Western chiding just reminds me of a familiar playground occurrence, oh what’s the word now…bullying?

  • Those masks look awesome.

  • Wang

    Probably not a political stunt. I bet they just heard from people who have been to China and from the (“western”) news that Beijing is polluted (which it definitely is — 12 times worse than L.A.) so they took precautions.

    But to wear face masks indoors at an airport is a bit excessive. After living in Nanjing for two years I saw a lot of Chinese citizens wearing face masks riding bicycles on the streets, but never did I see any Chinese citizens wearing face masks indoors and likewise never at an airport.

    Wearing them on the street in Beijing is fine and should be expected from Olympians, but at the airport wearing them is not necessary.

    I advise the Chinese ‘netizens’ to blame the cyclists on their ignorance. Don’t blame them on their political intentions. After all, the cyclists apologized for offending the hyper-sensitive Chinese people (who I think are mostly in their twenties and laughably refer to themselves as ‘netizens’.)

  • DiabloIII

    just chill the f*** out.. at least they didn’t wear an orange-colored (which is banned) mask ***sarcastic***

  • tavi


    I pedaled my A** off in Bejing for a whole year while working a contract,,,whatever doesnt kill you only makes you stronger,,,,

  • chen

    If the officials knew ahead of time about these rude atheletes they could have denied them visa like they did to others. How dare they make a statement?

  • krdr

    @Veer and Rick
    I do not believe Americans, even when they bring humanitarian aid.
    I mentioned Beijingers wearing mask, just to point out that there should not be so much stir about that masks.
    But, I cannot believe that USA Olympic committee didn’t ask any sinologyst about what is offensive to Chinese people. Black facial masks ARE offensive.
    Or, message is: We, Americans, are so great, that we do not care for others; or: We, Americans, have bad mouth.

    Maybe, I am wrong, but, this kind of masks are offensive.

  • Veer Left

    KRDR, I’m beginning to wonder about the extent of the complex that you (and many Chinese) seem to have. Is there nothing that you can resist reading ulterior motives and hidden insults into?

    They are not embassadors, here to shake hands and eat your food and marvel at your 5000 years of greatness. That is not why they have trained for years and years. They are here to win, and YOU (the Chinese who feel ‘hurt’ by this) should apologize for trying to distract them from their task.
    It is not about it not killing you instantly, it’s about the remote possibility that your lifes work could be nullified by an errant cough in a crowded airport or that the polluted air could cause your lungs to only work at 95% efficiency.

    I don’t expect your average layperson, non-athlete to understand, but I do expect the average rational human to realize that they don’t understand and therefore just accept that it is their RIGHT to protect their blowholes as they see fit!!

    I’m sure after they are done they will be happy to eat a steamed bun and some ‘fan qie chao dan’ …but till then they’ll eat what makes them comfortable and breathe the cleanest air possible.
    Just as they are accustomed to doing.

  • Chill

    “KRDR, I’m beginning to wonder about the extent of the complex that you (and many Chinese) seem to have. Is there nothing that you can resist reading ulterior motives and hidden insults into?”

    Seeing as we’re generalising here:

    Veer Left – I’m beginning to wonder about the extent of the complex that you (and many Americans) seem to have. Is there nothing that you can do to resist the temptation of screaming “Free Tibet” and showing off how high you perceive your moral values to be?

  • @krdr
    No, I don’t think American cyclists sit down with Sinologists any more than I think Chinese athletes working training for the Athens Olympics sat down to consult with Greek cultural experts.
    It’s simple. These are athletes who have trained hard for years to perfect their bodies. Their focus is on competing, not on pleasing a Chinese public they don’t even know. They were flown to a foreign country, told there were problems, told to protect themselves, and wore the masks they were given. Was it the perfect thing to do? No. But there is nothing illegal or wrong with wearing a certain colour mask.
    Why does China insist that every single person coming to their country act in an absolutely perfect way as defined by the Chinese? Wearing a mask in an airport is silly, but people have to right to be silly without having a whole nation get mad at them.
    My American colleagues in Hong Kong had to give a gift to a Chinese business partner and asked me for advice. I was like, “OK, no number four. No white ribbons. Nothing that might look like a knife or scissors. No clocks, because it symbolizes death. But an expensive watch is OK. No white flowers. Hand it over with two hands, not one. At your business dinner, don’t stick your chopsticks straight up in your rice.” They didn’t know this stuff. Do we expect the whole world to know all of our symbolism and preferences automatically?
    I’m Hong Kong Chinese. I don’t remember “no black masks” as a major no-no. Sometimes I wonder if some people are so suspicious of foreigners, they will look for any excuse to be offended.
    China has worked so hard and spent so much money to put on a good Games in terms of “hardware”. I hope they won’t ruin it with bad “software”, by proving to be uneasy, unhappy, easily offended hosts.

  • rj

    Wow. The Chinese are sooooooo sensitive. You want to be a world player, toughen up and learn how to take some criticism.

    • Fike2308

      Sometimes I feel like Chinese people want to have their cake and eat it too.

  • krdr


    I am Serb, not Chinese. But I know what is common sense.

    There’s old sayin’: “When you in Rome, do what Romans do”. Respecting the host is basic of good manners.

    Bicyclist could wear light sabers, too. Just in case off thick air or Chinese showing much to hospitality.

  • krdr

    One more thing. The famous API is derived from measurements of five pollutants: Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, PM10, Carbon Monoxide and Ozone. This kind of mask provides protection only for PM10, particle mater, less than 10 microns. Any other mask will reduce their breathing capabilities

  • I’m definitely not one to reflexively jump to defend America’s honor, but seriously, people way overreacted to this. The cyclists were absolutely justified in wearing masks, I would have done the exact same thing, because China is a toxic pit. All this “oh, let’s not hurt China’s feelings” crap is getting a little more than ridiculous. China doesn’t deserve to hold the Olympics, they should have never been there in the first place, for health reasons and for moral ones. Read my full blog about this here:


  • Fcuk Da Lu Ren

    Agreed, these whining little babies (Chinese) don’t deserve to have the Olympics here. I will more than delight me when Liu Xiang trips on a hurdle and takes fourth place.

    1.3 billion retards will be watching an opening ceremony the rest of the world could give a crap about. And has anyone noticed that Russian athletes (China’s main competitor for 2nd place) are testing positive for steroids? Subtle, but a good way to get a higher medal tally. Trying to take down the U.S. that way would be to provocative.

  • rj

    China’s glorious pollution shows they are a #1 country!


  • sam

    Well I can see the rest of the world is going to be grasping at straws to criticize the US yet again. Par for the course, I suppose.

  • Sammy

    What do you expect…I’d where a bloody mask too if I were competing. China should never have won the olympic bid for a large number of reasons….INCLUDING pollution!

  • Coughing Fit

    I think China should be apologising for their pathetic attempt 2
    a)Put down the cyclist
    b)put on an olympic games in a city that is unfit for sitting in let alone try and be athletic in.

    And no…I’m not American

  • Rick in China

    @ Chill
    RE: “That’s ironic Rick, American athletes have the right to wear masks but “people like KDR” should not have the right to express themselves? I thought you Americans were advocates of free speech?”

    I’m not American, thanks for the speculation, idiot.

  • Rick in China

    RE: “One more thing. The famous API is derived from measurements of five pollutants: Sulfur Dioxide, Nitrogen Dioxide, PM10, Carbon Monoxide and Ozone. This kind of mask provides protection only for PM10, particle mater, less than 10 microns. Any other mask will reduce their breathing capabilities”

    If you look at Beijing’s massive jumps in API/AQI it’s usually because of particle matter, actually, which is why it multiplies during some times of the year. It’s not because factories run overtime, it’s because of massive dust and sand storms coming off of the Mongolian plateau. Thanks for your input.

    @ Chill
    RE: “generalizing”
    Do you have green skin and a long warted nose? Your posts seem to contribute nothing informative or thought provoking to this thread, which leads me to believe you’re just an angry little troll.

  • Kai

    Okay, the thinly veiled racism, ignorance, and utter idiocy is getting overwhelming in these comments.

    Did you guys notice that there were plenty of Chinese who defended the Americans against those who took offense to what the Americans did, expressing understanding about the possible pollution issue? Christ, wasn’t that alone pretty darn reassuring?

    Instead of reinforcing your own jackass preconceptions of Chinese being “whining little babies” or “1.3 billion retards” who “don’t deserve to have the Olympics,” you might want to get your head out of your sphincter and realize that the Chinese, as a society, are just as human as you are and have a diversity of opinions. I reckon that is the point of this website.

    It appears that some of you are immature, narrow-minded, dumbasses who seem to delight in creating or contributing to problems instead of solutions. We laugh at or get irked by the Chinese who do this stuff, but how much better are you guys for walking the same line, just on the other side? Seriously, do any of you actually hear the condescending verbal garbage coming out of your mouths?

    I’m surprised you guys haven’t been banned.

  • mossyframe

    Hey cyclists, if you don’t like it, don’t go and don’t compete there.
    What’s on earth these STUPID athletes are trying to do? Hiding their ugly faces with their corrupted souls.

    I am an American citizen and I am so ashamed. Where is common sense nowadays? In fact if common sense and decency are justified, half american populations should not be allowed to live. Look at kids 17 year olds and younger, a bunch of idiots.
    So sad that we keep talking about how rude the Chinese are, but in the same times we don’t have manners to show the world.


  • fuck Da Lu Ren

    To Kai,

    Another example of revisionist Chinese apologetics. Those of us posting our frustrations of China are usually those of us who have lived here long periods of time and have had to endure untold amounts of manure we have had to eat from the Chinese “society”. Calling them a bunch of whiny babies is justified. Go read Tian Ya, and most of the other blogs calling us a bunch of AIDS infested, imperialist, a holes who are here trying to “contain” China’s development (nevermind we are the biggest contributors).

    So Kai, take your little apologetics and shove it. If they can bash us, we can bash right back. I hope this fails miserably.

  • Veer Left

    Jesus H Popsicle!!! Fcuk Da Lu Ren , calm down man. Put the gun away.

    Mossyframe…it’s not your party. YOU asked if you could hold it and someone said yes. It’s a Wai Gou Ren thing that you are being included in.

    It seems that Joyce Lau and Rick in China understand what I mean.

    KRDR, I am not from the USA. I just call it how I see it.

    Kai, I did notice that in Chinese language (when no wai guo ren are watching) some Chinese will make perfect sense and debate with each other. As soon as a foreigner is present (or the discussion is in English) the voices of reason often are quieted by the threat of being called a traitor. I’ll make it clear. To those that think it’s the cyclists own business I am not talking to you…it is not about being Chinese or not.

  • Rick in China

    @Veer Left
    RE: “it is not about being Chinese or not”

    Hit the nail on the head.

  • Kai

    @ fcuk Da Lu Ren:

    Uh, what “revisionist Chinese apologetics” are you talking about? Please return to my previous post and answer each question. Yes, those would be the sentences that end with a question mark. Yes, they were supposed to be rhetorical questions but given that you’re still in “I’m angry at China and want to persist being the same ‘whiny baby’ that I criticize them as” mode, I’m going to make one more attempt to reach out to you before I categorically ignore you.

    Those of us posting our frustrations of the West are usually those of us who have had to endure untold amounts of manure we have had to eat from the Western “society”. Calling them a bunch of whiny babies is justified.

    Funny how that works both ways. Your problem is that you are either incapable of or have simply decided that you’re above putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Fact is, everyone has skeletons in their closets and everyone’s shit stinks. Maybe you haven’t realized that yet? Or are you so self-righteous and brain-locked that you feel comfortable being a rampaging hypocritical idiot? What makes you any better than the Chinese who do the same shit?

    This isn’t the place for your hate-mongering. No one can stop you, but if you have any shred of decency and respect, you might want to consider taking your twisted panties to some xenophobic anti-China forum where you can preach to the choir. Many of us here would rather this website be a place where Chinese and foreigners can learn to laugh at themselves, realizing that we’re all very much human.

    • Teacher in China

      Ahhhh…classic Kai. Whatever happened to the good ole’ days…?

  • Kai

    @ Veer Left:

    I agree. There definitely is a certain amount of insecurity and immaturity amongst Chinese when it comes to discussions with foreigners present. At the same time, I’m sure the vast majority of people can identify with the tendency to unify against outsiders. For example, third parties who interfere thinking they’re helping one side or another will often find quarreling couples suddenly defend each other and snap back at them.

    Most citizens will still defend perceived slights against their home countries against foreigners when the criticism exceeds their tolerance, even when they have their own misgivings. Another example would be Americans who may hate Bush but will staunchly defend the mechanisms that allowed Bush to be elected (twice)…much to the consternation of foreigners who can’t stand him and consider America to be a fantastic example of something wrong.

    The Chinese are not perfect and they have a lot of ugly warts. Judging by the About page here, I think the goal is to show Westerners a “slice of Chinese life.” I really don’t think this was intended to be a China and Chinese-bashing forum. I doubt Fauna appreciates it or how political this is getting. We should respect that.

  • My husband, a regular and good distance runner, went jogging in Hong Kong and couldn’t breathe. My parents have both been coughing and to the doctor. We were supposed to go the city yesterday, but my dad refused to leave his home village in the New Terrotories.

    I’ve been sneezing and coughing — and, no, I don’t have a cold or flu. My eyes are so red I have problems putting in contact lenses.

    My American colleague is wearing a mask in the office. OK, that might be silly; better to wear it outside. But I’m not going to make fun of him or be offended.

    Before work, my husband and I were watching the BBC Olympics coverage. Actually, we were in a restaurant with the sound turned off, but the announcer was standing in front of a Beijing skyline that looked thick and grey. You could barely see the buildings behind him. And while the BBC is not perfect, it does not “doctor” its photos.

    This is not fog. I’m know the famous London fog, my husband is from foggy Normandy, I’ve seen the fog roll into San Francisco. Fog is light, white and made of water. It smells natural, like rain. It is not opaque, heavy, grey, stinky and artificial looking.

    Most people don’t react to this or that statistic, they react to what the see, smell and feel. And this — from Beijing to Hong Kong — is pollution. Smog, beginning with an “sm,” not an “f.”

    This is an environmental issue that needs fixing — not something that has to do with politics, name-calling, insults, “face,” or China vs. U.S.

  • A Londoner

    Hi, I’m from London and just want to add my 2p worth. Some here seem to think the US cyclists stupid prank was offensive just to the Chinese. When I watched the BBC news and saw them in those enormous black masks INSIDE the airport terminal I think steam came out of my ears!

    The Chinese have made enormous sacrifices to improve the air quality, far beyond what I think any Western democracy would have done, they deserve praise for that and pulling out all the stops to give the athletes superb facilities. If British cyclists had behaved that way I would have been demanding they be sent home for bringing the country into disrepute.

    This morning our British cyclist Nicole Cooke won Gold – no mask, no fuss!

    Joyce – I have lived in London for over 60 years, I haven’t seen ‘famous London fog’ for years, like any city in a river valley there will be occasional morning mist though. The smog problem disappeared 40 years ago when coal fires were banned, so please US cyclists don’t turn up in London in 2012 with masks to protect yourself from the ‘famous London fog’, I for one would demand you were sent home.

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