Posted by: Third Tone Devil | 22 March 2010

The Zhou Yang case: Can you thank your parents before you thank the Fatherland?

The popular site QQ has published a review of the Zhou Yang controversy. Zhou Yang, a Winter Olympics champion, invited veiled criticism from the deputy head of the National Sports Bureau for talking about her parents in the interviews she gave after receiving the gold medal:”Thanking dad and mom is no problem, but you should thank the nation/state (guojia) first.”

The QQ collection suggests that this view has met with widespread ridicule, and reinforces it with this cheeky sentence: “Should every sportsman really use the same format for his words of gratitude ? Starting with heaven and earth, ancestors and teachers, emperors and kings, Marx-Engels-Lenin-Stalin, Party-Government-masses, and workers-peasants-soldiers?” It is particularly critical of the Sports Bureau deputy head’s attempts to link the issue to “moral education” (deyu). The text recalls that in 1990, when Fu Mingxia, the later sports star, got her first international champion’s title, she had been told not to answer any personal questions and so replied to all reporters “I don’t know.” This, the text opines, is a kind of “poison” of putting the nation (guojia) first that Chinese society carries.

Interesting that this text is so critical, when the “Kowtowing to the Fatherland” Spring Festival initiative apparently received little ridicule of this kind.

Han Han produced a spoof on the Zhou Yang event by thanking first the country and then his parents before a car race in which his car ended up flipping over. He ironically concludes that, clearly, this is the correct order to follow.



  1. Somebody said on twitter that Zhou Yang hadn’t learned from this at all: she said she wanted to find a boyfriend who would take a good care of her parents recently. Appearantly, she should find someone who take care of the country first.

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