Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Nobody Can "Porra China" and Get Away with It

By Asia Pop Culture

After Audi AG, here is another one trying the patience of Chinese citizens (and Beijing).  ESPN reports that Chelsea Football Club (Chelsea FC) winger Kenedy has been sent home early from the club's pre-season Asia tour after posting insulting comments about China on social media.

Chelsea Football Club is a professional football club based in England, and Kenedy is a 21-year old Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger and occasional left back for Chelsea.

Kenedy was in Beijing playing in Chelsea's pre-season tour game on July 22.  Guess it was either out of plain boredom or "excitement" of the Asia tour, he put up two videos on his Instagram account. The posts were in Portuguese with captions that roughly translated to "f*** China" and "wake up China, idiot" making fun of the dozing security guard.

Although the posts were quickly deleted and Kenedy did attempt to apologize on Instagram Stories (see screenshots below), judging by the words used, he totally did not grasp the gravity of the situation.  To make the problem even worse, that 'apology' disappeared after only 24 hours.

I seriously doubt that kind of language would even fly in the U.S. let along in the heavily censored and media-controlled China.  Anyway, everything went downhill fast and furious after his Instagram posts were shared.

The Brazilian player was widely booed during the match with Arsenal in Beijing whenever his name was announced or he was in a play.  People’s Daily, the flagship newspaper of China’s Communist Party, even wrote an editorial stating,
China does not welcome a player like this, nor does China welcome a team like this. Kenedy’s absurd comments are not only impolite but also uneducated....  He has created an incident that has humiliated China, an incident that so many fans simply cannot tolerate. 

Chelsea FC did issue a long and thorough official apology admitting social media posts by Kenedy had caused “great offence and hurt the feelings of the people of China”, and promised the player has been “reprimanded and disciplined.”   Then Kenedy was supposedly fined and sent back to UK from Singapore where Chelsea is to play a second game in its Asia tour.

Three days after the Instagram posts, Chelsea went into diplomatic overdrive in the hope of limiting the damage.  This was Chelsea’s first visit to the mainland China since 2008, and China is a valuable market for the football clubs. I'm sure the executives at Chelsea have high hopes for this Asia tour to attract Chinese interest and investment. Unfortunately, in the eyes of Beijing and regular Chinese citizens Chelsea FC has been associated with a grave offence by insulting the Mother Land.

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