Expert draws controversy for suggesting eggs and milk for breakfast, not porridge

Source:Global Times Published: 2020/4/21 16:21:49

Photo: Zhang Wenhong 

An infectious disease expert has sparked controversy among netizens by suggesting kids have eggs and milk for breakfast, not porridge, during the pandemic prevention period. Critics questioned the expert's preference for "Western-style breakfasts", and some even slammed him for being xenocentric.

However, many netizens agreed that people should take in the expert's suggestion from a professional perspective, and not turn it into a moral judgment, as this will not only cause a misinterpretation of the doctor's remarks, but also damage the environment in which people can talk freely.

Zhang Wenhong, a Shanghai-based infectious disease doctor, was pulled into the discussion after a video clip on China's social media platform Sina Weibo started gaining attention, in which he said that "Chinese kids must have food with high nutrition and high protein, such as eggs and milk, for breakfast every day before going to school and should not eat porridge," urging parents to pay more attention to their children's diet at this special time.

The hashtag "Zhang Wenhong said not to eat porridge for breakfast" has received more than 100 million views and 64,000 discussions on Weibo as of press time. Chinese netizens have argued over whether Zhang's suggestion is useful and makes sense. Discussions also went beyond the topic, asking whether the renowned doctor is fawning over foreign cultures, as milk and eggs are considered a Western-style breakfast.

"I don't think the suggestion is useful because not all kids like such Western-style breakfasts. And for those who don't have a craving for milk and eggs, they might try to eat less when they are asked to eat them, which might actually hinder them from getting a nutritious breakfast," commented one Weibo user.

As eating porridge for breakfast is seen as a long-standing tradition for Chinese people, some netizens argued Zhang's preference for Western breakfasts showed his xenophilia. 

"If he is not xenocentric, why did he advocate Westerners' breakfast so much to replace the food that most Chinese people have become used to eating in their lives?" was a typical comment in the discussions on Sina Weibo.

However, these comments were rejected and slammed by Zhang's defenders as being excessive and groundless.

"As a clinical doctor, Zhang made the suggestion from a professional perspective. It's so ridiculous to label him as xenocentric just because he said eggs and milk have more nutrition," read one comment that received 1,000 likes on Weibo.

Others criticized the misinterpretation of the doctor's remarks, and warned against turning them into a moral judgment.

"Labeling and judging an expert so easily without thinking about the context and background will be very harmful to the environment for expression, not only for experts, but for us netizens as well," said one Weibo user.

Zhang shot to fame on the internet after he said in late January that he had dispatched doctors and nurses who are members of the Communist Party of China to the front-line hospital to treat coronavirus cases.

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