Net users, media divided over Horton’s ‘insulting’ comment against Sun Yang

By Yang Sheng Source:Global Times Published: 2016/8/9 1:18:39 Last Updated: 2016/8/9 8:57:12

Chinese Net users and media are divided on Australian swimmer Mack Horton's unfriendly comment on his Chinese counterpart Sun Yang, with most supporting Sun's call for Horton to apologize, and some calling on Chinese to calm down and not to inject nationalism into the issue between the players.

The heated discussions on the dispute between Sun and Horton have not subsided, especially after Horton admitted to the Sydney Morning Herald that his appraisal of Sun as a "drug cheat" was a deliberate ploy to get into the head of his main rival. And the Xinhua News Agency said that the Chinese Swimming Association called the Australian Swimming Association and sought an apology because Horton's words were a personal attack and "damaged the relationship between both countries' swimming associations."

The latest news refueled Chinese Net users' anger. Online discussions on Sina Weibo with hashtag "Horton, apologize to Sun Yang" had been viewed more than 69 million times as of the press time. Horton reportedly closed his Instagram account due to a flood of criticism.

A Chinese businessman also capitalized on the controversy. Chinese e-commerce company Jumei CEO Chen Ou said on his Weibo that Web users will get a discount if they use swear words against Horton on the Jumei app.

Aside from Sun's supporters, other Chinese people called for calm on Monday. Yang Zao, a research fellow at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, posted an article on his WeChat public account saying that "Chinese people are too sensitive, and we can't take everything to a patriotic level and ask others to apologize when individual Chinese have disputes with the outside world."

Ran Xiongfei, a reporter from Titan Sport, a Chinese sport newspaper, wrote on Sina Sport that Horton's groundless comments are "excessive and not gentle at all."

Ran pointed out that "the best way for Sun Yang to respond to Horton and regain respect is to defeat Horton."

Posted in: Diplomacy, Society

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