Team China’s gymnast Tang Xijing arouses patriotic feelings at Tokyo Olympic Games with musical choice
Published: Jul 26, 2021 07:23 PM
Chinese gymnast Tang Xijing Photo: VCG

Chinese gymnast Tang Xijing Photo: VCG

Eighteen-year-old Chinese gymnast Tang Xijing competed at the Women's Gymnastics Qualification for the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday. A young prominent Chinese athlete spearheading the Chinese women's team, Tang's steady performance during the floor exercise competition touched Chinese netizens, as did her choice of patriotic songs that sang out the spirit of China loud and clear at the Tokyo game. 

The two songs chosen for Tang's nearly two-minute performance carry strong patriotic sentiment. The first song is from My People, My Country, a film dedicated to the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China, while "Jiu'er" is a song from Zhang Yimou's famous 1987 War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression-themed film Red Sorghum

Tang's choice of "Jiu'er" particularly inspired hot discussion on China's Twitter-like Sina Weibo. While some netizens wondered whether playing such a song with strong anti-Japanese aggression themes in Tokyo may have historical implications, many other netizens were more focused on expressing their pride at hearing a song depicting the Chinese spirit at the Olympic Games. 

"I really wish that Japanese audiences could know the background of this song, because it reflects true history," said a netizen on Sina Weibo. 

"Jiu'er is depicted as a young girl around Tang's age. I don't think the song was meant to be 'sour,' especially playing in Japan, I think it was meaning to show the brave quality of young Chinese girls and this has never changed," Xue, a fan of the Olympic Games, opined to the Global Times on Monday. 

Set against the background of the War of Resistance against Japanese Aggression, the song "Jiu'er" tells a story about how 19-year-old girl Jiu'er in Gaomi, East China's Shandong Province, uses her bravery and wisdom to overcome various life difficulties. 

Other netizens said they were touched to see the Olympic spirit and patriotic emotions merge together. 

"This is one of the moments when I feel sports are a type of art form that can make someone emotional. The moment when I heard my own culture enter the international stage made me feel so proud. Unlike the national anthem we hear when see our athletes win, such songs are even more sentimental," Zhu Yu, a patriotic netizen in Beijing, told the Global Times on Monday. 

Tang's performance of "Jiu'er" is not the only example of Chinese athletes bringing Chinese pride to the international stage. At 2008's Beijing Olympic Games, athlete Cheng Fei also combined gymnastic beauty with China's cultural essence, Peking Opera, during a floor exercise event.