China’s new national hero
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images Tyler Cowen cites this story as evidence that “we shouldn’t boycott the Olympics in any way”: A wheelchair-bound Chinese torch bearer has rocketed to national fame after fending off protesters in Paris, becoming a symbol of China’s defiance of global demonstrations backing Tibet. Jin Jing, a 27 year-old amputee and Paralympic fencer ...
THOMAS COEX/AFP/Getty Images
A wheelchair-bound Chinese torch bearer has rocketed to national fame after fending off protesters in Paris, becoming a symbol of China’s defiance of global demonstrations backing Tibet.
Jin Jing, a 27 year-old amputee and Paralympic fencer has been called the “angel in a wheelchair” and is being celebrated by television chat shows, newspapers and online musical videos after fiercely defending the Olympic torch during the Paris leg of the troubled international relay.
Protesters denouncing Chinese policy in Tibet threw themselves at Jin. Most were wrestled away by police but at least one reached her wheelchair and tried to wrench the torch away. Jin clung tenaciously to what has become a controversial icon of the Beijing Olympic Games until her attacker was pulled off. Her look of fierce determination as she shielded the torch, captured in snapshots of the scene, has now spread throughout China, inflaming simmering public anger at the protests. “I thought we had lost in France, but seeing the young disabled torch bearer Jin Jing’s radiant smile of conviction, I know in France we did not lose, we won!” said one of tens of thousands of Internet postings about the incident.
Here’s Jin receiving a hero’s welcome at a Lenovo event in Beijing:
Jin, who received scratches on her chin and shoulders during the Paris incident, cuts a pretty damn sympathetic figure. No wonder Chinese netizens are so angry with the French.
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
More from Foreign Policy
Chinese Hospitals Are Housing Another Deadly Outbreak
Authorities are covering up the spread of antibiotic-resistant pneumonia.
Henry Kissinger, Colossus on the World Stage
The late statesman was a master of realpolitik—whom some regarded as a war criminal.
The West’s False Choice in Ukraine
The crossroads is not between war and compromise, but between victory and defeat.
Washington wants to get tough on China, and the leaders of the House China Committee are in the driver’s seat.