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“Wow I’m So Fast!” – Olympic Swimmer Fu Yuanhui Becomes Chinese Internet Sensation

Chinese Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui has become a sensation on Chinese social media after she finished third in the women’s 100m backstroke in Rio de Janeiro on August 7. More than for her swimming skills, the 20-year-old athlete is praised for her funny expressions and down-to-earth attitude.

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Chinese Olympic swimmer Fu Yuanhui has become a sensation on Chinese social media after she finished third in the women’s 100m backstroke in Rio de Janeiro on August 7. More than for her swimming skills, the 20-year-old athlete is praised for her funny expressions and down-to-earth attitude.

The Summer Olympics in Rio have been a trending topic on Chinese social media for the past week. Among all matches and athletes, a 20-year-old girl swimmer, Fu Yuanhui (@傅园慧) has just won the hearts of tens of thousands of netizens for her sincere and funny remarks after the women’s 100m backstroke.

In the semi-finals of the women 100m backstroke on August 7, Fu Yuanhui ranked third with a time of “58,95, which means she will participate in the finals on August 9.

womens

Fu Yuanhui, born in 1996 in Hangzhou, is a female swimmer in the Chinese national team. Fu also competed in the 2012 London Olympics and won the 50-metre backstroke at the World Aquatics Championship in 2015. She is an internationally-ranked backstroke specialist.

After the semi-finals, Fu Yuanhui became a hot topic on Chinese social media, included in the top 3 hot searches list of Sina Weibo. Her popularity on the social media network is not all thanks to her swimming performance in the match – it is mainly for the interview she gave afterward.

[Check out subtitled version of the interview here.]

The interview with Fu Yuanhui after the 100m backstroke semi-finals.

At hearing her result, Fu exclaimed with surprise and delight: “58,95 ? ! I thought I did 59 seconds! Wow! Am I so fast? I am very pleased!” She told the journalist that she was not “holding back” but that she has used all of her “mystical powers” (洪荒之力, literally: power strong enough to change the universe).

She also said this was her best result and that she had been working long and hard for this result. When asked if she had high expectations for the finals, Fu answered with a bright smile, “Not at all! I am already very pleased!”

Immediately after the interview, many netizens expressed their affection for Fu, whom they titled “the comedian in the swimming profession” (泳界谐星). The interview video was shared thousands of times within 24 hours, receiving 10,000s comments. Emoticons and caricature figures of Fu followed within no time, turning the swimming star into a popular meme, with netizens posting pioctures of themselves copying Fu’s facial expressions.

6c9e4944gw1f6mvtbkmwmj20qo0r8wj2“I don’t have high expectations for tomorrow, I am already very pleased!”

swimmers2By comic author Ding Yichen (@丁一晨DYC)

005xPCfggw1f6mv62759hj30uo16mqliNetizens copying Fu’s facial expressions.

Many netizens praise Fu as “simple and non-pretentious” (单纯不做作). Some felt her funny expressions and genuine delight were a breath of fresh air compared to most Chinese athletes who often talk about their achievements in a much more serious manner. Her down-to-earth attitude about the finals also won the sympathy of many netizens.

By now, Fu has over 1.8 million followers on her official Weibo account.

swimmers1

“She is my goddess,” one netizen says: “I think everyone will love her after seeing the interview.”

8d03fe5fgw1f6mw8f9l72j20j60gtwgdOne of the many images being shared on Weibo, saying: “I am so happy!”

-By Diandian Guo

©2016 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

Diandian Guo is a China-born Master student of transdisciplinary and global society, politics & culture at the University of Groningen with a special interest for new media in China. She has a BA in International Relations from Beijing Foreign Language University, and is specialized in China's cultural memory.

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19 Comments

19 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Jesús

    August 9, 2016 at 4:45 am

    Wow! I didn’t knew that chinese people knew to smile, so now i got hope the Chinese will be a little more humans well, all will must to be more…

    Congratulations to Fu! perhaps she isn’t the most beautifull woman in the earth, but she has a brightness that it becomes her in a very very pretty woman ^^

    DON’T CHANGE NEVER FU!!!

    Hi from Spain! ; ) Bye and kisses

    • Avatar

      Thomas

      August 9, 2016 at 7:37 am

      visit China sometime, there is a lot of smiling going on, also crying, jumping form joy and basically all emotions that you have is Spain also ;-P

      • Avatar

        Jesús

        August 9, 2016 at 4:45 pm

        I know XDD . Everything was an irony : P . But I do not think I ever wander through China, at least in this life because , if it costs me support to my country , I do not think I feel better surrounded by a population with so different from my culture and so hermetic mentality such as Chinese .

        Sorry if my commentary is offensive for someone, it isn’t my think.

        • Avatar

          你爷爷

          August 9, 2016 at 11:05 pm

          fuck you, bitch, Spanish white pig. Sorry, if my commentary is offensive for someone, it isn’t my think.

          • Avatar

            chao

            August 9, 2016 at 11:29 pm

            you make me feel shamed…. do not be raciest, please. I believe this Mr. Jesus is a friendly guy.

          • Avatar

            Liuxing Shen

            August 10, 2016 at 3:06 am

            Respect personal choice!

          • Avatar

            Siline

            August 10, 2016 at 11:33 am

            Your reaction is quite humiliating. Please think before you post. Even if you don’t get his humor and misunderstand, an appropriate reaction will be appreciated. Especially, people might think you represent CHINESE!

          • Avatar

            joshwu

            August 10, 2016 at 3:18 pm

            You’re such an obscenity of Chinese nation, just go home and die quietly. You make hundreds of millions of overseas Chinese

          • Avatar

            你爷爷

            August 11, 2016 at 12:42 am

            I post the previous comment because I don’t take “hermetic mentality” as a compliment, neither does “surrounded by population”, also “a little more human” made me feel offended. If declaring to apologize to whom feel uncomfortable after a long paragraph of ironic saying could be taken as “friendly”, I’m also friendly due to my same sentence posted after my racism curse. And to Joshwu, if you could not express yourself in English, use the dictionary, if you are lazy, just using Chinse.

    • Avatar

      Deus Vult

      August 9, 2016 at 8:19 am

      gas yourself you fucking spic

      • Avatar

        Jesús

        August 9, 2016 at 4:37 pm

        No mereces que nadie pierda el tiempo respondiéndote…

    • Avatar

      Robert

      August 10, 2016 at 2:13 am

      Miss you ass,humiliate our Chinese citizen

  2. Avatar

    Northest

    August 9, 2016 at 7:16 am

    She’s such a optimistic girl. Hope Chinese athletes can be more funny like her.

    I’m from China and just saw this on Reddit. Thanks for sharing this. Good translation. 🙂

  3. Avatar

    Cindy

    August 9, 2016 at 8:46 am

    This is adorable! I hope she does well in the finals. 🙂

    • Avatar

      xingfenzhen

      August 9, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      she won brozne, and she was jumping and down (and bronze and silver medalist all serious looking), so much you would have though she won gold.

      • Avatar

        Norha

        August 11, 2016 at 4:42 am

        haha..she really is cute, isn’t she?

  4. Avatar

    sreb

    August 10, 2016 at 9:03 pm

    Congratulations! She’s fantastic– a genuine young athlete who did not allow the publicity and hype to go to her head. Here’s to continued success in the future.

  5. Avatar

    Leonardo França Ribeiro

    August 12, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Todos no Brasil a amamos <3 ela é uma pessoa super Gentil, brincalhona e super simpatica, suas reações foram muito engraçadas, com certeza Fu Yuanhui sera a atleta dessas olimpiadas 2016. Esperamos ve-la com muitas medalhas de ouro, você trouxe muitas alegrias pra todos nos. beijos de todo o Brasil FU Yuanhui nós te adoramos ^^

    All in Brazil love <3 she's a super person Gentle, playful and super simpatica, their reactions were very funny, certainly Fu Yuanhui will be the athlete of these Olympics 2016. We hope to see it with many gold medals, you brought many joys for all of us. kisses from all over Brazil FU Yuanhui we love you ^^
    sorry English terrible but I only speak Portuguese

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China Celebs

Female Comedian Yang Li and the Intel Controversy

A decision that backfired: Intel’s act of supposed ‘inclusion’ caused the exclusion of female comedian Yang Li.

Manya Koetse

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“How to look at the boycott of Yang Li?” (#如何看待抵制杨笠#) became a top trending topic on social media site Weibo on Monday after female comedian Yang Li was dismissed as the spokesperson for American tech company Intel over a controversial ad campaign.

On March 18, Intel released an ad on its Weibo account in which Yang says “Intel has a taste [for laptops] that is higher than my taste for men” (“英特尔的眼光太高了,比我挑对象的眼光都高.”)

The ad drew complaints for allegedly insulting men, with some social media users vowing to boycott the tech brand. On Sunday, Intel deleted the ad in question from its social media page and reportedly also removed Yang from her position as their brand ambassador.

The commotion over the ad had more to do with Chinese comedian Yang Li (杨笠) than with the specific lines that were featured in it.

Yang Li is controversial for her jokes mocking men (“men are adorable, but mysterious. After all, they can look so average and yet be so full of confidence“), with some blaming her for being “sexist” and “promoting hatred against all men.”

Since she appeared on the stand-up comedy TV competition Rock and Roast (脱口秀大会) last year, she was nicknamed the the “punchline queen” and became one of the more influential comedians in present-day China. Yang now has nearly 1,5 million fans on Weibo (@-杨笠-).

Yang Li’s bold jokes and sharp way of talking about gender roles and differences between men and women in Chinese society is one of the main reasons she became so famous. Intel surely knew this when asking Yang to be their brand ambassador.

In light of the controversy, the fact that Intel was so quick to remove Yang also triggered criticism. Some (male) netizens felt that Intel, a company that sells laptops, could not be represented by a woman who makes fun of men, while these men are a supposed target audience for Intel products.

But after Yang was removed, many (female) netizens also felt offended, suggesting that in the 21st century, Intel couldn’t possibly believe that their products were mainly intended for men (“以男性用户为主”)? Wasn’t their female customer base just as important?

According to online reports, Intel responded by saying: “We noted that the content [we] spread relating to Yang Li caused controversy, and this is not what we had anticipated. We place great importance on diversity and inclusion. We fully recognize and value the diverse world we live in, and are committed to working with partners from all walks of life to create an inclusive workplace and social environment.”

However, Intel’s decision backfired, as many wondered why having Yang as their brand ambassador would not go hand in hand with ‘promoting an inclusive social environment.’

“Who are you being ‘inclusive’ too? Common ‘confident’ men?”, one person wrote, with others saying: “Why can so many beauty and cosmetic brands be represented by male idols and celebrities? I loathe these double standards.”

“As a Chinese guy, I really think Yang Li is funny. I didn’t realize Chinese men had such a lack of humor!” another Weibo user writes.

There are also people raising the issue of Yang’s position and how people are confusing her performative work with her actual character. One popular law blogger wrote: “Really, boycotting Yang Li is meaningless. Stand-up comedy is a performance, just as the roles people play in a TV drama.”

Just a month ago, another Chinese comedian also came under fire for his work as a brand ambassador for female underwear brand Ubras.

It is extremely common in China for celebrities to be brand ambassadors; virtually every big celebrity is tied to one or more brands. Signing male celebrities to promote female-targeted products is also a popular trend (Li 2020). Apparently, there is still a long way to go when the tables are turned – especially when it is about female celebrities with a sharp tongue.

By Manya Koetse

Li, Xiaomeng. 2020. “How powerful is the female gaze? The implication of using male celebrities for promoting female cosmetics in China.” Global Media and China, Vol.5 (1), p.55-68.

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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China Celebs

The Online Hit of the China-US Meeting in Alaska: Interpreter Zhang Jing

While the China-US meeting is all the talk, it is interpreter Zhang Jing who has hit the limelight.

Manya Koetse

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It probably was not easy to translate the tough talks at the high-level meeting between the U.S. and China in Anchorage. Chinese female translator Zhang Jing became an online hit in China for remaining unflustered, graceful, and accurate.

Over the past days, the U.S.-China strategic talks in Anchorage have been a major topic of discussion on Chinese social media.

The first major U.S.-China meeting of the Biden administration ended on Friday, March 19. Despite the tense start of the meeting and some describing the talks as a “diplomatic clash,” China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi (杨洁篪) called the meeting “frank, constructive and helpful,” New York Times reports.

While international media focused on the meeting and what their outcome means for Sino-American relations and the foreign strategies of China and the U.S., many Weibo users focused on interpreter Zhang Jing (张京) who joined the meeting.

One video of the first session of the diplomatic talks shows how Yang Jiechi starts his response to the American side at 8.30 minutes, going on for over 15 minutes until the 24.36-minute mark. Next to him, interpreter Zhang Jing is fiercely taking notes.

When Yang is finished speaking, he glances to foreign minister Wang Yi on his right to let him speak, after which Zhang says, “Shall I first translate?”

While the U.S. side was awaiting the translation, Yang then says: “Ok, you translate,” adding in English: “It’s a test for the interpreter,” after which the American side says “We’re gonna give the translator a raise!”

Zhang then goes ahead and calmly translates Yang’s entire 15-minute speech directed at American secretary Blinken and national security advisor Sullivan.

To give a speedy translation of such a lengthy off-the-record speech is seen as a sign of Zhang’s utmost professionalism as an interpreter, which many on Weibo praise. “She’s my idol,” multiple people write.

On Sunday, the hashtag “China-U.S. Talks Female Interpreter Zhang Jing” (#中美对话女翻译官张京#) had reached 200 million views.

It’s not the first time for Zhang to become an online hit. She was previously also called “the most beautiful interpreter” of the National Congress in 2013.

Zhang Jing is a graduate of the China Foreign Affairs University (外交学院) and has been working for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs since 2007.

Being an interpreter is generally regarded an exciting and attractive job by many Chinese netizens, as the career involves much traveling and international contacts. But the ability to master another language than Chinese is also often admired.

In 2016, a TV drama titled The Interpreters (亲爱的翻译官) became a major hit, featuring Chinese actress Yang Mi who plays a Chinese-French interpreter on her way to start her professional career.

“Translators are usually the ‘heroes behind the scenes’,” one commenter writes, pointing out how rare it is for an interpreter to hit the limelight like this.

“There are still people saying it’s not important to learn English,” another Weibo user writes: “But if that were true, how could we educate brilliant interpreters like Zhang Jing? How else could we quarrel with Americans at the conference table?!”

Many who write about Zhang on Weibo say that she is an example or a role model to them: “I hope that my spoken English one day would be as excellent as hers. This motivates me to try even harder.”

By Manya Koetse

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©2021 Whatsonweibo. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce our content without permission – you can contact us at info@whatsonweibo.com.

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