Chinese social media users targeted Olympic athlete Wang Luyao with online abuse after failing to qualify for the air-rifle finals at the Tokyo Games, prompting online censorship to ban dozens of accounts.
What happened: Wang placed 18th in the quarter-finals of women’s 10-meter air-rifle on Saturday, according to South China Morning Post.
The 23-year-old athlete posted a selfie after her loss, apologizing to everyone and admitting she “chickened out.”
She was later flooded with messages criticizing her about the result. “Why not reflect on your failure? What purpose do you have for releasing an arrogant selfie?” one user wrote, with another accusing her of wanting to be famous for posting immediately online.
Wang later deleted her post after receiving the negative replies, Insider reported.
China’s strict online censorship immediately intervened by deleting the comments targeting Wang and by banning 33 accounts from Weibo for about 90 to 180 days.
Wang followed up on her post, explaining that she used “chickened out” to describe her nervousness when competing at the Olympics.
“I have failed and I will start from the beginning. I will never give up nor be defeated. So I will be back in Paris,” Wang said on her Sunday post.
Show of support: Many Weibo users still showered Wang with praise for her accomplishments.
The hashtag “Wang Luyao is still an amazing Zhejiang girl” went viral on Monday night, amassing over 480 million views and more than 100,000 comments.
China Daily also published an op-ed to show support for Wang following the online abuse.
The unsigned editorial explains how painful it is for an athlete to lose after years of training, adding, “There is nothing wrong if a losing athlete lets off steam through Weibo. We should look at Wang's post with an empathetic 'we feel your sadness' attitude rather than engaging in criticism and posting sarcastic comments."
Featured Image 新华社
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