Chinese Olympian causes storm with Japanese flag top


Tue, Mar 23, 2010 - Page 19

Former Olympic basketball player Sui Feifei caused an internet storm at the weekend by wearing a trendy Ed Hardy tracksuit top featuring the Japanese flag when collecting her Chinese Coach of the Year award.

Sui, coach to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) team and technically a serving officer in China’s military, provoked the ire of nationalists after being pictured in the designer top at the Women’s Chinese Basketball Association awards in Jiangsu. “Fire Sui Feifei! A PLA wearing a Japanese sweater!” one poster wrote on

“She has to realize that she is a PLA officer. It is unacceptable for her to wear such a sweater in a public place. This is a very sensitive issue for many people,” the poster wrote.

Japan invaded and occupied much of China between 1931 and 1945. Rancor over wartime atrocities has subsided somewhat as a diplomatic flashpoint, but it continues to shape public attitudes in towards Japan.

Last month, the head of the country’s top sports university said China must urgently address the physical fitness of the nation’s youth or run the risk of raising a generation incapable of fighting the Japanese in a future war.

What athletes wear on national duty is also sensitive, as curler Wang Fengchun discovered when he was wore a US team cap with his Chinese uniform on the way home from the Winter Olympics.

His sacking was compounded by the offense, officials said.