MOS Buddhism Team-Wenye

Since the beginning of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Eileen Gu has sparked heated debates among Chinese Americans. Some people regard her as a Chinese hero since she won 2 gold and one silver medal, making her the best Chinese Winter Olympian. Others hate her to represent China instead of the U.S. in the Olympics and question her loyalty to America. 

Actually, Gu is not the only American representing other countries in the Olympics. Naomi Osaka, the four-time Grand Slam singles champion, was born to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother in Japan. When she was three years old, the family moved to America. Since then, Naomi had lived and trained in the U.S. Before she turned 22, Naomi held both Japanese and American citizenship. In 2019, Naomi relinquished her American citizenship and represented Japan in the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics. According to her father, this decision was made because of Naomi’s negligence from the United States Tennis Association. However, Naomi did not face backlash from social media in the U.S. for this decision, and nobody called her a “traitor.” So, what put Gu in a totally different situation?

Gu was born in America to a Chinese mother and an American father whose information is not available to the public. She has lived and trained in America, and she will study at Stanford University in fall 2022. Since 2019, she has been representing China in the major freestyle skiing competitions in the world, including Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. While the International Olympic Committee confirmed that Gu possessed a Chinese passport in 2019, there is no evidence that she has given up her U.S. citizenship. Apparently, this violates the Nationality Law in China since China does not recognize dual citizenship. Gu refused to answer any questions about her nationality at the Olympic post-match interviews. 

According to Gu, the main reason to represent China is “I want all the girls to break their boundaries,” and “I want them to think if Eileen can do it, I can do it.” It sounds very inspiring, but take a look at these numbers: In 2020, the GDP per capita in China was $10,431; In 2020, the median per capita disposable income of residents in China was about $4,351, according to the National Bureau of Statistics of China; In China, the average cost for skiing per person including both the equipment and training per year is around $10,000; In China, one billion people have never had a flight, and at least 500 million people have no water closet toilet at home. Even for a typical middle-class American family, it is impossible to afford the cost of professional skiing unless they can get a scholarship or grant from somewhere else. So realistically, Gu’s achievement cannot be copied by the majority of Chinese girls, and even the wish that 300 million Chinese hit the ice or snow will not come true anytime soon. Gu may be naïve about the ecosocial status of Chinese, but her mother, the one who has planned and designed everything for her, is definitely not. Then what is the real reason behind her decision? 

Surprisingly, when Gu was ten years old, the Documentary Department of China Central Television (CCTV) started shooting videos. In a group picture with President Xi Jinping in 2019, she was standing right in the middle of the people, which indicates she and her family have a deep relationship with the Chinese government. Since Gu declared that she would compete on behalf of China in 2019, she has tried to justify the Chinese Communist Party’s censorship and propaganda and cover-up that the Chinese Communist Party is committing genocide against Uyghur Muslims on her social media accounts. The reward is enormous. Gu has received overwhelming praise from the Chinese Communist Party and all big media in China. Consequently, she made more than $31 million in 2021 alone by contracting with over 30 international brands such as Louis Vuitton and had her face printed on the covers of the Chinese editions of Vogue and Marie Claire.

As you can see, in contrast to Naomi, Gu has lied about her nationality, lied about why she chose to represent China and gained tremendous interest by becoming a spokesperson for Communist China’s totalitarian regime. She is indeed a traitor of America because she has decided to align herself with the evil government against all the core values Americans share: freedom, equality, and justice. 

As Gu said, “When I’m in the U.S., I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” some Chinese Americans feel themselves in the same duality as her. Although the words themselves are not wrong, the heart of the controversy is what it means to be a Chinese American. Chinese culture is indeed quite distinct compared to western culture. Meanwhile, the U.S. is one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the world due to its long history of immigration. Being a Chinese American does not mean you need to hide or cover your Chinese identity in this country. You do not have to love football or hotdogs to be an American. You are welcome to share any Chinese food, tea, music, clothing, and culture with your friends, no matter their origins. Just like Nathen Chen, who has never attempted to undermine his Chinese heritage, he talked about Beijing very happy because it is where his parents first met. But there is something you should not do as an American, no matter which American you are: Chinese American or any other ethnical group American. That is, you must hold these core values, which not only have been shared by Americans since America was founded but also regarded as the universal values held by all human beings: freedom, equality, and justice. We should not support any government or organization whose policies and behaviors go against these values. This is a yes or no question, and no third answer exists. In this case, you cannot be both American and Chinese because the Chinese government-controlled by the Chinese Communist Party does not agree with these values. The atrocity it has committed to Chinese people, including Han, Uyghur, Tibetan, and other ethnical groups over the past 70 years, violates all the values above. So the current Chinese government is not legitimate at all. Chinese Americans should care about the Chinese people instead of supporting this evil regime. 

Edited and posted by: Kayla

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