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Li Na enters the court alone

(People's Daily Online)

08:30, September 29, 2012


Recently, Chinese female tennis player Li Na, the eighth in the world tennis rankings, confirmed that she would participate in the Toray Pan Pacific Open Tennis Tournament held in Tokyo. Her decision aroused fierce comments among netizens of China. Many said that Li is not patriotic enough and some media even said that Li is a “traitor” because she should not participate in the tournament at this improper time.

It should be a good cheering thing for audiences that athletes fully devote themselves into their careers. However, at this sensitive moment when the China-Japan relationship is so tense, it is better to think twice before deciding whether to participate in the tournament in Japan or not. It is absolutely too much to call Li “a traitor,” but we have to say that Li's decision of going to Japan has surprised most Chinese people.

We should admit that sports are borderless and should not be affected by politics, but we should also remember that athletes have nationalities. Every athlete fighting on the sports field is not fighting alone. They are shouldering the expectations from the people of their motherlands. At this moment when the China-Japan relationship is worsening so rapidly, many civil organizations and individuals of China are demonstrating in streets to protest Japan's provocation against China on the Diaoyu Island issue and other issues and many public figures have cancelled their journeys to Japan or expressed their strong protests and dissatisfactions to the Japanese government in advertising way. Regarding the Diaoyu Island issue, if Chinese ordinary people, public figures and opinion leaders all keep silent and do nothing, then how will Chinese people's attitude on this sovereign issue be expressed?

Tennis is the most professional individual sport even in the world but it does not mean that athletes like Li have broken away from their motherlands. Li should know that although her current achievement is closely connected with her personal efforts and sweat, it also has something to do with training the country provided her at early age. In addition, without the support from thousands of millions of Chinese fans, Li would not have stood at such a high position. While the people of the motherland were busy doing their shares for the sovereign issue, Li, as a public figure, did not give a voice for her country and instead went to Japan for her own personal honor. We have to say it was a pity. Li's journey to Japan may have nothing to do with patriotism, but at this sensitive moment, it seems to be improper. Sovereign issues are largest matters of principle for a country. On any sovereign issue, every citizen should have a patriotic stance. The public figures loved by the masses especially have the responsibility of expressing their stances to safeguard the national sovereignty and honor, but should not place their personal interests above national interests.

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