Another Guangdong Basketball Higher-Up Calls For A Hit, This Time Hurting An Innocent Beijing Woman

Left: Su Wei; right: Liu Hongjiang (photoshopped, obviously; via Weibo)

Sports fans can be vicious, especially when given anonymity and — this is very important — assent from authority to unleash their anger. I mention this latter part because it seems that Liu Hongjiang, head boss of the Guangdong Hongyuan Southern Tigers, has instigated a human flesh engine search — an online manhunt — and offered 5,000 yuan to whoever finds the person who depicted one of his team’s players, Su Wei, in a funeral portrait.

Fans will have their fun, and so the photoshopping of Su Wei, in the larger scheme of things, doesn’t seem like a big deal. (Su was targeted because he was caught on national TV telling Stephon Marbury “fuck you,” a scene first brought to light on this website and my Youku video [promptly censored, but not before it spread to Weibo and Chinese sports media, then memorialized in a gif, seen after the jump].) To call Liu’s response — the appropriation of his position of power and prestige for the purpose of petty revenge — irrational would be too classy of an understatement, like saying John Wayne Gacy enjoyed leading an entertainer’s double life. It’s one thing for netizens — the vast majority of whom are essentially voiceless — to rally online in the purpose of, say, finding Li Gang’s son. It’s quite another for a public figure of some renown — the capo of a basketball franchise that has won seven CBA championships, including the last four — to resort to Internet vigilantism for the sake of abusing a fellow basketball fan. Something seems wrong here, to say nothing of outrageously reprehensible.

Here’s the most troubling part: they got the wrong person. Guangdong fans have been mercilessly harassing a poor Beijing woman who isn’t even a basketball fan. As Global Times reports:

Angry Hongyuan fans narrowed their search down to a few people, including this Beijinger, surnamed Fan, who barely watches basketball. “They found the wrong woman!” she said.

Fan had to deal with so many foul-talking callers on Saturday that her phone battery died within a short time. Most of the calls were from Guangdong Province.

In my previous post on this subject, when we watched Guangdong head coach Li Chunjiang tell his players to “sweep the legs” of Beijing’s (they promptly did, resulting in a hard foul on Stephon Marbury by Zhou Peng), I made an askew reference to Stanley Milgram’s famous experiment on obedience in which ordinary people gave increasingly painful and eventually lethal electric shocks to strangers at the behest of an authority figure. We should linger a moment on this thought. Because those experiments were not to admonish the fallible human condition, our pliable morality and facile put-ons of strength, but to show the world the responsibility that authority figures carry because of how dangerously influential they can be. In that regard, Liu is a failure — an utter, inexcusable failure. But in following in the footsteps of his coach and ordering this latest hit, he has further outed himself as the worst type of fan, a reactionary halfwit who guzzles beer or baijiu and screams “shabi (stupid cunt)” at anything that moves. This kind of behavior is halfway understandable in a paying patron, someone who needs sports as an outlet for real-world frustrations. But in the boss? A reasonable person should wonder about the type of operation he’s running, and the quality of the personnel who work under him.

Anyway, here’s the gif I promised of Su Wei telling Marbury off:

After last night’s Guangdong win, the series shifts back to Beijing on Wednesday with the Ducks holding a 2-1 series lead.

    4 Responses to “Another Guangdong Basketball Higher-Up Calls For A Hit, This Time Hurting An Innocent Beijing Woman”

    1. Kirby

      You touch on three points that I think are really important about sports.

      First, I think the fallibility of the human condition in following the instructions of an authority is especially pronounced in sports. Most athletes begin playing sports at a very young age and they are constantly taught that you must execute everything the coach says or you will lose. Children cannot reason, but the lessons of childhood weigh heavily on adults that can reason.

      Which I think leads into my second point, fans take the games way more seriously than professional athletes do. Yes, playing sports is a game, but playing a game is an athletes 9 to 5. Every fan that thinks that they need to throw themselves off of a bridge because their team was relegated out of the premier league and is distraught that the players don’t take the losses as hard as they do. These people need to take stock (the owner, the coach, the people calling this poor woman) and go why does this matter so much?

      Finally, building off of my first two points, my final thought is that I don’t think Zhou Peng actions are that culpable in this situation.

      One, Zhou Peng started playing this game when he was a kid, and he was moved up through the ranks because he had talent and he followed instructions. He was, is, and will be rewarded in the future for following instructions, and he has no reason to stop following instructions.

      Two, Zhou Peng is an adult, but he knows that if he doesn’t follow instructions he won’t have a job, which for him is to play basketball. He probably has a wife and kid, and he knows that if he doesn’t “sweep the leg,” his coach will find someone else that will. He won’t have a job anymore and what is his family going to do when he doesn’t have a job anymore?

      Finally, this is Zhou Peng’s job, yea, he committed the hard foul that was classless, but I guarantee you he left it on the floor, and he isn’t calling up some woman for calling out one of his teammates.

    2. Scott

      I think you make some valid points about Zhou Peng’s culpability. He is a product of his environment, he has to “play the game” if he wants to keep his job, yadda yadda. It makes sense. But does that make it right? I’ll be the first to tell you I know what it is to follow orders because its your job.

      In the news lately back in the Homeland, a Marine is under investigation for publicly posting critical comments about the commander in chief on his facebook group. According to Pentagon directives, military personnel in uniform cannot sponsor a political club; participate in any TV or radio program or group discussion that advocates for or against a political party, candidate or cause; or speak at any event promoting a political movement. Commissioned officers also may not use contemptuous words against senior officials, including the defense secretary or el Presidante, because of the potential collateral damage to the good order, discipline, morale and/or authority that said comments may cause. The comment the Marine made was that he would blatantly disobey direct orders if they involved disarming and/or detaining US citizens, or if they infringed on any other constitutional rights of the citizen. The board of inquiry investigating the Marine will determine whether his comments give the impression that he is speaking in the official capacity as a Marine.

      Now, back to the issue of following orders. In the military, discipline is paramount. According to Marine Corps boot camp, the definition of discipline is the instant and willing obedience to orders. With discipline, order falls apart and people fucking die. We are brainwashed in boot camp not to question orders and to do as we are told. However, this Marine (who wants to serve a 20+ year career, by the way) tacitly states that he will destroy discipline in order to defend US citizens’ constitutional rights. He thinks it is the right thing to do. But, because of a comment, he could loose his job along with all the benefits of having served in the military that veterans usually enjoy. My point? Just because Zhou Peng was following orders, does that make it right?

      • Kirby

        Right or wrong is different question than deserving blame. Even inside of the rules of basketball what Zhou Peng did was at a minimum a foul, which means that it was against the rules and thereby wrong. So I think that it was wrong is the obvious answer. My general statement is that he doesn’t deserve blame, and I don’t truly don’t think he does deserve blame.

        However, I need to note that your analogy with the Marine is incorrect, the issue that you are alluding to is not something that hinges on Pentagon directives, it actually hinges on court cases on freedom of speech, expression, and religion in the 1960s and 70s. When you join the military you agree to exchange Constitutional rights that you have for rights that are not afforded to other American citizens. The foremost of the rights you sacrifice is your rights to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, and the right you receive is to kill people in battle. I can’t remember the name of the case, but there is one specific one that comes into my mind was over wearing religious symbols on your uniform as an expressive statement. For instance, you can’t wear a yamaka under your helmet, you sacrificed the right to express your religion in wearing a yamaka for the right to kill people in battle.

        In this instance, the Marine you are talking about sacrificed his right to speak his mind publically about what he thinks about the President, US foreign policy, the use of the US military etc., in exchange for the rights and benefits that are bestowed on soldiers in exchange for giving up that the right to say what he wants until he is no longer a soldier.

        I think a better analogy for this situation would be if you said the Marine was ordered to clear a village of hostiles, and not to help anyone he finds. He walks through the village, and it is empty because everyone has already fled prior to his arrival, except for one crying baby that was left behind. The soldier can decide to follow orders and ignore the baby, which I think would be blameless for because he has no obligation to help the baby and was specifically ordered not to. However, is it right for him to ignore the baby? I would argue that it is not right for him to ignore the baby, and because I personally think the moral thing to do is help the baby. I would also be fine with the man defying orders to help the baby because moral thing to do. Yet, he is not obligated to help, he is just choosing to do so, and he chose not to help it would be fine too because he doesn’t have to help.

        This also makes me think of the soldier that just recently died in Afghanistan diving in front of an armored vehicle to save a young girl. I really admire the courage and selflessness it takes to do something that. The man had no obligation to save that girl, but he did, and he died as a result, and it makes me proud to be American to know that there are dudes out there in the Afghanistan that willing to do that because I think this kind of self-sacrifice is one of the things that makes America great.

        One question I have for you since I can tell you have served. I understand your point on him losing his job, and all of the benefits of having served, but my understanding of how situations like this work is that this guy would be punished, and will probably be demoted, which is equivalent to losing pay and benefits, and could possibly be discharged for this. But I don’t think he will completely lose all of his benefits, yes, he won’t have as much as he would if he was not punished, but will still have some. Also I understand that currently this guy wants to make the military his career (20 years in gets you full pension right?), but most contracts when you enlist or re-enlist are for 3 years, so this guy would have to make this decision several times and decide that he truly wants to continue this path for a long time. Moreover, there is nothing wrong with the US Marines deciding that they don’t want him to be a Marine anymore, and not allowing him to re-enlist. This could be for one of many reasons, not the least of which might be, that someone else is willing to continue to withhold his criticism of the President, US foreign policy, the US military etc., when this guy is not. Therefore, the Marines are picking someone who will follow orders, just like Guangdong will find someone to “sweep the leg,” if Zhou Peng is not. The reality is that our employers are always seeking a faster cheaper model that will do what its told, it is the reality of our world.


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