France Crushes China In International Mahjong Competition, Jet Lag To Blame?

Europeans dominate mahjong

The French won gold, silver, and bronze at the European Mahjong Association’s French MCR Championship in Toulouse, France on May 18-19. Italians finished fourth and fifth. A Dutch player finished sixth.

The Chinese, who invented mahjong, only had two players place in the top 13 — Yang Zhang and Cao Lihua finished 7th and 8th, respectively.

What gives?

“Some of them have practiced at mahjong competitions for a longer time even than the Chinese citizens have played mahjong for fun,” Yao Xiaolei, assistant to the secretary general of the World Mahjong Organization, told Global Times. “Some of them” being Europeans, of course.


He added that some top Chinese mahjong players could not make it to France this time and the jet lag also created distractions.

Or could it be that the Chinese are simply too proud to play mahjong professionally?

Zhao Jisheng, an associate professor at the College of Sports at Beijing Normal University, gave another explanation for the failure. “Anyone trying to excel at mahjong will be regarded as an idler in China, which makes it difficult to organize a professional mahjong team,” said Zhao.

We’ll conveniently ignore, for a second, the massive mahjong tournaments — some lasting up to three months — hosted in China. Seriously, what gives? Look at that above picture and tell me it’s not the shame of this nation! There were 13 Chinese players in the 108-person field, and all of them can expect their citizenship to be revoked.

The “national humiliation” has been a popular topic on Sina Weibo, reports SCMP.

“We cannot let foreign devils beat us,” one person commented.

“As a person from Chongqing, I feel the nation needs me now,” said a resident of the city known to produce talented mahjong players.

Some cited the national athem. “As the Chinese people have arrived at their most perilous time,” they wrote. “Every person is forced to expel his very last cry.”

Sigh. At least this country still has ping-pong. And thank God for badminton, where Team China just swept Korea to retain the Sudirman Cup. Thank God for that.

French mahjong team beat China at its game (Global Times)
French beat Chinese at their own game: mahjong (SCMP)

    12 Responses to “France Crushes China In International Mahjong Competition, Jet Lag To Blame?”

    1. WoAi

      I’m from England. We invented table tennis and almost every other sport but rank way down in most of them. So, not really that strange, but still highly amusing!

    2. P.

      I like the cut of this Zhao Jisheng’s jib:

      “Anyone trying to excel at mahjong will be regarded as an idler in China, which makes it difficult to organize a professional mahjong team.”

      Can we all just take a moment to admire this spin? Somebody get this guy a job at a PR firm. I hope that one day, I too can be a top-notch bullshitter.

      • WoAi

        Yes, well put. If spin was ever in the Olympics, China would win another gold. Brilliant! Mah Jong in any case, is surely a better pastime than the two other popular pastimes in China – sleeping and video games. What does Mr Zhao say to that!

    3. Jean-Marc

      Dear all,

      I am one of the organizer of the tournament.

      I do not like this title.

      It was a great honor for us to welcome chinese players and players from many european countries to our tournament.

      Mahjong is not a war, so we do not intend to crush our opponent.

      We love to play mahjong for fun, who win is not important.
      This time french players won, next time it will be another one, that’s the game.

      We are not the best, i prefer thinking that european peoples start to reach chinese mahjong level now, but there is a long path to go for us.

      The most important for us was that all players enjoyed to come and play



        • Jean-Marc

          Perhaps, you certainly better know chinese behaviour than me.

          But i am a little bit disappointed about the term “national humilation”.the news report.

          I hope i can post on China network in order to clarify french position about his tournament to chinese people.

        • SeaHorse

          As a Chinese person, we need to get the hell over ourselves. No one would say anything if a Chinese player won Wimbledon, we’d get a pat on our backs and the New York Times would write a delightful little article about how much our country has come since then.

          Also apparently defending our national face seems to be the only time where it is appropriate to play Mahjong (As a young woman, I was once reprimanded for even knowing how to play the game).

    4. WoAi

      Well if you are referring to the news report, I have to say this is the nature of journalism. They need to make the story sound like a big story. If you’ve ever read Britain’s Daily Mail, you will understand what I mean!

      Anyway, congratulations to the French players. I never knew Mah Jong was so widely embraced outside of China.


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