Recently, mainland media reported that an Olympic gold medalist in China migrated to Australia several years ago. Although the article focused on the athlete’s career choices, the online community was caught up in her leaving the country.
As Tax Wake Up reported on July 24, Chen Xiaomin won several weightlifting championships, including a Grand Slam and a gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.
Still, at the height of her sports career, Chen retreated, focused on her law education, and auctioned all of her medals in 2003. The money she earned from selling them amounted to 3.99 million yuan, over 590,000 dollars. Chen said she wanted to dedicate the money to charity.
Tax Wake Up said Chen dropped her strenuous sporting career because of the injuries she sustained after training for the Olympics. Some years later, she migrated to Australia and continued to thrive by engaging in investment and other businesses.
According to Radio Free Asia, as inspiring as the story about Chen representing a benchmark for strong women in the new era, many online comments only focused on the fact that she had moved overseas. Many said they envied Chen for successfully taking a route out of the country while she still had time.
This unexpected public response resulted in the censorship watchdog deleting many comments. About 100,000 users left their comments, but only 890 were featured.
Australian commentator Huang Fujing told RFA that many mainland Chinese are currently looking to flee the country because of the political and economic crises. But the Chinese government has also tightened policy and prevented mass migration. Huang said people could tolerate political pressures, but not the economic downturn.
As early as April 3, WeChat searches for the term “immigration” rose by 440%.
Regarding Chen Xiaomin leaving for Australia, Huang suspected Chen may have known the darkness of Chinese sports under the national system. This later prompted her to think of Western citizenship.
Xue Yinxian is the former team doctor of the Chinese national team. She sought political asylum in Germany after exposing a shady doping scandal in Chinese sports and became the enemy of the state. Xue was the chief physician at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
Her son, independent artist Yang Weidong, told RFA that Chen Xiaomin’s era was the golden day of doping abuses in China. Yang said such practices hurt the athletes, but Chen could not challenge the system, so she left the country.
Chen Xiaomin had not commented on her leaving for Australia or the reasons that drove her to sell her sports medals.