Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai, who alongside Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei won the Wimbledon women’s double title this weekend, doesn’t like to talk politics. Peng hates talking politics so much that she will interrupt her partner’s response to a question to give an unequivocal opinion on a political issue just to demonstrate how much she hates talking politics.
The pair’s success as a partnership has been hailed by some as an example for effective cross-strait relations and, as in wider cross strait politics, one of the parties is kind of an asshole:
When a Japanese reporter asked Taiwan’s Hsieh what it means to win a grand slam for “her country” as a “Taiwanese” person, their conversation was interrupted by Peng, reported Chinese media.
“I am sorry, but I am still sitting here,” she said, raising her hand, “and I don’t accept the claim that Taiwan is a ‘country’.”
“Tennis is only a sport, and we don’t intend to get involved in politics,” she added.
As AQ, a blogger for Apple Daily, points out “Why would Peng make a political speech if she intends to be left out of politics?”
Peng Shuai (right) Hsieh Su-wei celebrate their win at Wimbledon on Saturday.
If reports are to be believed, the issue may soon be a moot point for the pair, not because Peng will have learned not to embarrass her partner in front of a room full of people, but because Hsieh Su-wei may soon give up her Taiwanese citizenship:
Ms. Hsieh might leave behind her 23 million compatriots and become a Chinese citizen. The trigger: an interview with local media in which Ms. Hsieh’s father, Hsieh Tzu-long, revealed that a Chinese wine maker in Qingdao has offered his daughter a hard-to-resist NT$50 million (US$1.6 million) per year sponsorship — nearly 36 times more than what she currently receives from her Taiwanese corporate sponsors each year – contingent on her becoming Chinese.
“There is not much we can do. Su-wei gets NT$1.4 million in corporate sponsorships a year,” Mr. Hsieh told the China Times newspaper. “The size of her sponsorship determines whether her younger brother and sister can go compete overseas.”
Hsieh wouldn’t be the first Taiwanese athlete to desert the island in search of mainland money. Wu Jia-Qing (née Wu Chia-ching), an international billiards champion, became a Chinese citizen in 2011.