#1 scorer in Chinese history Hao Haidong repudiates the CCP. China tries to cancel him from the Internet
by Massimo Introvigne
If you are into Asian soccer, you know the name Hao Haidong. Before retiring in 2006, he scored 41 goals for the Chinese national team, the record in China’s history. With his goals, he took China to its only World Cup in 2002, before concluding his career at Sheffield United in England and settling in Spain, where his son is also a professional soccer player.
Fourteen years after he retired, his Weibo account in China had more than seven million followers. Had, until June 4, 2020, the anniversary day of the 1989 Tiananmen carnage. On June 4, Weibo cancelled Hao’s account. In 24 hours, accounts of Hao’s stellar career disappeared one after the other from Chinese Web sites. Sports media in China were told not to mention Hao in the future—and they started immediately, criticizing him by using only the first letter of his last name, H.
Hao’s crime was to take the opportunity of Tiananmen anniversary and tell the world he no longer believes in the CCP. Hao appeared in a video with his wife Ye Zhaoying, herself a retired sport star and an Olympic medalist as a badminton player, and stated that after originally believing in the Party, he “reached the conclusion” that the CCP is a “terrorist organization” and should be “kicked out of humanity.” He mentioned Tiananmen, the repression in Tibet and Hong Kong, and the threats on Taiwan as leading him to this conclusion. He also mentioned widespread corruption in Chinese soccer, and denounced China’s crackdown on religious and other liberties.
Some of Hao’s statements were, admittedly, controversial. He supported both the view that the virus responsible for COVID-19 was artificially created in a Chinese laboratory, and the project for a “Federal State of the New China,” which should replace the Communist regime, promoted by exiled Chinese tycoon Guo Wengui and American political activist Steve Bannon, whose Web site launched Hao’s video. While these political statements and allies would probably limit Hao’s support among the Chinese diaspora, the fact remains that a former poster boy for the Chinese regime now wants to speak up against the CCP. The Chinese reaction, erasing from the Web and history one of China’s most celebrated champions, is also typical of the Orwellian CCP regime.