China: Missing out on the World Cup 2022

Posted by DG, Date posted at November 28, 2022

The World Cup only happens every four years. This is why it’s a much-awaited event that the global community looks forward to, is very involved in, and always finds fans clamouring for more games, news, updates and camaraderie with fellow football enthusiasts. 

Image source: Getty Image – President Xi kicking a ball on a 2012 visit to Dublin

In China, it’s a bit of a struggle for fans to get their fill on the tourney. Despite the Chinese state media keeping everyone updated on what’s happening, they feature the games, the matches and blow-by-blow accounts of sportscasters, football heroes and even fans worldwide on how they’re having fun in the World Cup — seeing all this just makes folks even more frustrated for they do feel left out of the festivities.

Team China is unable to qualify and makes its presence felt in other ways

Missing out on the World Cup is a frustrating predicament for the government and the people. Surrounding countries, Japan and South Korea, faring better was not only a difficult topic to see. They have had success with high-profile players scattered across Europe. China’s abysmal record is startling, particularly compared to the Summer and Winter Olympics, where it’s always near, or atop, the medal table.

China has played only once in the World Cup, and that was in 2002 when it lost all three games and failed to score a single goal. This was just a minor issue compared to the football-loving Chinese folks missing out on the celebrations, festivities and even the opportunity to simply watch the game’s stream with peers in their country.    

World Cup 2002 China Vs Costa Rica

With the strong sentiment and feedback acknowledged by the local TV media, matches are being shown on national broadcaster CCTV, and state media tried to “amplify” China’s “presence” in the World Cup. The Global Times even reported on how China-made products “ranging from buses to the [Lusail] stadium, and even air conditioning units are well represented at the event”.

Local news media also highlighted the presence of Chinese flagbearers at the opening ceremony, and how two giant pandas arrived in Qatar to “meet” visitors arriving for the event. But it is evident that Covid-19 has put a damper on the celebrations. In major cities, outbreaks have resulted in non-essential businesses once again closing, and people being urged to limit their movements.

Flights between Qatar and China also remain severely limited for those hoping to watch the event in person.

You might also want to read: World Cup 2022: Japan Stuns Germany

Fans voice out frustrations

Being “trapped” and unable to even gather as a small group of football fans in bars (closed), restaurants (closed) and other venues (closed), an open letter questioning the country’s continued zero-Covid policies sprouted and asked if China was “on the same planet” as Qatar — expectedly spread like wildfire in the middle of a drought on WeChat before it was censored. 

Twitter-like Weibo also saw viewers speak out about how watching this year’s matches made them feel divided and isolated from the rest of the world.

Disbelief and disappointment have folks say that it is “weird” to see hundreds of thousands of people gathering without wearing masks or showing evidence of a recent Covid-19 test. “There are no separate seats so people can maintain social distance, and there is nobody dressed in white and blue [medical] garb on the sidelines. This planet has become really divided.”

Image source: Getty Image

One user shared, “On one side of the world, there is the carnival that is the World Cup, on the other are rules not to visit public places for five days.”

You can also see parents post how difficult it was to explain to their kids why the scenes from the World Cup are starkly different to those that they face at home. 

You might also want to read: World Cup 2022 Shocker: Saudi Arabia wallops Argentina

No near end in sight for China’s zero-COVID policy

Unfortunately, China is still experiencing its worst outbreak in six months, and localised lockdowns have surged over the last couple of weeks. In the past 24 hours, China has recorded more than 28,000 new cases; these are in every single provincial-level region.

Mass testing and travel restrictions by local governments in major cities have also been reintroduced in order to control the pandemic from spreading. This eventually had everyone reluctantly stay within the confines of what they can do and where they can go. 

Three years and counting — too long of a time to carry out these measures which are leaving folks frustrated to the point of carrying out protests which saw some violent intervention to control the crowd — not just in one city — but in the two cities, Guangzhou and Zhengzhou.

Comment down below folks on how you’re seeing this piece of news. My take would be that these measures of controlling the pandemic largely depend on the vaccinated populace as against the unvaccinated. We’re extremely lucky here in the Philippines that majority agree on the efficacy of the vaccines and they gladly line up as well as inquire about when and where they can get shots as well as booster shots to complete the protection. Hope to see your inputs soon! Thanks!

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