Chinese officials criticized Reuters for publishing a picture of the country’s gold-winning female weightlifter that they described as “ugly.”
The photo: Over the weekend, Reuters reported on Chinese weightlifter Hou Zhihui who won a gold medal on the first day of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 in the women’s 49kg weightlifting event. Hou Zhihui, 24, lifted a total of 210kg on the opening day of the Olympic Games to claim the medal.
Reuters, who published a story about Hou’s achievement at the Olympic games, used a photo for the article that shows Hou straining during one of her lifts.
The response: The Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka criticized the Reuters news agency over the image it used for the story and accused it of politicizing the event. The embassy claimed that the image of Hou was “ugly” and that Reuters intentionally used such a photo of the Chinese weightlifter.
“Among all the photos of the game, @Reuters has chosen this one, which only shows how ugly they are. Don’t put politics and ideologies above sports, and call yourself an unbiased media organization. Shameless. Respect the spirit of #Olympics,” the official account for the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka tweeted.
The embassy later shared another tweet that features screenshots of multiple articles that Reuters published on the same day, showing different athletes in different sports, in response to a person who pushed back against their arguments.
The Chinese officials claimed that there was a bias in reporting on “white westerners.”
“Same day, same Olympics, same @Reuters, different faces. Maybe it’s because everything good in life comes easier for the white westerners? We said that these biased MSM are ugly. Never the athletes. They’re beautiful,” the embassy wrote.
The embassy further argued that “[t]t’s not about this photo, it’s about their biased and intentional choice.”
“Ms. Hou Zhihui is definitely beautiful, with all her power and efforts,” they wrote.
Critics: Most social media users disagreed with the embassy’s point of view.
“Nothing ugly about the photos. The photos display the struggles and body changes that a Champion Weightlifter goes through while performing at their peak,” one user tweeted.
“Please heed your own advice,” another user said.
“I mean does anyone make a pretty face and smile when they’re lifting something heavy?” a third user wrote.
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