Nationality of Yao Ming’s Daughter Opens Window into Popular Chinese Thinking


While it may seem only tangentially related to the usual concerns of EconomyWatch.com, the debate over whether Yao Ming’s US-born daughter should receive American or Chinese citizenship

opens an interesting window into the current state of discourse in China about a number of critical political economic topics.


While it may seem only tangentially related to the usual concerns of EconomyWatch.com, the debate over whether Yao Ming’s US-born daughter should receive American or Chinese citizenship

opens an interesting window into the current state of discourse in China about a number of critical political economic topics.

In this context, this piece from the China Buzz section of the CNN International website takes on more significance than issues of a baby’s citizenship usually do 😉 .

Shanghai native Yao and his wife have drawn much attention from Chinese netizens and media since they annouced they would have a daughter,

but now that the baby has been born in the United States, the issue of the baby’s nationality has moved to center court. 

Whether Yao and his wife will choose Chinese or American citizenship has become a highly anticipated and hotly debated topic.

Many in China see Yao as a national hero and therefore believe he needs to ensure that his daughter is Chinese.

His daughter’s nationality is a matter of national pride.

A recent article on Tianya.cn puts the national psyche in perspective.

“Yao is seen as a national hero in China because he’s done so well at NBA,” says the article.

“China, a third-world country, sees Yao as its symbol and Yao has made his people proud.

Chinese people can beat the former Imperialists, in sports, if not in economy or culture.”

However, Si Weijiang, author of the article thinks people have given too much meaning to what Yao does.

“It’s too much to think Yao as a symbol of the rise of China. That’d just be blind nationalism.”

Yao, he argues, is first a person before he’s basketball player and has the right to choose what he thinks is the best for his child.

The article expresses sympathy for why Yao might choose U.S. citizenship for his daughter.

“In China, the government has the right to take away the lands in the countryside and the right to demolish people’s homes in the city,

but it doesn’t have to right to interfere with one’s right to choose [the best] for his baby daughter,” says Si.

Si also criticizes Chinese netizens who demand that Yao to choose Chinese nationality for his daughter.

“These people aren’t real fans of Yao, they are fans of blind nationalism

and I believe they would also choose what’s best for their children if they were in Yao’s shoes.”

In response to Yao’s situation, some netizens have posted comments saying that Yao is a public figure and therefore has more responsibilities than an ordinary person.

“Yao has more social influence than common people, no matter what reason he has, it’d be hard for people to accept it if he chose the United States over China,” comments netizen ispotlight.

“I can understand it if Yao chose the United States for his daughter, but emotionally it’s hard for me,” comments Yuanli Feizhou on Tianya.cn. “If everyone leaves, who will save China?”

However, many more express they would understand if Yao didn’t choose China for his daughter.

“I’d immigrate too if given the opportunity,” writes netizen Mu Lianqiu.

“In China, my house may be be torn down one day before I even realize it. Yao’s daughter would be poisoned if she was fed Chinese milk.”

Netizen You ni geng jingcai also says that he supports Yao’s potential decision.

“Are people all equal in China? Have we seen the benefits of socialism? Are people free to speak? Why so many people here want to immigrate? There’s a deeper reason.”

Other responses say it’s not up to anyone else to judge Yao’s decision.

“Patriotism doesn’t always have to do with nationality,” writes Wangbao24.

“If Yao has the ability to provide his daughter a better environment, that’s a good thing. It doesn’t mean his daughter won’t love China.”

Netizen Shuimi Mengmeng agrees, believing it’s “no matter what nationality Yao’s daughter is, because she will always be Chinese, because her blood is Chinese.”

About EW News Desk Team PRO INVESTOR

Latest news about the state of the world economy.