In China, however, the 21-year-old was drawing wide attention for another reason, as news spread that the Canadian girl who beat China’s top woman swimmer, Zhang Yufei, by 0.05 seconds was actually born in China and adopted as a baby by a Canadian couple.
Much of the attention has focused on her Chinese heritage — and reflections over the wider social and political circumstances that led to her adoption by a foreign family.
On Chinese social media, many suspected she had been abandoned by her biological parents, a once-common practice under China’s now-scrapped one-child policy.
The stringent policy, in place until 2016, led to female infants being aborted, abandoned and even killed due to a traditional preference for sons among many Chinese families. That has left the country with a deeply skewed sex ratio at birth, and a surplus of more than 30 million men.
Concerned about plunging birth rates, the Chinese government allowed all couples to have two children in 2016. This year, it further relaxed the policy to allow three children.
But for many Chinese internet users, especially women, MacNeil’s victory has served as a vivid reminder of the pernicious legacy of the decades-long policy, and still widespread gender inequality.
Others lamented the discrimination against girls in their upbringing, especially in rural China.
“It’s the Canadians who have nurtured her into a precious gem,” said the top comment underneath the post.
MacNeil, meanwhile, has stressed that she’s Canadian and has “always grown up Canadian.”
“So it’s just a very small part of my journey to where I am today, and it’s kind of irrelevant when it comes to swimming, and how far my swimming has come.”
An attempt to block a makeshift memorial outside of the subway station where 14 passengers died during flash flooding in Zhengzhou has caused outrage online, with people accusing the authorities of trying to downplay the disaster.
In the days following the tragedy, members of the public descended on Shakou Road subway station, laying flowers and lighting candles at the entrance in memory of the passengers who lost their lives.
However, those arriving on Monday found that barriers had been put up overnight, blocking access to the memorial. Though it was unclear why it had been erected, or by whom, images of the fencing drew strong criticism online, with two related hashtags receiving more than 150 million views on Weibo, China’s heavily censored version of Twitter.
Late on Monday night, some residents tore down parts of the barrier, only for new fencing to be erected again the next morning. Authorities finally relented later on Tuesday afternoon, removing all the barriers and allowing citizens to lay flowers in the open. CNN has reached out to local Henan provincial authorities for comment.
— By CNN Staff
- The first person to be tried under Hong Kong’s sweeping national security law could now face life in prison after being found guilty on Tuesday of inciting secession and terrorism, in a landmark court ruling that is likely to have profound implications for the city’s legal system.
- During a keynote speech in Singapore on Tuesday, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said that China’s claims and actions in the Indo-Pacific threaten the sovereignty of nations around the region.
- The tiny Himalayan nation of Bhutan has vaccinated 90% of its population, becoming a beacon of hope for a region struggling with Covid-19.
- China is building a second field of missile silos in its western deserts, according to a new study, which researchers say signals a potential expansion of its nuclear arsenal and calls into question Beijing’s commitment to its “minimum deterrence” strategy.
Chinese tech stocks are experiencing a historically awful sell-off
In its worst two days on record, Meituan shed more than $62 billion off its market cap after regulators issued guidelines Monday calling for improved standards for food delivery workers. Meituan runs one of China’s biggest food delivery platforms, with hundreds of millions of users making transactions on its app annually.
Earlier this year, China launched an antitrust probe into Meituan, with authorities looking into its “exclusive dealing agreements.”
Tencent also recorded its worst day in about a decade on Tuesday, erasing more than $100 billion from its market value. The losses came after it was hit by a regulatory order over the weekend to scrap its plan to acquire another music streaming player, China Music Corporation.
The sell-off in Hong Kong will go down as one of the biggest in history, according to Bespoke Investment Group.
“Since the end of the financial crisis, there hasn’t been a single two-day decline in the Hang Seng that has exceeded the magnitude of the last two days,” the firm wrote in a note to clients Tuesday, referring to the broader Hang Seng Index, the city’s benchmark.
Still, there could be “potential for a short-term bounce” as investors “look for opportunity in the weakness,” it added.
— By Michelle Toh