back to top

The Olympics Beef Between China And Australia Is Getting Wild

Things are getting heaps weird between China and Australia rn.

Posted on

ICYMI, Australian swimmer Mack Horton is currently public enemy number one in China for his tense public feud with Chinese nemesis Sun Yang.

Horton won the 400m freestyle at the Olympics on day one of competition, saying it was a win for the "good guys" in a not-too-subtle nod to the fact that Yang has previously been suspended from the sport for taking a banned substance.The 20-year-old Aussie also said Yang splashed water in his face during a warm-up session last week, and then the world's most awkward handshake occurred on the medal dais (see above).
Clive Rose / Getty Images

Horton won the 400m freestyle at the Olympics on day one of competition, saying it was a win for the "good guys" in a not-too-subtle nod to the fact that Yang has previously been suspended from the sport for taking a banned substance.

The 20-year-old Aussie also said Yang splashed water in his face during a warm-up session last week, and then the world's most awkward handshake occurred on the medal dais (see above).

Of course, Yang's fans responded by flooding Horton's Instagram account with hundreds of thousands of snarky comments and poo and snake emojis.

It got so bad, Horton deleted and shut down all the comments on his photos.

On Monday things got weird. China's state broadcaster Xinhua started tweeting out negative news stories about Australia. Like this one sledging Melbourne (Horton's hometown).

Xinhua/Twitter

Less than an hour later, another: this time about the Australian government's attitude towards Chinese investment in Australian farmland.

Xinhua/Twitter

And 17 minutes later, another. This story was about Channel Seven apologising for throwing to an ad break when China appeared in the opening ceremony. The Aussie broadcaster also apologised for showing China on the medal tally next to a Chilean flag.

Xinhua/Twitter

That's not all. Chinese pro-government outlet the Global Times published an op-ed that read, "we don't know if it is Horton who is silly or it's the Australian media that is evil, or perhaps Australia just has a different moral standard".

Things were getting real... Here's how the piece ended:"In many serious essays written by Westerners, Australia is mentioned as a country at the fringes of civilization. In some cases, they refer to the country's early history as Britain's offshore prison. This suggests that no one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country. We should think the same way."
Global Times

Things were getting real... Here's how the piece ended:

"In many serious essays written by Westerners, Australia is mentioned as a country at the fringes of civilization. In some cases, they refer to the country's early history as Britain's offshore prison. This suggests that no one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country. We should think the same way."

At least Australian China correspondent Stephen McDonell was up to the task of fighting back on Twitter.

Yang and Horton will face off again in the 1,500m freestyle later in the week. Until then, Australia and China will probably continue to attack each other in the media and things are getting HAIRY.

China plan to win 1500m freestyle by building artificial island in Mack Horton's lane and claim it as their own territory...

Mark Di Stefano is a media and politics correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Mark Di Stefano at mark.distefano@buzzfeed.com.

Got a confidential tip? Submit it here.