Why Chinese People Are Not Good at Football
In our continual coverage of the World Cup, we bring you a translation of a post entitled “Why Chinese People Are Not Good at Football” from the blog of a professor (李银河) at the 中国社会科学院社会学所 (Institute of Sociology, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences):
“Alot of people are pained by the fact that Chinese football did not makes it way to the World Cup. Many people make it a point of patriotism and blame the systems or institutions involved. I feel that Chinese people being bad at football is related to the character of our culture.
Chinese people, especially the Han, are a elegant and scholary people, who were never a proponent of reckless bravey and battle, preferring softer and more elegant methods. Football is not like this, it is an attack-intensive sport, with a violent character. American football is even more violent. These sports are not suited to the character of our culture.
There is lots of evidence for this:
- Look at the historically famous men, from 梁山伯 to 贾宝玉. They are all bookish people.
- Until a few years ago, the Chinese language did not have the word 性感 (sexy). Chinese people historically did not value ferocious images of men.
- Farmers prefer to not to move too much in their free time and enjoy activities such as mahjong, unlike nomadic people who enjoy physically intense activites such as dancing.
So, if we continue not to get into the World Cup, we should not be worried that it is a reflection on our culture or our country. If we don’t play football, we can play other sports. After all, sports were originally meant to be played.”
Via vincent’s blog.
15 comments on “Why Chinese People Are Not Good at Football”
Evidence doesn’t fit very well with Darwin’s theory — lol; remember, only the strong survive; yet theres 1.2+ billion of us around.
I don’t know, I’m not very ‘passive’ and have played competitive sports my whole life and love to dance 🙂
A scholar like Li Yinhe might think so, but some other “historically famous people” might include the Yongzheng Emperor (very tough on corruption — even killed his brother for it), old Mao himself, various warlords and Hong Xiuquan, who billed himself as the younger brother of Jesus Christ and led the Taipings in rebellion against the Qing Dynasty.
The Chinese repressing sexuality is true enough for the PRC, who until recently were repressing many other expressions of individualism and personal feelings. Interesting for Li Yinhe [her personal name means Milky Way] to bring it up, since she is a pathbreaking scholar in studies of women’s sexuality in China. Her book of love letters exchanged with her husband who died ten years ago made an impression on the Chinese literary world.
Li Yinhe’s blog is at
Thats great! The professor 李银河 knows for sure what she(he?) is talking about!
Do you see a sexual revolution or sexual ‘liberation’ in China coming soon?
Whenever I go back to Asia I find the majority of women to be very conservative (okay, maybe with the exception of certain cosmopolitan cities).
“Do you see a sexual revolution or sexual ‘liberation’ in China coming soon?
Ahem. The sexual revoluation already happened. There’s 1.2 billion chinese to prove the point. To create 1.2 billion people would require probably half a billion fuckers.
“Whenever I go back to Asia I find the majority of women to be very conservative (okay, maybe with the exception of certain cosmopolitan cities). ”
You live in virtual Asia.
The professor is just ranting nonsense.
China held France to a 1-1 draw last week until the 90th minute.
The reason why China is not good at football is exactly because people think like the professor. An emphasis on individual skills.
Soccer is a game of strategy. It is like chess. Its about how to pass balls to create openings in opponents defense. Individual skills do come into play but it does not give much advantage and is often unrealiable and unpredictable.
I don’t see what sexuality or sexiness has to do with soccer. There’s a wide range of attitudes and ideas about sexuality in all of the countries currently fielding teams in the World Cup.
Would the refs have appeared better on a bigger screen?
Shanghaiist went to Big Bamboo early this morning to watch a ref from Uruguay dominate the World Cup match between the U.S. and Italy. Shortly before the 3 a.m. match time, we plopped ourselves down on stools upstairs with a prime view of the bar’s onl…
This is a ridiculous *Excuse* for not making it into the world cup. I am chinese myself and I am offended by this theory of yours. I definately do not see soccer as an “attack intensive sport” at all (I’ll admit it’s the most tiring sport). People like you who make up excuses saying “Oh we weren’t built for this” is the reason why China did not succeed into the world cup. How do you explain how Korea and Japan (Korea may be even more bookish in my opinion) made in? The answer is simply years of hard work, training, love and devotion to the sport. this does not apply just in soccer, but is necessary to succeed in every sport.
**I believe that your statement is impeding the progress of our athletes. We should be hard at work for next year’s world cup not taking it easy because we are “scholarly people” and go play mahjong. Please delete your post, it’s repulsive to look at.
Please notice that I was translating a post from a known scholar. So it is not “my” theory; I merely put it out there as something I found interesting.
I agree with Alvin — stop with the bullshit limiting beliefs.
Perhaps she should read some Anthony Robbins, lol.
I thought you would say more about chinese soccer….
I recently translated a passage from Sanlian Life Week that reports about Chinese football commentator Huang Jianxiang’s thoughts on why Chinese football hasn’t been successful. He believes that it has to do with China’s lack of a collective spirit – http://www.whitepage.com.au/chinamachete/22847/Huang_Jianxiang_becomes_a_coverboy.html
But isn’t pretty stupid to associate a lack of footballing success with a country’s intrinsic character? Isn’t it more to do with a faulty system? If China can develop its professional league to the level of Spain or England, then it would also be producing footballers of high quality. And I doubt whether much player development is happening at a grassroots level.
RE: But isn’t pretty stupid to associate a lack of footballing success with a country’s intrinsic character?
Yup, it’s an interesting talking point though 🙂
I heard recently that it’s a giant mess of sportsmanship & money that’s holding Chinese football back.
that is a stupid, racist theory