Jin Jing

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Jin Jing
Personal information
Born 1981
Hefei, Anhui, China
Jin Jing
Chinese 金晶

Jin Jing (Chinese: 金晶; Pinyin: Jīn Jīng; born 1981 in Hefei, Anhui, China[1]) is a Chinese female Paralympic fencer. She was a torchbearer carrying the Olympic torch amid political protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics torch relay in Paris, France. According to ABC News, she fended off protestors who "threw themselves" at her; most were wrestled away by French police but at least one reached her wheelchair and tried to wrench the torch away.[2] Jin has gained national fame in China because of the incident,[3] but was attacked on Chinese internet bulletin boards for her stance in the following call to boycott French retailer Carrefour that resulted from public anger toward France.[4][5][6] In contrast, Western media concentrated on how the incident involving Jin Jing ignited Chinese nationalism and claimed that the incident was exploited for propaganda purposes by the state media.[7][8]

Family and personal life[edit]

Jin Jing's parents are wage earners. Her father, Jin Jiansheng (Chinese: 金建生), is a sent-down youth who moved from Shanghai to Anhui during the Cultural Revolution, where he met and married Liu Huayao (Chinese: 刘华瑶). Jin was born in 1981, in Hefei, Anhui,[1] She has a younger sister, Jin Renyu (Chinese: 金任钰).[9]

Jin had part of her right leg amputated in 1989 when she was in elementary school after a malignant tumor was found on her ankle and later underwent a year of chemotherapy.[1] She moved to Shanghai with her family in 1995 and studied information technology in a technical secondary school. After graduation, she worked as a telephone operator in a hotel in Shanghai.[1][10] Jin got married in Shanghai in September 2013.[10]


On July 13, 2001, the day when Beijing was elected the host city for 2008 Summer Olympics, Jin Jing became a member of the Shanghai Wheelchair Fencing Team. Later on she joined the Chinese National Wheelchair Fencing Team.[11]

Her career as a fencer is summarized in the following table:

Year Tournament Venue Event Result Source
2002 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup Warsaw, Poland Women's Wheelchair Fencing Épée 8 th [11]
2002 FESPIC Games Busan, South Korea Women's Wheelchair Fencing Épée silver [12]
Women's Wheelchair Fencing Foil (Team) bronze
2003 6th National Paralympic Games of the P.R. China Nanjing, China Women's Wheelchair Fencing Épée bronze [11]
Women's Wheelchair Fencing Foil (Team) silver
2003 World Wheelchair Games Christchurch, New Zealand Women's Wheelchair Fencing Épée bronze [11]
2005 National Table Tennis and Fencing Games Nanjing, China Women's Wheelchair Fencing Foil bronze [11]
2005 Wheelchair Fencing World Cup Hong Kong Women's Wheelchair Fencing Épée 5 th [11]
Women's Wheelchair Fencing Foil 5 th

On May 6, 2008, Jin Jing was named as the ambassador of a Paralympic cheering group to help publicize Paralympic sports worldwide in the runup to the 2008 Summer Paralympics in Beijing.[13]

On September 6, she brought the Paralympic torch into the Bird's Nest stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the Paralympic Games.[14][15][16] On this occasion, she "made headlines in the Chinese media", according to the Agence France-Presse.[17]

2008 Summer Olympics torch relay[edit]

An attempt to wrestle the torch from Jin Jing in Paris[2]

In 2007, Jin Jing turned up for a selective trial, titled You Are the Torchbearer, which was organized by China Central Television, and was chosen to be an Olympic torchbearer. On April 7, 2008, she was the third torchbearer carrying the Olympic Flame during the relay in Paris, amidst protests and physical attempts to snatch the torch by demonstrators.[18][19] According to ABC News, "Protesters denouncing Chinese policy in Tibet threw themselves at Jin. Most were wrestled away by police but at least one reached her wheelchair and tried to wrench the torch away."[2] Jin was quoted by the state-run newspaper China Daily as saying that she "would die to protect the torch."[20] The International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge commented on the incident, saying, "What shocked me most is when someone tried to rob (sic?) the torch off a wheelchair athlete, a disabled athlete who was unable to defend the torch. This is unacceptable."[2]

On her arrival back to Beijing, after the Paris relay, Jin was interviewed by Sohu. Of her experience of the relay, she said:

They began lunging towards me, trying to grab the torch from my hands. I tried to hide the torch with my body and managed to keep it from them. I was focused on the three or four separatists attacking me. I'm not sure how many were behind me. I felt people trying to take the torch from me. That's when some of the escort runners , as well as the tourist guide assigned to me in Paris, came over to help me, drawing the attackers away. People ask me how I dealt with the danger. I don't think I thought too much about it. I trusted the escorts around me. They were the ones, along with my guide, that faced the danger.[21]

Commenting on Tibet itself in interviews, she said she knew little of politics before encountering the demonstrations in Paris, and had never heard of the pro-Tibet independence movement. When asked by the UK's The Daily Telegraph she also said, "My opinion before was that Tibet was an inseparable part of our country, now I hold this point more firmly than before."[22]

Jin has been celebrated first on internet bulletin boards and soon in Chinese media.[23][24][25][26] She was treated to a hero's welcome upon her return to Beijing and China's news reports described her as the "Smiling Angel in Wheelchair" and the "Most Beautiful Torchbearer".[27][28][29] According to Canada's The Globe and Mail, initially the state media of China censored all reports on the torch protests and the incident involving Jin Jing, but it soon reported on the protest and portrayed China as the victim, thus appealing to patriotic sentiments.[30] The UK's The Times wrote that Chinese media coverage of the Paris leg of the relay was "reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution when propaganda organs were able to whip up the public into a frenzy of rage over an issue of their choice."[31] The Associated Press wrote that Jin is "now known as a defender of China's dignity" and joins "a list of heroes promoted by the communist government's propaganda authorities",[8] while The Sydney Morning Herald called her a "new heroine in China" by whom Beijing "is trying to claw back one or two propaganda points from the torch's recent rocky progress."[32] The French magazine Marianne devoted a full page to her in its 26 April edition, and commented that the Chinese flame attendants were "strangely" absent when Jin carried the torch, leaving it up to the French police alone to guard Jin and her companions. But according to the interview Jin gave to Sohu on April 9, she was waiting to accept the flame as the third torchbearer, and security was "relatively light" around her, when the protestors "began lunging" at her.[21] Marianne wrote that Jin's story had become a "legend skillfully propagated" by the Chinese media: "Images of Jin Jing holding the torch against her heart, her eyes closed in her lovely face, are being shown over and over on CCTV and are inflaming the Chinese Internet," making Jin famous for "hundreds of millions of Chinese viewers and netizens."[7] The French newspaper Le Figaro published an analysis of what it referred to as "the Jin Jing phenomenon": "The media have been drumming into people's heads the story of this young woman who became, in the space of an incident in Paris, the symbol of Chinese pride in the face of Western hostility. The actions of the media bore their fruit, and the 'angel in a wheelchair' has generated unprecedented enthusiasm in China and among Chinese communities all over the world."[33]

The event involving Jin Jing in Paris sparked outrage around China, and Chinese citizens started to urge on the internet for a boycott of French goods and businesses, and touted to "hunt down" the protester who accosted Jin and "teach him a lesson."[19][34][35][36] On April 21, two weeks after the incident, Jin received a personal letter from French president Nicolas Sarkozy, delivered by Senate President Christian Poncelet. In the letter Sarkozy referred to the attack as "intolerable", and said he "condemns it with the utmost force."[37][38][39][40] Xinhua reported that Jin was "very glad to be invited by President Sarkozy to France" and that she "hope[d] to contribute her own efforts to cementing the Sino-France friendship".[41] However, Jin also expressed her disappointment to the press later that Sarkozy "expressed regret, shock and condemnation but no apology."[42]

On September 18, 2008, Jin was received by President Sarkozy at the Palais de l'Elysée. Sarkozy publicly stated that he was "very happy to greet [her]", and praised her "exemplary courage".[43] Reuters, describing Jin as a "nationalist icon", reported that the incident in Paris had "caused a diplomatic rift between China and France that Sarkozy has been at pains to mend ever since", and that his hosting of Jin at the Elysée palace was a means of "heal[ing] [the] rift".[44]

Boycott of Carrefour[edit]

In April 2008, amidst calls in China to boycott French retailer Carrefour to show anger towards France and the experience Jin Jing had in Paris, Jin said she does not want people to boycott Carrefour since most of its employees are Chinese and they will be first affected.[45] She also spoke in support of "Chinese people's friendship with the French", wished the best for French athletes at the Beijing Olympics, and added: "We Chinese people will certainly welcome French people and athletes to China with a tolerant, friendly and passionate attitude."[41] She had received strong personal attacks on Chinese bulletin boards,[4][5][6] though her popularity is still considered very high.[citation needed] So far, she is still called "The Angel in Wheelchair".[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Chang Guoshui and Xiang Lei (2008-04-10). "最美火炬手"原是合肥女孩! (in Chinese). Anhuinews.com. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  2. ^ a b c d Emma Graham-Harrison (2008-04-11). "Disabled Torch Bearer Becomes Chinese Hero". ABC News. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  3. ^ Sally Huang (2008-04-11). "Olympic Torch Relay". Yahoo News. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  4. ^ a b "China vor den Olympischen Spielen. Der Hass trifft selbst die Helden" (in German). Sueddeutsche Zeitung. 2008-04-18. Archived from the original on April 23, 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  5. ^ a b 金晶姑娘呼吁网友别抵制家乐福,被打成汉奸 (in Chinese). 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2008-04-21. [permanent dead link]
  6. ^ a b "Hero to Traitor: The Difference a Day Makes". China Digital Times. 2008-04-19. Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  7. ^ a b "Jin Jing, la handicapée médaille d'or de la guerre des images", Marianne, April 26, 2008, p.22
  8. ^ a b "The Associated Press: China's Olympic torch defender speaks out". ap.google.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  9. ^ Zhang Zhongjiang (2008-04-14). 金晶回家先上舞台 妹妹不开心:本想给她做蛋汤 (in Chinese). Chinanews.com.cn. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  10. ^ a b Zhang Zhongjiang (2008-04-10). 平凡金晶还没有男朋友 十运会后月收入不足千元 (in Chinese). Chinanews.com.cn. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  11. ^ a b c d e f 残疾人火炬手金晶用残缺身体保护奥运圣火顺利传递 (in Chinese). The Official Website of the Torch Relay. 2008-04-08. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  12. ^ Liang, Yan "Handicapped Jin receives hero's welcome for protecting Olympic torch in Paris". Xinhua. 2008-04-10. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  13. ^ "Jin Jing becomes ambassador of Paralympic cheering group". Xinhua NEWS. 2008-05-06. Retrieved 2008-05-06. 
  14. ^ "Jin Jing the torch bearer returns", Danwei, August 29, 2008
  15. ^ "Paralympics opening shows what can be achieved", CBC, September 6, 2008
  16. ^ "Lovely girl Jin Jing", Xinhua, September 9, 2009
  17. ^ "L'héroïne chinoise du passage de la flamme à Paris à l'honneur" Archived 2008-09-20 at the Wayback Machine., Agence France-Presse, August 30, 2008 (with France 24 video)
  18. ^ "Torchbearer exhibits courage in Paris". The Official Website of the Torch Relay. 2008-04-08. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  19. ^ a b Ni Ching-Ching (2008-04-12). "Anger is growing in China over Olympics Protests". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 2008-04-20. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  20. ^ Liu Wei (2008-04-14). "Golden girl lifts a nation". China Daily. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  21. ^ a b "Interview with torchbearer Jin Jing". The official Website of the Torch Relay. 2008-04-10. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-14. 
  22. ^ Richard Spencer (2008-04-12). "Disabled girl becomes China's Olympic heroine". London: The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  23. ^ Ramzy Austin (2008-04-09). "China's View of the Olympic Torch War". Time. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  24. ^ Lydia Chen (2008-04-09). "Touche: Assailant meets match". Shanghai Daily. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  25. ^ Zhang Ning (2008-04-14). "Handicapped girl wins respect for protecting sacred flame". CCTV. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  26. ^ "Jin Jing's back home in Shanghai!". The Official Website of the Torch Relay. 2008-04-10. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  27. ^ Ed Flanagan (2008-04-10). "China's 'Smiling Angel in Wheelchair". MSNBC. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 2008-04-10. 
  28. ^ Ma Hailin (2008-04-09). "Photos: Heroic torchbearer Jin Jing back in Beijing". The Official Website of the Torch Relay. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  29. ^ "Chinese angel comes home". The Official Website of the Torch Relay. 2008-04-10. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  30. ^ Geoffrey York (2008-04-12). "China spins protests abroad to buttress support at home". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on 2008-04-14. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  31. ^ Jane Macartney (2008-04-12). "Chinese media provokes outrage over pro-Tibet Olympics protests". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  32. ^ "China's propaganda flame-out - World - smh.com.au". smh.com.au. 2008-04-12. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  33. ^ "L'étrange histoire du «phénomène Jin Jing»", Samuel Laurent, Le Figaro, April 21, 2008
  34. ^ "Carrefour faces China boycott bid". BBC News. 2008-04-15. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  35. ^ Chris O'Brien (2008-04-15). "Chinese citizens organize boycott of French goods". The Washington Times. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  36. ^ Aileen McCabe (2008-04-15). "Chinese web awash with calls for boycott of French goods". Canada.com. Archived from the original on 2008-04-16. Retrieved 2008-04-15. 
  37. ^ "Sarkozy apologies to disabled China athlete attacked in torch relay". Associate Press. 2008-04-21. 
  38. ^ "«Chère mademoiselle Jin Jing, je voudrais vous dire toute mon émotion...»", Libération, April 28, 2008
  39. ^ "Sarkozy invite Jin Jing, malmenée lors du passage de la flamme", L'Express, April 21, 2008
  40. ^ "La lettre de M. Sarkozy à l'athlète Jin Jing vise à apaiser la colère chinoise", Le Monde, April 21, 2008
  41. ^ a b "French Senate President conveys Sarkozy's sympathy note to Chinese torch bearer", Xinhua, April 21, 2008
  42. ^ "Sarkozy writes to Chinese torch-bearer". www.dw-world.de. 2008-04-22. Retrieved 2008-04-22. 
  43. ^ "Nicolas Sarkozy recoit l'athlète chinoise handicapée bousculée à Paris", Le Monde, September 18, 2008
  44. ^ "Sarkozy hosts Chinese torchbearer to heal rift", Reuters, September 18, 2008
  45. ^ 张宴飞 (2008-04-18). 金晶:家乐福还有很多中国员工[图] (in Chinese). www.eastday.com. Retrieved 2008-04-21. 

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