‘Linsanity’ Hits China

Posted February 22nd, 2012 at 11:52 pm (UTC+0)
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In this Feb. 10, 2012 file photo, New York Knicks' Jeremy Lin reacts after scoring during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Lakers, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

Basketball player Jeremy Lin, or Lin Shuhao (林书豪) as he is known in Chinese speaking circles, has hit the mainstream in China.

The Harvard grad has come out of seemingly nowhere to have an incredible run with the NBA’s New York Knicks.

“Linsanity”, the term for the crazy following he has amassed, is reaching its peak.

Chinese netziens are talking about his nationality, ancestral home, his education and the general media craze surrounding him.

Leehom Wang (王力宏), a super famous American-Chinese singer based in Taiwan, wrote on his Sina microblog on February 10:

Whose weibo did I follow today? Of course it’s NBA’s American-born Chinese Jeremy Lin! He is making us proud in the States, and has reversed many stereotypes that Americans have about us, and making them see for the first time! The American media have invented a new term for the mania around him, Linsanity! I really hope that I will have the opportunity to see him play, and shout out loud: “Go Jeremy!”

Luqiu Luwei (闾丘露薇), a Phoenix TV journalist and well-known blogger, re-posted a column that she had written on her blog. It has been read more than 120,000 times and garnered more than 1,000 comments. She wrote:

There are already some Chinese journalists who have discussed the possibility of Lin joining a Chinese basketball team. Even though the Chinese Basketball Association have said that they have never invited him, an American journalist revealed that if Lin hadn’t been so great on a few matches recently, he might have joined Yao Ming’s Shanghai Sharks. The biggest problem for Lin, if he want[ed] to join Chinese basketball is, sources who are in the know say… he would have to become a Chinese citizen.

This, of course, complicates everything. In the media reports in China, not many of them will mention Lin’s parents as holding American passports, while at the same time holding Taiwan passports. And now, Taiwan has officially said that they can give Lin a Taiwan passport too. Also recently, officials in Zhejiang province have said that Lin’s ancestral home is Zhejiang, but his family has said that ancestral home is dictated on the father’s side, and his paternal grandfather was a through-and-through Taiwanese.

Let’s keep watching the game, and learn something from Lin, whatever you do, don’t politicize it.

Most of the commenters on the piece seem to have left only one word, either “American” or “Taiwanese.” The debate seems to have ranged to some who think he is the proud son of Zhejiang province, and those who even think he’s Korean.

It seems to the non-sports fan, Lin’s nationality will be of intense interest. Also for the non-sports fan, Lin’s education at Harvard (哈佛大学)  has impressed the education-centric Chinese.

On Sina microblog, “Charlotte” wrote:

Suddenly realized how popular Jeremy Lin is, perhaps more than Yao Ming (姚明) at the time? However, Lin really is brilliant! He is a Harvard graduate!

Yen-j (严爵), an American-Taiwanese singer-song writer, who is currently based and making music in Taiwan, even made a “theme song” for Jeremy Lin. The song is called “Invincible East” (东方不败) and features the English rap:

Take home the money take home the trophy
Feel free to take it personally
But share the glory
That’s what we call Lin-sanity

A video of the song can be watched here:

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China Wangre (中国网热) is a wide-ranging look at the latest digital news and trends from the world’s largest online population.

Beijing native Alice Liu follows what’s hot and how people in China are using mobile devices, traditional websites and social media to connect with each other and the rest of the world.

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Wangre means “Net Hot” in Mandarin and was picked to convey our commitment to bring the latest developments from digital China.