US-born skater who was lambasted in China speaks out over Olympic nightmare

US-born figure skater Zhu Yi, who competes for China and was attacked on Chinese social media after falling during the Olympics, has spoken out about the ordeal.

“I am an Olympian; no one can take that away from me,” she wrote on her Instagram on Wednesday.

“It’s all about the journey. I persevered through years of adversity, and came out a stronger person. Last night was my final skate on Olympic ice and I took in every moment of it,” she said.

It was her first post since the attacks against her began.

Many posted positive and supported comments, while others noted that Ms Zhu added another line in Chinese, translated as “those who understand will understand”.

The sentence prompted criticism on Weibo, the Chinese social media site similar to Twitter.

Two hashtags referring to the Instagram post were viewed more than 400,000 times each, according to Insider.

“What does ‘those who understand will understand’ even mean?” one Weibo user asked, adding that Ms Zhu should leave China. “Is it about being last in a team event? Are you uncomfortable because we haven’t scolded you?”

“It’s true that no one can take away Zhu’s Olympic experience, but who’s the one who stole that experience which should have belonged to another girl?” another account holder said.

One of many supportive Instagram comments, Geoff Dionisio wrote, “You are an amazing young lady and I am so impressed, congratulations on becoming an Olympian!!”

“I was also happy seeing your smile on the ice, I’m proud of you,” another Instagram user said.

“I’m so proud of you!! You are the strongest person I know, congratulations!” a third added.

The South China Morning Post noted that allegations have swirled during the games that Ms Zhu received her spot on the Chinese team, the only one on the roster for women’s singles, because her father, Zhu Songchun, is an influential scientist.

In 2018, The New York Times reported that “critics say [the South China Morning Post] is moving away from independent journalism and pioneering a new form of propaganda”.

According to CNN, Zhu Songchun’s speciality is artificial intelligence.

Ms Zhu later disabled comments on her Instagram account, with some users calling the move “cowardly”.

Some Chinese social media users said that Ms Zhu’s post on Instagram varied wildly from a post she made on Weibo hours before, in which he had thanked supporters for their backing.

“I want to thank my coach, my teammates, my family, my friends, and the audience for giving me so much warmth and encouragement,” Ms Zhu said in Chinese. “Everyone’s encouragement has given me the courage to allow me to compete today with more determination and calm.”

The figure skater has faced harsh criticism and harassing comments even after Weibo and other platforms began banning accounts and censoring abusive content.

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