Beaten at their own game


Few games are as quintessentially Chinese as mahjong. Played with tiles and reputedly invented by Confucius himself, mahjong has been a favourite of his compatriots ever since.

So the results of an international tournament in France came as something of a surprise to the Chinese late last week. French players won gold, silver and bronze. Of the 13 Chinese participants, the best-ranked came a mere seventh. Netizens soon took to Sina Weibo to discuss this humiliation (a typical comment: “we cannot let foreign devils beat us”).

The Global Times then asked Yao Xiaolei what had happened. The assistant to the secretary general of the World Mahjong Organisation initially blamed jet lag for the shock results. But he added that the best Chinese mahjong players had not bothered to show up for the tournament. All in all it sounds like a rematch with the French winners might be required to restore some national pride.

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