Giving birth in the US is the new original sin in China.
Pictures of famous China Central TV host Chai Jing holding a newborn baby at the airport have been making the rounds on Chinese social media in the past few days. It’s reported that Chai, who is sometimes referred to as “the Chinese liberals’ goddess”, gave birth to a daughter in October 2013 in the United States.
Thanks to her many investigative pieces on the SARS outbreak, the Sichuan earthquake and several coal mine accidents, Chai’s public image is that she is a fearless and on-the-ground reporter. In her speech at the 2009 Beijing Journalists Association’s speech competition, she thus concluded her sensational speech:
“A country is built upon individuals; she is constructed and determined by them. It is only if a country has people who…build but do not take advantage of the land.”
It was this speech that first brought her to public attention and made her into a sort of celebrity journalist. Her act of choosing to give birth to her child in the US, however, is seen by many netizens as contrary to what she’s been advocating. A traitor and a hypocrite – that’s how some Chinese netizens call her now.
One netizen 再见二丁目c7 commented: “I have no problem of her giving birth in the US. But she shouldn’t put on a show on TV as if she is a patriot and cares about this country or its people.” Another netizen HI-曹焱焱 agreed: “If she is an ordinary mom, I won’t be so disgusted. But Chai’s been trying hard to establish herself as a patriot who cares about this country. If so, be a Chinese!” Yet another netizen 涛哥老吴 added: “This shows the hypocrisy of liberals in China. Their credibility is declining. People are glowingly disappointed at these so-called liberals.”
This overwhelmingly negative public perception of those who give birth in the US stems from China’s culture of corruption. Many of China’s corrupt officials are the so-called “naked officials” who move their entire families overseas (mainly to the US) and stay in China alone to cash in on their power. These naked officials are considered to have no interest in improving the livelihood of Chinese people because the ones they love are already US citizens. The only thing that they care about is how to take advantage of their power to get richer, which, more often than not, results in the suffering of the people.
These naked officials are so hated that giving birth in the US itself becomes a “crime”, especially if it is done by someone with a certain degree of influence, such as Chai Jing. For example, one netizen porton bitterly pointed out: “Those who criticize the system in China. Those who sing praises of the system in China. They all choose to have an American kid. That’s the ultimate universal value in today’s China.”
Of course, there are also many netizens who thought giving birth in the US was her personal choice and others have no right to criticize. Some even compared Chai with famous Chinese director Zhang Yimou who decided to have all his 3 kids in China and was fined $1.2 million as a result for breaching the country’s one-child policy.
The irony, like many netizens pointed out, is that most people would choose to do the same if they were given the chance. “After all, US has better environment, better healthcare, better education and better everything,” commented many netizens.