Say it isn’t so! The Chinese have been soundly defeated in a friendly international at a game of their own making.
In news just in from the closely watched Open European Mahjong Championship in Strasbourg, France, Japan’s Yoshihiro Suzuki came out the winner in the individual competition. The combined efforts of one French and three Japanese players secured the teams event.
The best Chinese player, Yan Wenying, was 30th in the individual rankings and the Chinese team ended the championship 37th.
Legend has it that Chinese philosopher Confucius developed the game around 500 BC. It’s still one of the most popular games among Chinese, especially in parts of Sichuan province. Some survivors of the May 2008 earthquake in the province reportedly took up the game to cope with the grief wrought by the destruction.
Chinese netizens joked that the results in Strasbourg were even more humiliating than those produced by the national men’s soccer team. “Only a fan of Brazil, which was thrashed 7-1 by Germany [in the World Cup], can understand how I feel,” one netizen wrote on his mircoblog.
Others suggested that the Chinese team was perhaps too distracted by other pastimes and a recruitment drive is in order.
“Did the Chinese players spend too much time square dancing — so much so that it cut into their mahjong training time?” one joked.
“The Chinese delegation should start putting Sichuan people on the team!”
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