Japanese table tennis players Mima Ito and Jun Mizutani have been subject to personal attacks on Chinese social media, after the pair narrowly defeated the Chinese team to win the first-ever gold medal in mixed doubles Monday.
Chinese microblogging site Weibo was inundated with posts insulting the Japanese players. Angry Chinese fans also descended on Ito’s Weibo account, flooding her old posts with thousands of abusive comments.
Some Chinese users who tried to call for an end to the online abuse were also attacked. Ito shut down her Weibo feed in the end.
On Wednesday, Mizutani said on Twitter that he had received a torrent of messages attacking him, without directly mentioning China.
“Got tons of DM from a country telling me to ‘Go to hell! P*ss off!’, but I’m totally ok as I’m used to such comments. I’m just happy that I got the whole word excited. All messages from Japanese are cheering me, thank you!” he wrote in the tweet, which was later deleted.
On Thursday, China’s Sun Yingsha beat Ito in the women’s singles semifinal, to the cheers of millions of Chinese fans online. The match was the top trending topic on Weibo throughout the morning, with several related hashtags attracting hundreds of millions of views.
China currently leads the overall medal table with 14 golds, with Japan in third — the hosts have claimed 13 golds so far. The United States is second.