Nanking massacre anniversary: fury as Chinese basketball fans scream ‘why didn’t the Japanese kill you all?’ at Nanjing players during match
- Thursday was the anniversary of one of China’s worst tragedies
- Spectators hurl abuse at players and staff from visiting club
It was supposed to be an occasion of solemn remembrance for the victims of one of China’s great national tragedies; instead it descended into embarrassment as unruly spectators used the “Rape of Nanjing” as an offensive slur aimed at visiting players in a Chinese Basketball Association game on Thursday evening.
Supporters of the home side, Shanghai Sharks, were heard to shout, “Why didn’t the Japanese kill you all?” at players and officials from Nanjing Tongxi during the Sharks’ 111-103 win over the visitors.
The win saw Shanghai improve their season record to 13-6, but the fallout will reach far further than the CBA standings.
Chinese basketball authorities condemned the behaviour and launched an investigation promising harsh punishment on those found to be responsible.
For the second year since Chinese basketball great Yao Ming was made chairman of the CBA, the National Day of Sacrifice round of matches was preceded by a “mourning ceremony” for the victims of the Nanking massacre, which began when Japanese forces invaded the then-Chinese capital on December 13, 1937.
During the fourth quarter of the clash between Shanghai and Nanjing at Pudong Yuanshen Gymnasium, with the score deadlocked, the game became increasingly heated as players, officials and supporters from both teams clashed, before descending into a physical altercation between members of the crowd and Nanjing club staff behind the bench following the chants.
After the game, Nanjing Tongxi were quick to condemn the actions of the Shanghai supporters on Chinese social media.
“During the 103-111 game away at Shanghai, home team fans in attendance actually shouted out to our team that the Nanking massacre should have killed our team. Chanting about death, really? We strongly condemn their actions.”
It didn’t take long for Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, to react.
Following a torrent of abuse from netizens aimed at the Shanghai club, the Sharks released their own statement online that read: “This event occurred at Shanghai’s home stadium. Therefore the club apologises. The club will jointly investigate the matter in a timely manner and will announce the results of the investigation shortly.
“We always remember this painful anniversary and wish for the dead to rest in peace. As descendants, we also gather strength, work hard, and hope that peace and justice will last.”