Princeton Asia Review

Blog of the semi-annual magazine run by Princeton University students about all things Asia (Humor? Check. Culture? Yes. Politics? Of course!). Supported by the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, the East Asian Studies and Economics departments, and the Davis International Center.

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China and Taiwan vie for a piece of Jeremy Lin

Read more of this article on CNN (link).

The 6-foot-3-inch point guard was mostly sidelined by his New York Knicks basketball team until a recent chance opportunity on courtshot him to stardom a week and a half ago…But basketball’s latest wonderboy may now find himself caught in a competition of a different sort, as both China and Taiwan seek to claim the Asian-American as one of their own. Lin’s parents were born in Taiwan, but Communist Party officials in China claim his origins lie in the eastern Chinese city of Jiaxing.

After becoming a starter for the New York Knicks in mid-February, Jeremy Lin (林書豪) led his team to seven consecutive wins, quickly propelling himself to fame. His success story—Linsanity—has taken the Asian community by storm. Just a couple weeks ago, social media pages were filled with posts about this new point guard (they still are!), and not just by basketball fans. As stereotypical as it may seem, Asian parents are Linsane about him too—I mean, he did graduate from Harvard with a degree in Economics. My roommate’s mother even sent her an hour-long interview (in Chinese) with Lin, and if I ever need an update on how he’s doing, a simple visit to her mom’s Facebook page is all I need. Yet, fangirling (or fanboying) isn’t all that’s happening lately.

"China vs. Taiwan" is a very sensitive topic for many people, myself included. While this topic is largely political, Linsanity has recently triggered arguments between cross-strait citizens about whether Lin is, well, “Chinese” or “Taiwanese.” This CNN article discusses the controversy of “where he belongs”, and though I have my own opinions on this matter, I do think it’s more important to keep sports and politics separate. And apparently, so does Lin.

In his own words:

I’m really proud of being Chinese, I’m really proud of my parents from Taiwan, and I just thank God for the opportunity.

After all, working hard in the NBA and being himself is more important to him than the attention he’s been getting. The Asian community is proud of what he’s doing, and that’s all that matters, right? :)

- Jenny

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