Canadian swimmer’s success throws spotlight on China’s one-child policy

Canadian swimmer's success throws spotlight on China's one-child policy
Canada's Margaret Macneil won the gold medal in the women's 100-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics. Source: AP
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Daily US Times: Gold medal-winning Canadian swimmer Margaret MacNeil has made waves in China for her Chinese heritage, sparking heated discussions over the country’s gender discrimination and the decades-long one-child policy.

Margaret MacNeil shot to international fame on Monday after winning the women’s 100-meter butterfly at the Tokyo Olympics, setting an Americas continental record at her very first Games.

However, in China, the 21-year-old was drawing wide attention for another reason. The Canadian girl beat China’s top woman swimmer, Zhang Yufei, by 0.05 seconds was actually born in China and later adopted as a baby by a Canadian couple.

The subject of MacNeil soon lit up social media platforms in China. On Monday morning, a hashtag about her winning the gold medal became the top trending topic on Chinese microblogging site Weibo, and has since drawn nearly 400 million views.

Much of the attention has focused on her Chinese heritage — and reflections over the wider political and social circumstances that led to her adoption by a foreign family.

According to her profile on Team Canada’s official website, MacNeil was born in 2000 in Jiujiang, a city on the southern shores of the Yangtze River in China’s Jiangxi province.

Many suspected on Chinese social media that she had been abandoned by her biological parents, a once-common practice under China’s now-scrapped one-child policy.

The stringent policy, which was in place until 2016, led to female infants being abandoned, aborted and even killed due to a traditional preference for sons among many Chinese families.

That has left China with a deeply skewed sex ratio at birth, and a surplus of more than 30 million men.

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