'A COUNTRY AT THE FRINGES OF CIVILISATION': Chinese media goes nuts on Australia over Mack Horton

Xu Can of China lands a punch on Australia’s Corey McConnell during their WBA Super Featherweight Title fight in Beijing in June. Photo: Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Hell hath no fury like Chinese honour being shamed by an Australian swimmer.

And Sunday’s 1500m Olympic freestyle race between China’s Sun Yang and Australia’s Mack Horton is starting to take on Cold War proportions after the 400m gold medalist labelled his silver medal rival a “drug cheat”.

China’s swimming team is demanding an apology from Australia for Horton’s “malicious attack” on Sun. Horton’s Facebook page has been bombarded with more than 40,000 comments from indignant Chinese swimming fans keen to defend their star’s honour, with another 300,000 piling onto his Instagram account before he switched off the comments. Australian journalists have also been feeling the heat for backing Horton, with some reporting death threats.

Meanwhile the Communist nation’s media has also been trolling Australia for most of the day, labeling it “Britain’s offshore prison” and “a country at the fringes of civilisation”.

Having called Australia “delirious” and a “paper cat” that “will learn its lesson” in an editorial a fortnight ago in the wake of the dispute over the South China Sea islands, The Global Times, which is seen as an international mouthpiece for the country’s Communist leaders, today took aim at Horton for “his cynical smugness after beating Sun”, the “reckless” Australian media and the nation in general over the swimmer’s drug cheat remarks.

“If Horton won the competition by disrupting his rival in an immoral way, his win is disgraceful” the Global Times thundered.

But just in case that’s not what he meant to do “then it’s the fault of the Australian media”.

“We don’t know if it is Horton who is silly or it’s the Australian media that is evil, or perhaps Australia just has a different moral standard. The message sent is abnormal and aberrant,” The Global Times editorial said.

“Whatever the real reasons, Horton has no reason to feel proud of what he said” and “Australia should feel embarrassed with Horton’s remarks”.

“No one should be surprised at uncivilized acts emanating from the country,” the smackdown concluded.

Xinhua had the Chinese equivalent of a media beat up with the headline “IOC to check into Aussie Horton’s comment on Chinese rival” quoting IOC spokesperson Mark Adams as saying “I didn’t know the incident. I need to look into it.”

Adding to Australia’s calumny, The Global Times reported that Channel 7 was also in trouble because it cut to ads as Chinese athletes walked into the stadium during the opening ceremony. The station also used the Chilean flag instead of China’s at one point and apologised for both incidents, telling Xinhua they were mistakes.

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