Sports / Stars

Badminton legend in tattoo controversy

By Liu Jing ( Updated: 2015-03-27 16:37
Badminton legend in tattoo controversy

Lin Dan, third form left, at his book signing in Shanghai on Mar 19, 2015. Photo provided to China Daily

Lin Dan, China's two-time Olympic badminton champion, has stirred controversy among Chinese netizens after his tattoos were laid bare in his recent photo album.

Lin, best known as the invincible "Super Dan"on the badminton court, is also a lieutenant colonel in the service of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA), which largely regards tattoos as taboo among its members.

According to earlier reports, the badminton star has five tattoos on his arms and neck. The emblems were displayed in his new photo album released last week, triggering hot debate online.

The PLA has eased its requirements on tattoos in 2014, allowing people with less than 2 cm of tattoos showing on their body while in uniform or 10 cm of total ink to join the military. However, Lin's tattoos appear unacceptable even by the new standard judging by the photos in the album.

The debate over Lin's tattoos is not new. In an online survey conducted in 2012, a total of 72.94 percent of the respondents said the shuttler should be decommissioned from the army.

Responding to the controversy, Lin said during an interview with Beijing News that his tattoos may violate some military rules, but that doesn't mean he is not loyal to the army.

It's obvious that not everyone is satisfied with his explanation.

Many people believe that Lin, as a soldier, should abide by the military regulations.

"Does it mean soldiers can violate military rules at will as long as they claim to be loyal to the army?" said @wojiaowangxiaoxianer, a Weibo user. Another netizen named @yuanzengxiaojie said Lin has tarnished the image of soldiers.

However, Lin also finds many supporters who insist that tattoos are more of a personal decision.

@meijianfuzhibuxianling argued that people have the right to do whatever they want with their bodies. "Soldiers should also be allowed to show their personality like everyone else", said @DTXximi.

Starting to play badminton at the age of five, Lin became a dark horse in 2001 after upsetting the heralded defending champion Taufik Hidayat in just 29 minutes.

As the winner of all the important badminton prizes, he is widely regarded as the greatest men's player in badminton history.

Besides his achievements on the badminton court, Lin is also well-known for his forthright personality and sometimes, his short temper.

Many people still remember the romantic moment in 2007, when Xie Xingfang, a shuttler and now Lin Dan's wife, won her All-England Badminton Open Championships in women's singles in Birmingham, Lin congratulated her with a bouquet of red roses and stunned the audience by kissing her in the arena.

In 2008, Lin was involved in an ugly and public clash with then South Korea's Chinese head coach Li Mao during the Korea Open Super Series final. Lin refused to apologize for his behavior, claiming he responded after Li first verbally attacked the Chinese team with dirty words.


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