Olympic skier Eileen Gu defends internet restrictions in China

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US-born skier Eileen Gu, who recently won her first gold medal while competing for China, defended China’s draconian internet restrictions saying it’s easy for citizens to dodge the so-called “great firewall”.

Her comments came after an Instagram user slammed the 18-year-old skier on Tuesday, asking Gu why she gets “special treatment” and is allowed to use Instagram when “millions of Chinese [the] the mainland cannot.

“It’s not fair, can you speak for those millions of Chinese people who don’t have internet freedom,” the commenter added.

In a flippant response accompanied by a thumbs-up emoji, Gu wrote, “Anyone can download a vpn, it’s literally free on the app store.

But Gu – who caused controversy by choosing to compete for her mother’s native country despite growing up in California – failed to mention that VPNs are illegal for most people in China.

“Anyone can download a vpn, it’s literally free on the app store,” said Eileen Gu.
Instagram/@eileen_gu_

Those who don’t have government permission to use the tools – which allow internet users to dodge government censorship by letting them appear as if they’re browsing from another country – can be fined or even arrested. . In one example from 2017, a Chinese man was sentenced to more than five years in prison for selling VPN software, The Guardian reported.

On Chinese social media site Weibo, some users praised Gu for hitting back at China’s critics, while others said the comments made the star athlete arrogant.

In a popular comment, one user wrote that he “envy the calm and elegance” of Gu “having the privilege without knowing (or pretending not to know).”

Eileen Gu
Eileen Gu was raised primarily in the United States but competes for China.
Getty Images

“It’s illegal for me to climb the wall, literally it’s fxxking not free at all,” the user added.

In an ironic twist, screenshots of Gu’s comment defending China’s internet restrictions were even censored on Weibo after it began circulating the site, according to Protocol, which first reported on the controversy. .

Gu – who has also modeled for Louis Vuitton and other luxury brands – has repeatedly dodged questions about whether she had given up her US citizenship in order to compete in China, which does not allow dual citizenship.

Eileen Gu
“When I’m in the United States, I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” Eileen Gu said.
Getty Images

“When I’m in the United States, I’m American, but when I’m in China, I’m Chinese,” Gu said.

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