Chinese athletes reportedly not allowed to answer questions in English at Olympics

Zhou Jiaying, who is the goalkeeper for the Chinese women’s hockey team, was not allowed to answer questions in English during an Olympic media availability earlier this week.

Zhou, who also goes by Kimberly Newell and was born in Canada, answered questions in Mandarin before a reporter asked her if she’d take questions in English. The answer was no. “She’s not allowed to speak English,” an interpreter said on her behalf, per Reuters. “I’ll try to answer for her.”

Newell is fluent in English, Mandarin and French, according to her official Olympic bio. However, as an official Chinese athlete, the country will only allow her speak in Mandarin.

Zhou started in three of China’s four games in the Olympic tournament, but the host nation failed to qualify for the quarterfinals, although she was widely considered by pundits one of the better goaltenders in the tournament.

She plays professionally with the Zhenskaya Hockey League’s KRS Vanke Rays. She was excited to join the team, but recalls being somewhat skeptical about it.

“I thought to myself, ‘Sorry, what? There’s a hockey team in China? This has got to be a scam or something,'” Zhou shared on her Olympic profile page. “But I figured, why not? There are so few chances to play sports professionally, in China to boot. It was such a unique opportunity that I couldn’t pass up.”

Newell has Chinese heritage through her mother, who was born in China. Zhou Jiaying is a name she adopted for the Olympics, as all the foreign-born players have done.




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Paul, 37, is from Scotland in the UK, but currently lives and works in Bangkok. Paul has worked in different industries such as telemarketing, retail, hospitality, farming, insurance, and teaching, where he works now. He teaches at an all-girls High School in Bangkok. “It’s a lot of work, but I love my job.” Paul has an active interest in politics. His reason for writing for FBA is to offer people the facts and allow them to make up their own minds. Whilst he believes opinion columns have their place, it is also important that people can have accurate news with no bias.

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