On his South China Morning Post blog, Patrick Boehler profiles blogger Li Chengpeng, who has become a popular and outspoken commentator on politics after leaving his job as football (soccer) reporter:
Li has become a hero for Chinese liberals and a hate figure for leftists for his transformation from sports journalist to social critic and writer. His recipe for success has been taking the thrill and punditry he learned in sports coverage to the dry arena of China’s political debate.
“I am a patriot, and I love this country, but I have to remind myself not to become a nationalist,” he said at the talk. “Football has international rules and no national characteristics, like wearing special shoes. It’s not that Chinese players wear fake shoes.”
“I have discovered that China’s football and China’s current society are similar,” he said. “A game’s result, everyone knows it already. Who is going to appear in the next season, we already know. Who is the enemy, we know that, too.”
Li started his activism after joining rescue efforts after the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008. He was among those who fiercely criticised the shoddy construction of school buildings that is alleged to have caused the deaths of thousands of children.