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American-Born Eileen Gu, Competing For China, Uses Chinese Platform To Plug App Banned In China
Silver medalist Ailing Eileen Gu of Team China poses during the Women's Freestyle Skiing Freeski Slopestyle medal ceremony on Day 11 of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games at Zhangjiakou Medal Plaza on February 15, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, Hebei Province of China.
An Lingjun/CHINASPORTS/VCG via Getty Images

American-born 18-year-old skier Eileen Gu, competing for China at the 2022 Olympics, has been plugging her Instagram handle on Chinese social media platform Weibo.

Only Instagram, as well as some other Western social media platforms, are banned in Communist China through the country’s so-called “Great Firewall.” 

“Eileen Gu’s shared her Instagram handle on Weibo. Only the platform is blocked in China,” BBC reporter Kerry Allen posted to Twitter, Wednesday.

The 18-year-old has apparently made a habit of promoting her Instagram account on Weibo. “Seems she’s done this a fair bit,” Allen posted, captioning screenshots of Gu’s plugs.

Gu has been making waves over apparent special treatment she’s received by the communist regime. The teenager was confronted last week by a social media user about Gu’s use of Instagram, for example.

“Why can you use Instagram and millions of Chinese people from mainland cannot, why you got such special treatment as a Chinese citizen. That’s not fair, can you speak up for those millions of Chinese who don’t have internet freedom,” user “cilla chan” posted.

“Anyone can download a vpn [virtual private network],” Gu replied. “It’s literally free on the App Store.”

The Daily Wire highlighted how Gu’s response sparked outrage online, since many VPNs are illegal and hard to find in China.

“Literally, I’m not ‘anyone,’” one user replied to Gu. “Literally, it is illegal for me to use a VPN.”

Rumors have also swirled around the teenager’s citizenship, since China does not allow athletes to compete for their country with dual citizenship. It’s unclear if an exception was made for Gu, who has refused to give a straightforward answer about the matter.

“I’ve always been super outspoken about my gratitude to the U.S., especially the U.S. team,” Gu said when pressed about the status of her U.S. citizenship. “I feel as though they’ve helped me out so much in my development, they continue to support me. And same with the Chinese team. They’ve always been super supportive and they’ve helped me so much. And so in that sense, I think that that speaks volumes to the ability of sport to bridge the gap and to be a force for unity.”

Asked for clarification, Gu gave a confusing response.

“Yeah, um, first of all, I’m an 18-year old girl. I’m a kid. I haven’t even gone to college yet. I’m a pretty normal person,” the athlete started. “… If people don’t have a good heart, they won’t believe me, because they can’t empathize with people who do have a good heart. And so in that sense, I feel as though it’s a lot easier to block out the hate now. And also, they’re never going to know what it feels like to win an Olympic gold medal.”

A writer for Sports Illustrated last week asserted that there’s “something chilling about the Chinese government using Gu as a PR weapon.”

“China is facing increasing and deserved pressure for its atrocious human-rights record, and squelching of political dissent and religious freedom, and it is deploying an 18-year-old girl from San Francisco as a shield,” the outlet noted.

Related: Eileen Gu Posts To App Banned In Communist China, Gives Tone-Deaf Advice When Criticized

Related: American Skier Competing For Communist China Refuses To Answer Whether She Gave Up U.S. Citizenship

Related: Swiss Skier Beats Eileen Gu, American Competing For Communist China, For Slopestyle Gold

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