Superstitious Chinese link earthquake to "unlucky" Olympic mascots
Bloggers blame recent misfortunes in China on the five Olympic mascots and say there is one more misfortune to come.16 May 2008
HONG KONG - Superstitious bloggers have linked China's earthquake disaster and other recent misfortunes to the five Olympic mascots seen on posters across the nation, a Hong Kong newspaper reported Friday.
Gossip sites are full of speculation that four of the five cartoon mascots have fulfilled prophesies of doom with one more, connected to the mighty Yangtze River, ominously still to come, the South China Morning Post said.
The five Olympic mascots are Jinjing, Huanhuan, Yingying, Nini and Beibei - and Jingjing, a panda, the animal most closely associated with Sichuan province where the earthquake struck.
Huanhuan, a cartoon character with flame hair, is being linked by bloggers to the Olympic torch which has been dogged by fierce anti-China protests on its round-the-world tour.
Yingying, an antelope, is an animal confined to the borders of Tibet which have been the scene of riots and the cause of international protests against China, the bloggers point out.
Nini, represented by a kite, is being viewed as a reference to the "kite city" of Weifang in Shandong where China saw a deadly train crash last month.
That leaves only Beibei, represented by a sturgeon fish, which online doomsayers suggest could indicate a looming disaster in the Yangtze River, the only place where Chinese sturgeon are found.
Peking University sociologist Xie Xueluan told the newspaper: "Chinese see major calamities as divine intervention ... The absence of religion reinforces this trend."
Other online prophets of doom point out that the recent run of disasters have all come on days that are related to the normally lucky Chinese number eight.
The huge snowstorm at the beginning of the year happened on January 25 (1-25), a date on which the digits add up to eight and the same applies to the Tibet riots (3-14) and the earthquake (5-12).
All of which bodes ill for the opening day of the Beijing Olympics – 8 August 2008 - which was specially chosen for its auspicious abundance of China's lucky number.
[dpa / Expatica]