Olympic medalist Maggie Mac Neil adoption sparks discussion on China's one child policy
Ontario swimmer Maggie Mac Neil shot to fame when she brought home Canada's first gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics, but now her adoption story has the spotlight turned on China's one-child policy and gender discrimination.
But now Mac Neil's story of adoption from China is sparking conversation on social media, in part because she beat Chinese swimmer Zhang Yufei.
Although the circumstances of her adoption are unclear, South China Morning Press says there is now an "outcry in China's domestic media over its now-scrapped one-child policy."
"Some also pointed out how life would have been different for MacNeil if she was not adopted by her Canadian parents."— WalkingProblem (@WalkingProblemG) July 28, 2021
<--- She wont be a olympic gold medallist, thats for sure.#Olympics2020 #olympics #china #MaggieMacNeil #Canadahttps://t.co/tNg3KQFx7z
Starting in the 1970s due to overpopulation, the one-child policy limited families to only one child, and because girls were often seen as less desirable than boys, they were given to orphanages, abandoned or aborted. The policy ended in 2015.
People are now reflecting on that policy.
"Imagine had she not been brought up from the orphanage, or had she not been deserted by her biological parents, what would she be now?" wrote one commenter on the country's microblogging site Weibo. "The adoption changed her life orbit completely as she was given such quality care and training."
Congratulation to #can gold medalist #MaggieMacNeil, who was abandoned as a baby in #ccp occupied #china, indirectly led to a problem which nobody notice at all until now. Let’s hope fame is all she will get; not the parents who wish to get something out of her. #Olympics— Frank Chong (@frankchongsh) July 27, 2021
"She might have dropped out of school to support a younger brother had she stayed in China," wrote another.
Another said: "She helms the citizenship of Canada, and all the credit should go to those who raised and trained her well in Canada."
The 'One-child policy' has affected thousands of children since 1979, including Canada's 2020 Tokyo Olympics gold medalist Maggie MacNeil. In 2021, the new 'three-child policy' was introduced. What are the reasons and impacts behind this policy change? https://t.co/PfkWGSNxnm— South China Morning Post (@SCMPNews) July 28, 2021
At a press conference following her Olympic win, she said her being born in China had little to do with her swimming career.
"I was born in China, and I was adopted when I was really young. That's just as far as my Chinese heritage goes," she said.
"I'm Canadian. I've always grown up Canadian. So that's just a very small part of my journey to where I am today. And it's kind of irrelevant when it comes to swimming and how far my swimming has come."
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