Learn more about the black nights in Chinese history .. “Sports, Economy and Politics” – Sports – Arab and International


It is the day that became known as the “May 19 Incident”, when many estimate that he has been chasing the Chinese national football team for 35 years. A day that saw the fiercest confrontations in Chinese football history with political and economic dimensions.
On May 19, 1985, China suffered a surprise 1-2 defeat at home to its neighbor Hong Kong, then still under British rule, on one of the most black nights in Chinese football history.
This match is not only a bad memory, because it destroyed China’s hopes of reaching the next World Cup finals in Mexico for the first time in its history, but also because it witnessed the fiercest riots in the country’s game history.
After the match in the capital, Beijing, fans rioted violently, smashing cars and attacking buses, and threatening foreign journalists and diplomatic personnel.
The incident was the beginning of a fierce feud between the two teams that still exists today, although Britain returned Hong Kong ownership to China in 1997.
The World Cup qualifiers between the two teams were recently very tense, as Hong Kong fans booed at the Chinese national anthem, especially since the pro-democracy protests broke out in the city in 2014.
The fateful match was held for the Chinese on Sunday evening, when a draw was enough for China to qualify for the next round of the 1986 World Cup qualifiers. The “Red Dragon” was an unusual candidate to beat the humble Hong Kong national team, but its hopes were dashed in front of 80,000 spectators in the workers’ field. Workers Stadium.
China then played in a squad considered to be one of the strongest in its history in the past forty years, and the result indicated a 1-1 draw before defender Ko Kam-Fai scored the winning goal for Hong Kong in the 60th minute.
As hopes faded before their eyes, the Chinese were furious when the opponents players wasted time and slackened in the attack, as the cries of “Hong Kong cowards” rose while silence spread over the stadium with the final whistle before the fans burst out of anger.
“In 1984, Margaret Thatcher, then British Prime Minister, visited Beijing, where she signed the Sino-British Joint Declaration Agreement (for the return of Hong Kong to China),” said Quoc Ka-ming, then Hong Kong coach, on the eve of the 35th anniversary of his team’s victory. .
“So the victory we won in the qualifiers was not only important in football, but also in history.”
The loss was severe, but getting in front of Hong Kong’s “younger brother” made matters worse. “After we won and we wanted to go back to the changing rooms, the fans started throwing things on the field so we couldn’t go back and we had to take cover,” Cook recalls.
Outside the stadium, hundreds of fans, some of them drunk, rioted as they threw rocks and bottles while press reports described at the time that the atmosphere was hostile to foreigners, as other foreign correspondents were spat and threatened and their cars were destroyed, and a car was attacked by an employee in French Embassy.
The riots lasted for about two hours, as “dozens of cars” and buses were damaged, while a taxi driver trying to protect his car was beaten.
As a result of all this, about 30 policemen were injured and 127 people were arrested.
The official Xinhua news agency described at the time the most serious incident in Beijing since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.
The repercussions were also severe for the Chinese team outside the green rectangle as well, as he had to hide for several days before he apologized.
Li Shun-Wing, a lecturer at the Hong Kong University of Vocational Education, says there are two theories of reaction by the masses.
Anti-Chinese media in Hong Kong has blamed xenophobia, but Li, whose research and studies include the history of soccer in Hong Kong, indicates that buses carrying locals were also targeted.
China was experiencing radical economic changes during the 1980s, so there is another explanation that fans seized the opportunity to protest against the price reform program that led to inflation.
China reached the World Cup Finals for the first and only time in its history in 2002 when it was held in the two neighbors South Korea and Japan, but it is ranked 76 in the International Federation of the game (FIFA), and is still far from President Chi Jinping’s project to become a superpower in the most popular game in the world.
And he tells me that “the loss chased perhaps the players and fans every time China played a fateful match since then (1985).”




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