A Shenzhen-based taekwondo gym has been punished by the Chinese Taekwondo Association after performing 'zombie taekwondo' in Qing Dynasty zombie costumes at a world taekwondo competition in South Korea.

The "Zombie Taekwondo Dance," which was directed by coach Liu Hao from the X-Taekwondo Gym under Aix Sports and Cultural Communication Co in Shenzhen, has caused a harmful impact by promoting negative traditions and customs, tarnishing the national image, and disrespecting Chinese culture, the Chinese Taekwondo Association said on Monday.

An online video clip showed that at the 2023 World Taekwondo Hanmadang which took place from July 21 to 24 in Seongnam, the Chinese team made a collective appearance in Qing Dynasty zombie costumes with fake braids and gave a performance with a mixture of zombie dance and Taekwondo on the stage, surprising the hosts and amusing the South Korean audience.

Chinese netizens criticized the performance, saying the actions of the Chinese team have reinforced people's stereotypical impressions of Chinese people, as the performers' Qing Dynasty zombie appearance carried echoes of the harmful "Fu Manchu" stereotype in Western movies.

The Chinese Taekwondo Association canceled the membership of "X-Taekwondo Gym" within the association and revoked Liu Hao's coaching registration qualifications. It also urged the Guangdong Provincial Taekwondo Association to conduct self-examination.

"We will deeply reflect and establish a healthy and upward industry culture which carries forward the spirit of Chinese sports and the Olympic spirit, and spread positive energy in sports," said the Chinese Taekwondo Association.

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