Son Heung-min’s Chinese fans brawl with China supporters during World Cup qualifier
By Bryan Ke
November 22, 2023
Fans of the Tottenham Hotspur Football Club and its star player Son Heung-min got into a brawl with supporters of the Chinese national team during the 2026 World Cup Asian qualifier in Shenzhen, Guangdong Province, on Tuesday.
The context: South Korea beat the Chinese national football team 3-0 at the 2026 FIFA World Cup Asian qualifier at the Shenzhen Universiade Sports Center in Shenzhen. Son, 31, led his compatriots to victory by scoring two points.
Heated atmosphere: A video of one of the confrontations, which was uploaded to Weibo, shows a man getting booed by the crowd as he lifts his white Spurs jersey. In another video uploaded to X showing a different angle, the man’s jersey can be seen with Son’s No. 7 on the back with the word “Won.”
The incident eventually turns physical, as several angry Chinese football fans confront the man, which leads to a brawl, as seen in a video uploaded to Imgur. A compilation video also shows him being escorted out by security as the physical confrontation continues.
Another incident: A picture uploaded to X shows another altercation involving a Chinese Spurs fan wearing a white jersey and Chinese national football team supporters. The Spurs fan can be seen in the middle of a fistfight with a supporter of the Chinese team.
How it happened: While it was unclear how the incident began, some speculated that the heated altercations were ignited due to Son’s spectacular performance at the game. Others believe the Tottenham fans provoked the Chinese team supporters, which led to the attack.
Praising his “bravery”: Several X users praised the man captured on video for his bravery in cheering Son during the China versus South Korea game, with one user noting, “As Tottenham fans in China, we get a lot of abuse.”
Another X user said that the Spurs should invite the Tottenham fan in the video to a home match.
One X user explained that the chant thrown at the man, “hanjian” (汉奸), means “traitor to China,” implying that the Spurs fan in the video is likely to be Chinese.
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