Chinese netizens reluctant to see young actress staring in women’s volleyball team film

Chinese netizens raised doubts about actress Guan Xiaotong, pop idol Lu Han’s girlfriend, after reports said she would play the role of the former national female volleyball team captain in a new film, saying she does not represent the team’s spirit.

Once a world superpower in women’s volleyball, China was almost unbeatable between 1981 and 1986 when the team won two world championships, two World Cups and one Olympics.

Against the backdrop of China’s opening-up and reform, the Chinese took pride in their victories and were inspired by the “women’s volleyball spirit,” that represents hard work, unity and perseverance.

Hong Kong director Peter Chan will direct a film called “Chinese Women’s Volleyball Team,” based on a true story to express the team’s indomitable efforts to win honor for the country, the Wenhui Daily reported in May.

Gong Li, who was honored with the Women in Motion award at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, will play Lang Ping, the head coach of the women’s national volleyball team, the film’s producers said on Sina Weibo in May.

Many netizens hailed Gong’s appearance in the film and said they trust she would play the part well.

However, Guan, 21, who will reportedly play former caption Hui Ruoqi, 28, received doubts from netizens, saying that she lacks good acting skills and fighting spirit.

Guan, who was a child star, debuted as an actress in 2001, then made a name in 2005 in The Promise directed by Chen Kaige.

She is girlfriend of Lu Han, who was dubbed the “Chinese Justin Bieber” by foreign media and a member of South Korean top-tier idol group EXO.