Chinese Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) Xu Xiaodong’s social credit score has been lowered to “D” following a court order.

Xu became an internet celebrity in 2017 when a video of him defeating a tai chi grandmaster in just 20 seconds went viral.

Xu is a fierce critic of what he calls “fake kung fu.” He claims that Western-style MMA is superior to traditional Chinese martial arts, a point of view that in the increasingly nationalistic environment in China is often unwelcome. To prove his point, Xu challenged tai chi grandmaster Wei Lei to a fight. The bout, which took place in a basement in the city of Chengdu, lasted only 20 seconds. Wei’s defeat shocked China and drew the ire of many Chinese, who viewed the fight as a battle between East and West.

Shaolin wushu (桑林/Wikimedia Commons)

“Chinese traditional wushu like tai chi is a philosophy and social medium. It’s not martial arts,” Xu told the South China Morning Post in January. “While China needs reform and opening up, Chinese martial arts need them even more, as their development lags [Western counterparts] by 40 years … We need to learn from overseas. Chinese wushu practitioners have been living like frogs in a well for too long,”

On May 18 Xu knocked out another Chinese martial artist. This time, it was Wing Chun master Lu Gang of the Ip Man lineage. Xu beat him in less than one minute and broke his nose.

However, Xu’s crusade against traditional Chinese martial arts has made him lots of enemies.

In 2017 Xu insulted tai chi grandmaster Chen Xiaowang, calling him a “dog” and a “fraud”. Chen, instead of settling the dispute in the ring, sued Xu and won. Xu was recently ordered by a Chinese court to pay 400,000 yuan (nearly $58,000) in fines and publicly apologize on social media for seven consecutive days for insulting Chen.

According to Apple Daily, Xu Xiaodong has already paid the fine, but he has refused to apologize. Because of his failure to comply with the sentence, last week a Chinese court lowered Xu’s credit score to “D”.

A credit score “D” means that Xu will no longer be allowed to buy plane tickets or train tickets, purchase real estate. He also will be banned from star-rated hotels, restaurants and nightclubs, and his children will not be able to study in private schools.

In 2014 China announced the launch of a pilot scheme to create a nationwide social credit score system, which will be fully implemented by 2020. The system aims to evaluate the behaviour of citizens and punish those who have a low score.

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