Zhang Wenhong, a Shanghai-based infectious disease doctor, was pulled into the discussion after a video clip on China’s social media platform Sina Weibo started gaining attention, in which he said that “Chinese kids must have food with high nutrition and high protein, such as eggs and milk, for breakfast every day before going to school and should not eat porridge,” urging parents to pay more attention to their children’s diet at this special time.
The hashtag “Zhang Wenhong said not to eat porridge for breakfast” has received more than 100 million views and 64,000 discussions on Weibo. Chinese netizens have argued over whether Zhang’s suggestion is useful and makes sense.
Critics questioned the expert’s preference for “Western-style breakfasts”, and some even slammed him for being xenocentric. As eating porridge for breakfast is seen as a long-standing tradition for Chinese people, some netizens argued Zhang’s preference for Western breakfasts showed his xenophilia.
“I don’t think the suggestion is useful because not all kids like such Western-style breakfasts.” commented one Weibo user.
“If he is not xenocentric, why did he advocate Westerners’ breakfast so much to replace the food that most Chinese people have become used to eating in their lives?” was a typical comment in the discussions on Sina Weibo.
However, many netizens agreed that people should take in the expert’s suggestion from a professional perspective, and not turn it into a moral judgment. Others criticized the misinterpretation of the doctor’s remarks.