That drew a range of responses from other Chinese bloggers, from those who called her "disgusting" and questioning why she wanted "to join the world's biggest mafia?" and was "boarding the wrong boat" to others who wrote "congrats," ''impressive," ''very good."
She sounded embarrassed when asked why she joined — again, clearly trying not to put a foot wrong.
"Why? I ... I ... How to say? It's all good," she said.
If Qieyang was keeping her real feelings to herself — and it was impossible to know — Tibetans who turned out in support found it hard to believe that she might be happy competing for China, even though she certainly seemed to be.
"For her, I can understand it's a difficult situation. I imagine that the Chinese have given her threats of all sorts. I would think she is brainwashed or forced to do this. There's not much choice for Tibetans in Tibet," said Yangchen Kikhang, a Tibetan born in India.
"As an individual, we are proud of her, but that she is representing China, I'm not happy," she said.
Still, she cheered Qieyang and consoled herself with this thought.
"Inside her head," she said, "she probably thinks she is Tibetan."
Associated Press writers Ashwini Bhatia and Didi Tang contributed.
John Leicester is an international sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at jleicester(at)ap.org or follow him at http://twitter.com/johnleicester
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