The story that China was so desperate to find Li Na that it launched two searches for her

Oh, you’ve got an international news-breaking story, an evolving mystery, mounting mass hysteria over a missing tennis star … oh, you said nothing about China?

I’m afraid you just missed the biggest sports story this week.

In case you were anything but the only one who missed it, Sports Illustrated reporter Tom Farrey told an odd story Tuesday about a missing tennis star:

“The Chinese government is having trouble locating and formally determining the whereabouts of its fallen hero, pro-tennis star Li Na, according to informed sources with direct knowledge of the case,” Farrey wrote.

Li, Farrey wrote, was one of the country’s biggest cheerleaders in an international competition when she was the lighthearted host in Zagreb, Croatia, last week. Her knowledge of the match’s outcome was particularly acute, Farrey said, since she usually knows the winner before the end of each tie.

Apparently the knock-off version of Li Na being a top tennis star and host wasn’t enough for the People’s Republic of China, as it scrambled to ensure Li was alive.

“More than a dozen people with direct knowledge of the situation offered distinct examples of the authorities’ attempts to find Li, including medical teams dispatched to various cities near her home in northern China, including the seaside city of Tianjin, where she lived until shortly before the tournament,” Farrey wrote.

The official China Daily newspaper also went to the waterworks for Li’s sake.

The paper released its own research on Thursday, using some footage of Li from the recent Davis Cup, though with the court used for her cameo in Russia looking a lot different.

“In the last two days there have been several efforts made by the Chinese government to look for Li, but with no success yet,” the paper said, citing one of its sources.

This is Chinese news, not a Google search:

Well, welcome to the information age. That, at any rate, is what one might conclude from this story in the course of a single day.

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