Justin Qiang, also known as Qiang Ba Ren Zeng, has become the first Tibetan to sign a professional baseball contract.
The 16-year-old catcher has penned a deal with Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States, joining the Boston Red Sox.
He was signed for a $10,000 bonus and will play in the Red Sox’ instructional league in Fort Myers, Florida, next month.
“He’s an athletic kid and intelligent,” said Red Sox assistant general manager Eddie Romero.
Qiang was spotted by area scout Louie Lin who then tipped-off Brett Ward, the Red Sox’ Pacific Rim supervisor.
Qiang has represented China at international events, where Tibet is identified as an autonomous region.
He took part at the MLB Academy in Chinese city Nanjing.
After being banned during Chairman Mao’s “Cultural Revolution” in the 1960s, baseball began to make its resurgence in China when the country was awarded the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.
Tibet was incorporated into the People’s Republic of China in 1950, though independence movements remain active there.
By Declan McSweeney
Republished with permission from insidethegames.biz.