Wandering China

An East/West pulse of China's fourth rise from down under.

Clamor for gold medals still loud and clear [Global Times]

As the Olympic Games draw to a rousing finish, Chinese state media opines to the Chinese public: Keep focused on the big picture, and, not ‘care too much about a few grudge Internet posts’ against the Chinese excessive worship of gold medals.

On its description of ‘a few‘ it is worth noting that more than 84% of China’s 550 million internet users are ‘creators’, active posters on social networking sites at least once a month. Conversely, just a quarter of  American and European social media users are classified as ‘creators’. Most are ‘spectators’ – passive users who read other posts but do not post their own, at 76% and 69% respectively (Source – Social Skinny).

That sure is an interesting take on the democratision potential of the Internet and its impact on seeding new dimensions of individuality on the collectivism of the Chinese.

So in context, while China’s internet users may only make up a little more than a third of the population in its current state of 50% urbanisation, more than 400 million of them are actively joining in conversations in a public sphere 2.0 on a scale the world has not seen yet. That number itself  is larger than the population of most countries.

Increasingly, what is undoubtedly clear – is that China has surely way gone past its singular homogenous voice of old.

– – –

Clamor for gold medals still loud and clear
Source – Global Times, published August 8, 2012

Do Olympic gold medals have a stigma attached to them? Does the Chinese public no longer cherish hard-won Olympic medals? The answers are no. And even as domestic media is abuzz with criticism of the “national sports system,” few believe it should be scrapped immediately.

It is true that this Olympic Games has been viewed from a variety of perspectives by domestic audiences. Some hold that the funds invested in athletes’ training and preparation should be used for public welfare. Some worry that China’s dominance over several events may reduce the popularity of the sports. When Chinese badminton duo players Yu Yang and Wang Xiaoli were disqualified, opinions toward the IOC’s decision were polarized.

There is indeed opposition against excessive worship of gold medals. But such voices don’t dominate public opinion. Just look at the public’s reaction to Sun Yang’s two gold medals in swimming, which caused a sensation. After swimmer Ye Shiwen was questioned over her speed, there was a strong backlash against the unfounded allegations. For Chinese media, the existence of both views is natural. The Internet, especially Weibo, has amplified a few extreme voices. The media, faced with cut-throat competition, may highlight sensational viewpoints or stress conflict to grab attention. But among TV audiences, few are against seeing Chinese athletes winning gold medals. The negative comments about Olympic gold medals don’t stand for the majority, nor do they suggest a drop in Chinese patriotism. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Collectivism, Culture, Democracy, Domestic Growth, global times, Government & Policy, Influence, Internet, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Olympics, Public Diplomacy, Social, Sport, The Chinese Identity, , , ,

Liu Xiang falls on London Olympic debut [China Daily]

The iconic Liu Xiang shows resilience in completing the race despite falling at the first hurdle.

I was a hurdler once in secondary school. To fall at the first hurdle is crushing.

The 110m hurdle event is visually, for the athlete – one of the toughest track and field challenges. At the starting blocks, all one sees is a uniform sea of white with slivers of red track ahead. It’s a wholly different perspective from being part of the spectator stands. It is a race of technique, form and grace. Each athlete trains to an absolute number of strides to clear each hurdle – it needs precision like clockwork. So the event is as much about tactics, technique and really, thinking and being a gazelle.

To clear the first hurdle lays the pulse to tick down the game plan for the rest of the race. And at the starting blocks, I can only imagine the weight of a nation’s expectations on those shoulders.

“He was definitely crushed under the pressure of the nation…”  Liu Chuang, Chinese student from Ningbo, Zhejiang province

This article goes on to show how much the Chinese love their sporting emblem.


Liu Xiang hit by two-time injury-worry before London Olympics (Xinhua, August 7, 2012)

Other headlines from around the world:

Melbourne  – Great bawl of China: hero falls at first hurdle (The Age, August 8, 2012)

London – London 2012 hurdles: Liu Xiang of China crashes out of Olympics (BBC, August 8, 2012)

New York – Chinese Hurdler Tripped Up Again (New York Times, August 7, 2012)

– – –

Liu Xiang falls on London Olympic debut
by Chen Xiangfeng
Source – China Daily, published August 8, 2012

Liu Xiang crashes into the first barrier in the opening heat of the 110m hurdles in London on Tuesday. In a poignant and brave gesture Liu picks himself up, and despite being injured, hops to the last hurdle and kisses it. To the roar of the crowd Liu then embraces his waiting rivals who help him from the track. (Photos by Cui Meng / China Daily, AP and Xinhua)

At least this time, Liu Xiang got to run. Of course, it was only for a few steps, and the result was the same — an early exit from the Olympics and an exceedingly disappointed nation.

China’s track and field star again saw his gold-medal hopes dashed prematurely, as he hammered into the top of the first barrier with his lead leg and tumbled to the ground in the first heat of the 110m hurdles at the London Games on Tuesday.

The former Olympic and world champion picked himself up slowly, not daring to put his injured right foot on the ground, and hopped into the tunnel. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: China Daily, Chinese Model, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Nationalism, Olympics, Public Diplomacy, Sport, The Chinese Identity, , ,

Aussie coaches defend Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen’s feats [News.com.au]

An amazing feat by a young Chinese swimmer is sure dividing opinion. From doping allegations to human interest stories and it’s certainly bringing out some of the polarities still divisive in the global village.

I wonder how a sixteen year old views all this – an act of sporting excellence that becomes an unfortunate tool for reinforcing walls of bias.

For more, see

CNN – China’s ‘incredible’ Ye denies doping allegations (July 31, 2012)

BBC – China swimmer: Netizens leap to Ye Shiwen’s defence (July 31, 2012)

Guardian – Ye Shiwen row: Chinese Olympic swimmer passes doping test (July 31, 2012) – video with British Olympic Association chairman Colin Moynihan saying World Anti-Doping Agency has passed Ye Shiwen as clean, ‘end of story‘.

– – –

Aussie coaches defend Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen’s feats
Paul Kent
Source – News.com.au, published August 1, 2012

Chinese schoolgirl Shiwen Ye, 16, has set tongues wagging at the London Olympics after her phenomenal swim in the 400m individual medley. Photo: AP

Chinese swimming sensation Shiwen Ye has claimed another gold medal just hours after her father hit out at critics who have suggested her amazing performances have been assisted by doping.

Sixteen-year-old schoolgirl Ye shattered Stephanie Rice’s 400 individual medley record earlier this week, snapping more than a second off the old mark as she steamrolled her way to gold.

And she claimed a second win on Wednesday morning when she took out the final of the 200m individual medley, edging out another Australian, Alicia Coutts on her way to an Olympic record time. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Communications, Culture, Ethnicity, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Olympics, Peaceful Development, Sport, The Chinese Identity, , ,

Why NOT make Olympic uniforms in China? [CNN]

Wow. Designed in the US and produced in China makes for contention; when it comes to Olympic uniforms. What happens if the Chinese turn knee-jerk protectionist too? This CNN article provides a level-headed look at the reality of global production networks – ‘Our economic relationship with China, characterized by transnational supply chains and disaggregated production sharing, is more collaborative than competitive.’

– – –

Why NOT make Olympic uniforms in China?
by Daniek J. Ikenson, special to CNN
Source – CNN, published July 15, 2012

Editor’s note: Daniel Ikenson directs the libertarian Cato Institute’s Herbert A. Stiefel Center for Trade Policy Studies.

(CNN) — Patriotism, it has been said, is the last refuge of scoundrels. Indeed, with 86% of the American public disapproving of Congress’ performance, refuge-seeking politicians have wrapped themselves in the flag to denounce the fact that the U.S. Olympic team’s uniforms were manufactured in China.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said he was “so upset … they should take all the uniforms, put them in a big pile and burn them and start all over again.” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, clucked of the Olympic committee at a news conference that “You’d think they’d know better.”

To prevent such abominations in the future, six Democratic senators plan to introduce the “Team USA Made in America Act of 2012″ next week. According to co-sponsor Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-New York, the legislation will mandate that “(f)rom head to toe, Team U.S.A. must be made in America.” (The U.S. Olympic Committee announced Friday that it was too late to remake the uniforms for the London Games, but said the U.S. clothing for the 2014 Winter Games would be made in the U.S.) Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Influence, International Relations, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Olympics, Soft Power, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Trade, U.S., , ,

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