Wandering China

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

Sun crowned “distance freestyle king” with golden treble [Xinhua] #RisingChina #Sports

Sun Yang 孙杨 is a Chinese Olympic and world-record-holding distance swimmer.  At the last Olympic Games, Sun was one of two male swimmers to win two individual titles, the other being American swimmer Michael Phelps.

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Sun crowned “distance freestyle king” with golden treble
By Li Jia, sports writer
Source – Xinhua, published August 4, 2013

China's Sun Yang reacts after the final of the men's 1500-metre freestyle swimming competition in the FINA World Championships in Barcelona on Aug. 4, 2013. Sun Yang won the 3rd gold of World Championship with 1,500 meter freestyle triumph. Photo - Xinhua by Xie Haining

China’s Sun Yang reacts after the final of the men’s 1500-metre freestyle swimming competition in the FINA World Championships in Barcelona on Aug. 4, 2013. Sun Yang won the 3rd gold of World Championship with 1,500 meter freestyle triumph. Photo – Xinhua by Xie Haining

BEIJING, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) — Chinese star swimmer Sun Yang has become the new king of distance freestyle swimming as he completed a hat-trick of world titles after winning the 1,500m final with a commanding performance at the world championships on Sunday.

Sun collected the 400m, 800m and 1,500 free golds at Barcelona, matching a feat previously achieved only by Australian Grant Hackett in the 2005 Montreal Worlds.

On Sunday, the 21-year-old won the final in 14 minutes 41.15 seconds, with Canada’s Ryan Cochrane 1.33 seconds back for silver and Italy’s Gregorio Paltrinieri 4.22 adrift in third.

Click here to read the full article at Xinhua. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Dream, Domestic Growth, Ethnicity, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Nationalism, Peaceful Development, People, Public Diplomacy, Sport, The Chinese Identity, xinhua

Reds link up with CCB #Football #Soccer #ManchesterUnited #ChinaConstructionBank #China #Finance [Manchester United Official Site]

Public Diplomacy and foreign policy mileage while leveraging an eager domestic audience: China’s increasing love for football solidifies further with China Construction Bank (founded 1954 turned commercial in 1994, listed on the HKSE since 2005) on a three-year sponsorship gig with Manchester United, the English Premier League’s most successful club. Anyone watching EPL games recently would have noted most advertising hoardings have already been dominated by Chinese companies in the past two to three years.

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Reds link up with CCB
Source – Manchester United official site, published January 15, 2013

Image Source - Manchester United official site

Image Source – Manchester United official site

Manchester United has today (15 January) agreed a three-year sponsorship with one of China’s most prominent banking groups, China Construction Bank (CCB).

As part of the agreement, United’s first with a Chinese bank, CCB will hold the rights exclusively to produce the official Manchester United branded credit card in mainland China.

The CCB Manchester United Credit Card is set to be popular with the club’s fans in China, offering them a range of exciting benefits, including various club-related incentives. CCB will be marketing the card to its almost 102 million personal banking customers in mainland China. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Culture, Economics, Europe, Influence, International Relations, Lifestyle, Peaceful Development, Public Diplomacy, Soft Power, Sport, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.K., , , , ,

Empty Nest Syndrome for Post-Olympics Beijing [Caixin Online]

From Beijing-based media group Caixin Online, a Chinese attempt to revitalise traditional media through integrated media platforms in reaching out to international audiences.

Roughly translated to Financial News and described as a muckracker by the Wall Street Journal, its partner centre is the Global Times): This almost self-reflexive piece considers the price of projecting national image through sporting infrastructure spec-ed for global mindshare and participation, a problem China does not share alone.

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Empty Nest Syndrome for Post-Olympics Beijing
Beijing’s iconic Bird’s Nest stadium and Water Cube exemplify the high price paid to satisfy Olympic building dreams
By staff reporter Wang Yuqian
Source – Caixin Online, October 3, 2012

China’s national stadium. Source – Caixin, 2012

(Beijing) – First-time visitors to China’s National Stadium, or Bird’s Nest, are usually amazed by the grandeur and grace of this historic centerpiece built for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing.

But for many Beijing residents, the Bird’s Nest is little more than a curious venue for a hodgepodge of infrequent recreational events and pop music concerts.

The stadium that seats 90,000 and cost 3.6 billion yuan hosted only a dozen events last year. Moneymakers included the Italian Super Cup football match, a stopover by athletes with the TTR World Snowboard Tour and a Rock Records 30th anniversary concert.

It was otherwise quiet except for tour groups and skiers and skaters who reveled in the manmade snow and ice that covered the field of the enclosed stadium every winter since 2010.

Yet the Bird’s Nest is relatively busy compared with other stadiums built for the Olympics in Beijing. Most are struggling to meet financial targets due to weak revenues from their main money sources – tourists and special events leasing.

An exception is the Water Cube, which hosted swimming events during the 2008 Olympics. Lin Xianpeng, a management professor at Beijing Sport University, said post-games revenues at the Water Cube have been “remarkable” if compared to other sports venues across the country.

Nationwide, only about one-third of all major sports venues break even every year, according to a Beijing Sports University report released last year. The rest lost a combined 280 million yuan in 2010 alone.

According to the National Audit Office, China splashed out nearly 19.5 billion yuan for new buildings, 36 venue renovations and 66 training centers to prepare for the 2008 games.

State agencies provided financial support based on the argument that civic pride attached to dramatic sports halls is worth the cost. But most private investors have steered clear.

Shrinking Ticket Sales

The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube, which occupy opposite sides of a giant square, are Beijing landmarks that attract busloads of tourists from near and far every day.

But the public’s passion for the Olympics held four years ago has been wearing off: The number of stadium visitors fell 40 percent in 2010 from the previous year, and another 30 percent year-on-year in 2011, BSAM Chairman Li Aiqing told the official People’s Daily last August.

Visits to the Water Cube have also declined, said Yang Qiyong, deputy general manager of National Aquatics Center Co. Ltd., the venue’s manager. Only 2.08 million people visited last year, down around 30 percent from the year before.

The Bird’s Nest “is definitely a must-go” for capital city tourists “but a glimpse from outside is enough,” said Ran Wenlan, a 61-year-old visitor to Beijing who lives in Chongqing.

Ran refused to buy a 50-yuan ticket for a chance to walk inside the structure, but peeked inside from outside a fence and took a photo from a pedestrian overpass nearby.

Indeed, tourist ticket sales account for a large but shrinking proportion of annual income for the Bird’s Nest. It provided up to 90 percent of the funds soon after the Olympics but fell to 42 percent in 2011, in part because revenue from other channels increased.

The stadium now has more than 500 licensed products on sale, which since 2008 have brought in more than 6 million yuan.

But the revenue pales in comparison with the stadium’s steep annual maintenance costs.

Source – Caixin, 2012

The Bird’s Nest spends about 80 million yuan a year maintaining the facility, Li said.

The Water Cube faces a similarly heavy burden: Yang said its 88 million yuan in revenues last year failed to cover costs topping 99 million yuan. Some 58 percent of the venue’s expenditures last year were tied to labor costs, which have been rising, and utility bills, Yang said.

The Bird’s Nest and Water Cube are also burdened with debts from their construction projects and post-Olympics renovations designed to prepare them for commercial functions.

“If not for debt servicing, both venues could have made a profit,” Lin said.

Beijing’s experience is not unique. Maintaining sports venues after an Olympics is a headache in host cities worldwide.

Athens, site of the 2004 Olympic Games, built 22 stadiums. All but one has been abandoned amid the country’s economic turmoil. With walls now covered by graffiti, these venues still cost US$ 124 million every year to maintain.

Commercial Flop

The Beijing municipal government hoped to minimize construction and maintenance cost of these stadiums by recruiting private investors.

Through a system referred to as the Public-Private-Partnership, a consortium led by the state-run investment firm CITIC Group won a tender in 2002 to build the Bird’s Nest.

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Beijing OIympics, Caixin, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Domestic Growth, Economics, Finance, Influence, Mapping Feelings, Media, Modernisation, Nationalism, Public Diplomacy, Social, Sport, The Chinese Identity, , , , , ,

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.

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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)

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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‘.

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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, , ,

Jeremy Lin Said to Be in Talks to Endorse Volvo in China [Bloomberg]

Linsanity’s‘ Chinese ethnicity translates to Volvo endorsement deal? With 2.47 million followers on his microblog, the bilingual Lin is reported here to be the key to doubling sales to 800,000 vehicles in the 10 years to 2020.

In other news on Lin, check out Jeremy Lin Undergoing Trademark Issues With Chinese Sports Company (Christian Post, Feb 27, 2012)

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Jeremy Lin Said to Be in Talks to Endorse Volvo in China

Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks basketball player who surged in popularity this year, is in talks on an endorsement deal with Zhejiang Geely Holding Group Co (GEELZ).’s Volvo Cars, three people familiar with the matter said.

An agreement may be announced soon and would result in the 23-year-old former Harvard University player endorsing Volvo cars in China, two of the people said, asking not to be identified because the discussions are private. The two sides are in advanced negotiations after having reached a preliminary agreement, they said.

Resale prices of Knicks games and television ratings have surged after Lin came off the bench to lead his team to a seven- game winning streak last month. The point guard, who was cut twice by other teams, is the first Chinese- or Taiwanese American to play in the National Basketball Association and was on the cover of Sports Illustrated for two straight weeks. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Bloomberg, Charm Offensive, Chinese Model, Chinese overseas, Culture, Influence, Jeremy Lin, Overseas Chinese, People, Public Diplomacy, Sport, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, U.S.

‪Real Madrid VS 109 kids in GuangZhou China‬‏ [Youtube]

Currently standing at almost 2.6 million views on Youtube, here we have 109 Chinese kids versus Spanish football team Real Madrid at an Adidas event in Guangzhou.The final score? Real Madrid 2 – Chinese Kids 1

Filed under: Economics, Lifestyle, Social, Sport, Youtube

Opening ceremony starts for Shenzhen Universiade [China Daily])

The Chinese have been hard at work engaged in peoples’ diplomacy through global sporting event,s an international relations and nationalistic win-win.. And it seems like a bright idea too on two fronts, catch the world’s future leaders whilst they are young-erm, leave a favourable mental imprint of the middle kingdom and two, show the world they are capable of hosting events of a unifying sort. This is the third Universiade China has hosted since 2001.

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Opening ceremony starts for Shenzhen Universiade
Source – China Daily, published August 12, 2011

Source – China Daily

SHENZHEN – Host China sent its biggest-ever Universiade delegation to Shenzhen where the opening ceremony of the 26th Summer Universiade is going on Friday evening.

The Chinese delegation is of 804 members, including 505 athletes from 110 universities and colleges. They are to compete in all the 24 sports and are expected to win medals in women’s football, women’s volleyball, table tennis, badminton, shooting, diving, weightlifting and archery.

The star-studded Chinese delegation includes Beijing Olympics champion Qin Kai, Lin Yue, Huo Liang, He Chong, Chen Ruolin and world champion He Zi. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Chinese Model, Culture, Domestic Growth, Education, Environment, Influence, International Relations, Medicine, Nationalism, People, Politics, Population, Public Diplomacy, Resources, Shenzhen Universiade 2011, Soft Power, Sport, Strategy, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities, Uncategorized

New breed: China’s stylish new winners [China Daily]

Representing China’s charm offensive on the sporting front.

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New breed: China’s stylish new winners
Source – China Daily, published June 19, 2011

Li Na shares a joke with reporters after her Australian Open final defeat by Kim Clijsters, January 2011 file photo. Photo – Xinhua

Chinese star power on the courts, pool and track is making the world sit up and applaud. These modern-day sports celebrities are not afraid to show off their individuality compared to their determinedly anonymous predecessors of a couple of decades ago. Sun Xiaochen and Yu Yilei put this new phenomenon under the microscope.

When Li Na took the microphone from Jean Gachassin, president of the French Open, during the award ceremony, the packed audience at Court Philippe Chatrier held its breath. They were waiting for the newly crowned French Open winner and China’s first Grand Slam champion to speak, expecting one of her colorful and sometimes unexpected spiels. Fresh from her epic victory over defending champion Francesca Schiavone of Italy, Li Na delivered. She thanked sponsors, tournament director, linemen, chair umpire and her team in English and even added a birthday greeting in the Wuhan dialect for a friend sitting in the stands with her husband.

She wrapped it up by thanking her growing legion of fans, which drew the loudest applause from the international crowd. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Beijing Consensus, Charm Offensive, China Daily, Culture, Domestic Growth, Influence, Media, People, Population, Public Diplomacy, Social, Soft Power, Sport, The Chinese Identity, The construction of Chinese and Non-Chinese identities

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