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Ye Shiwen, the 16 year old dreamy girl superstar, and the ugly world

As a sports enthusiast, I follow a lot of less known athletes, of which some eventually became superstars, but far more just faded.  A superstar example was Liu Xiang.  I started following him in 2002 after he clocked 13.12” at age 19.  It takes knowledge and experience to link up 13.12” and 19, and figure out the potentiality – or quite frankly just a lot of time waste nurturing a hobby.

The first time I watched Ye Shiwen swimming in a live race on TV, was the 200 meter Individual Medley (IM) in the 2011 FINA World Championships held in Shanghai.  I had started following Ye Shiwen since 2010 but had never actually watched her swim.  In the 2010 Asian Games, she won 3 gold medals and ended the year ranking #1 in 200m IM, and #2 in 400m IM in the world.  2010 was in the middle of two Olympic Games, and sometimes the rankings don’t mean nearly as much as in an Olympic year – but she was only 14!

After 150 meter, Ye was either #4 or #5.  I thought to myself, geez just another flash in the pan, another one-hit wonder.  You know, China had plenty of those, because sometimes coaches push youngsters so hard, many of them peak out way too early and you can’t blindly put your faith in their future…  Then something strange happened – Ye started speeding up in the last 50 meter freestyle swimming, and passing her competitors one by one as if she was gliding through the water.   She won the race and claimed the best textile time ever (in short, time made outside of the tech-suit era).

For some reason, she then reminded me of Janet Evans, whose swim gave me the same impression of gliding through the water.  As I knew Ye more, she was just like Janet Evans.  She has that Evans-like boyish haircut, smooth and glowing skin, disarming and radiant smile, feminine and slender body, and especially that sunny and care-free disposition.  She thanked her parents every time she won.  She talked about loving to shop in Taobao, and dreaming about going to Disneyland in Hong Kong again.  Much like Evans being the “American sweetheart” then, Ye is the “Chinese sweetheart”.  She is everybody’s sister, daughter or grand-daughter.  To borrow a line from Obama, if I had a daughter, she’d look just like Ye Shiwen – or at least I wish.

By now you probably already know the rest.  She won 2 gold medals in the London Olympic Games by sizeable margins, and there have been insinuations that her winnings are not because of her talent, and hard work, but rather doping.  By my count, a long list of Western media outlets, mostly American and British ones, i.e. NBC, New York Times, Washington Post, BBC, Telegraph, etc. and an army of online sites,  have been all over her.  Mind you she has been tested many times and always clean.   But…… so had been Marion Jones, or even Lance Armstrong.  I agree that you can’t ascertain one never doped just because s/he was tested clean.  So whatever is accused of Ye Shiwen can equally and quite possibly more rationally be put on a lot of superstar swimmers whom I’d rather not name.  However, I will address a few misconceptions here:

 

Ye came from nowhere.

Ye ranked #1/#2, #1/#3 in 200m/400m IM in 2010 and 2011 respectively.

 

Ye improved her time by 7 seconds in a year.  Nobody improves that fast.

First, here is the table of Ye’s times since 2010:

Year 2010 2011 2012
Major Meet Asian Games FINA World Championship London Olympics
Held time November July July/August
Height 1.65m 1.68m 1.72m
200m IM @ Major Meet 2:09.37 2:08.90 2:07.57
400m IM @ Major Meet 4:33.79 4:35.15 4:28.43
200m IM annual best 2:09.37 2:08.90 2:07.57
400m IM annual best 4:33.79 4:33.66 4:28.43

The “7 seconds” improvement (actually 6.72 second improvement) is the 400m IM improvement over the last major meet in 2011, during which Ye by her own account underperformed as a 15 year old then in her first major world meet.  The improvement over her previous personal best, is 5.23 second, which is a 1.9% improvement in one year.  It’s hardly rare, let alone unprecedented for a 16 year old.  Ruta Meilutyte, a 15 year old Lithuanian girl, won the gold in 100 meter breaststroke and improved her personal best by 4.0% in the same London Olympics.

Also notice that Ye has grown from 1.65m in 11/2010 to 1.72m in 7/2012.  The girl is still growing, and a 1.9% improvement is too much?!

 

Ye swam faster than the fastest man Ryan Lochte!  How is it biologically possible?

What this is really about, is that Ye swan 28.93” in the last 50 meters of her 400m IM race, and Lochte won the gold in the same event by swimming the last 50 meters in 29.10”.  Impossible, right?

First, Lochte’s 400m IM time was 4:05.18, overall  23.25″ faster than Ye in the same event.

Second, Lochte didn’t even swim the top 3 fastest last 50 meters in his own race.  Yuya Horihata had the fastest last 50 meters, in 27.87”.  Of course, Ye swan the last 50 meters only 1.06” slower than the fastest last 50-meter swimming in the same men’s event, doesn’t sound nearly as impossible.

Third, 28.93” isn’t even the fastest women split in a long-distance swim.  Rebecca Adlington swan the last 50 meters in 28.91” after 750 meters (compared to Ye’s 350 meters) in 800m freestyle of the 2011 FINA World Championship.

 

The Final Word

A lot has been said about this 16 year old girl.  There are some real head scratchers out there.  John Leonard, the “highly respected” American director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, suggested that Ye should be tested for “genetic manipulation”.  That’s somewhere between crazy, and the R word – Retarded.  He also stated, “any time someone has looked like Superwoman in the history of our sport they have later been found guilty of doping.”  By “superwoman”, since unlike most uninformed folks out there Leonard should know Ye’s improvement isn’t all that impressive, does he mean the margin of the victory?  If that’s the metric, I don’t  think Janet Evans, Inge de Bruijin, Rebecca Adlington, Kristy Coventry, Rebecca Soni, etc. have been found doping, unless Leonard knows something the public doesn’t.  Or unless, I hate to use the R word, the idea of doping and Superwoman is only applicable to the Restricted type.

In a way, it’s the ugly world we are in, and the people we have to live with.  Ye Shiwen, the dreamy 16 year old Chinese sweetheart, don’t you ever look back.  Dream big, swim big and live a big life.  That is your biggest revenge on those small people.

[Editor’s note]

  • perspectivehere made an excellent point in this comment regarding taking Ye’s improvement in proper context.

 

  1. July 31st, 2012 at 23:12 | #1

    Indeed, Jxie, Ye’s revenge to these small people is to dream big, swim big, and live big!

    (I am at the Seoul airport as a stop-over towards the U.S..)

    For those who bought into the American and British press over this defamation, they should ask themselves why would they do it in the face of no evidence, and especially if they hadn’t question Phelps mountain of medals at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

  2. pug_ster
    July 31st, 2012 at 23:44 | #2

    In 2008 there was the ‘scandal’ of the Chinese women’s gymnasts and now this. Many of these American Athletes are cocky and think that winning metals is their birthright. Now Chinese Swimmers are ‘invading’ American’s turf, they are crying over spilled milk. Seriously, some of these American Coaches and athletes have no class.

    I was hoping that the IOC announcing that she is clean would clear all doubts amongst Western Propaganda. Apparently, NY times just won’t give it a rest.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/01/sports/olympics/chinese-swimmer-wins-again-as-doping-questions-persist.html

  3. August 1st, 2012 at 01:03 | #3

    Great post jxie.

    I don’t know how people distort stories based on zero evidence, zero smoke. I was looking at Michael Phelp’s records on wikipedia, and a cursory glance shows that Phelps did improve substantially during a comparable part of his career (e.g. ages 14-17).

    I’m not an expert on swimming, but Ye’s improvements is definitely within the range of great athletes – not drug abusers.

    Shame on the sour grape defamers…

  4. watcher
    August 1st, 2012 at 02:45 | #4

    I saw both of her races. She was incredible. Such power and speed in the final leg.

    I agree with Arne Ljungqvist (although his comments are a bit understated), medical commission chief for the IOC:
    “For me, it is very sad that an unexpected performance is surrounded by suspicions,” he told a briefing.
    “I mean to raise suspicion immediately when you see an extraordinary performance – to me it is against the fascination of sport.”
    “To suspect someone for having done something because he performed extraordinarily is a bit sad for Olympic sport.”
    (from the telegraph)

    Her first swim was incredible, but I think the second was more impressive. Why? Because she was able to perform like that and was unaffected by all the other stuff going on around her. That’s the mark of a truly great athlete. I wish her the greatest success in the remainder of her races.

  5. Sleeper
    August 1st, 2012 at 03:54 | #5

    Really happy to see a hostile West. Their bias could not only kill the dream of whom believe a “savior west” to China but also ultimately defeat themselves. While after surviving from hostile contact, China will grow much better and stronger.

    Someone says “democratic nations require enemies (or even create enemies) for their own development”. So are we.

  6. pug_ster
    August 1st, 2012 at 05:01 | #6

    One thing that the Western propaganda didn’t stress is how serious China is when it comes to swimming. Although China’s delegation is 380, which is less than 2008, 51 of them are swimmers, which is more than 49 from the US. They already got more metals in swimming than they have in 2008. China has completely revamped its training program for its Chinese swimmers. Ye Shiwen got picked in an early age and trained in other countries like Australia instead traditionally from China. We will definitely see more Chinese metal which is more than what Americans are getting used to.

  7. watcher
    August 1st, 2012 at 05:40 | #7

    It’s such a shame that now, when people see an incredible performance, and see an athlete completely destroy the competition, they often think of doping.

    Just the other week, there were rumours about the British Sky team that won the Tour de France. And loads of other top athletes have been accused of doping: I remember lots of accusations of doping in the media regarding Thorpe, and Phelps has recently been accused of doping.

    Why? Because athletes from countries all around the world get caught doping all the time. Which country hasn’t had its no doping scandals? If international sporting events could go maybe 10 years or so without finding any athlete doping, then maybe, just maybe, people would start to forget the doping scandals that have plagued these competitions for years and would be a little less likely to damn an exceptional performance.

    Looking forward to watching Ye in her coming races.

  8. Zack
    August 1st, 2012 at 09:03 | #8

    “genetic manipulation”
    IS John Leonard fucking high, plain stupid or what?
    let’s see, Ye is 14, meaning Leonard is thinking that back in 1998 we had the technology and the mapping to know what genes to go for an Olympic swimmer, never mind the fact that the human genome wasn’t sequenced until 2000=2003.
    Does Leonard seriously think the Chinese also invented time travel and went back in time and created Olympic Swimmers?
    give me a fucking break.

  9. perspectivehere
    August 1st, 2012 at 10:40 | #9

    @Jxie

    Thanks for doing this post. I would like to amplify one of your points, using concepts that some swimming experts call “swimming proficiency”. The concept is very simple: how fast a person swims his or her own body length determines how fast the swimmer will complete the length of a course. A swimmer with a given level of “swimming proficiency” who grows two inches taller will swim the length of a pool faster.

    You wrote: “Ye improved her time by 7 seconds in a year. Nobody improves that fast.”

    “Also notice that Ye has grown from 1.65m in 11/2010 to 1.72m in 7/2012. The girl is still growing, and a 1.9% improvement is too much?!”

    ****************************
    From 2010 to 2012, Ye grew 0.07m, a height increase of 4.24%. According to the “swimming proficiency” concept, her increased speed of 1.9% can be entirely accounted for by her increase in height.

    The “swimmingpotential.com” website explains how a growing swimmer’s height almost always explains improvements in swimming speed:

    “The best measure of swimming proficiency is how fast you swim your own body length. Everyone knows that as swimmers are growing, thier times come down. Few know that as swimmers are growing, thier swimming proficiency generally stays the same. Thats right, age group swimmers get faster but they generally do not get better…unless they significantly improve training…which the large majority do not. In age group swimming where most swimmers do not significanlty alter training over many years, best times are largely attributed to growth! We can very accurately predict your best time next year if you grow 2 inches. What this all means is that swimming speed is scaleale to body length (height), all other speed factors held constant.”

    http://www.swimmingpotential.com/faq.html

    So actually, it seems that there is nothing unusual or suspicious at all about her increased speed from 2010 to 2012, if she grew 7cm. In fact it is entirely predictable.

  10. Charles Liu
    August 1st, 2012 at 10:48 | #10

    @Zack

    Looks like our sensationalist media has again failed to fact check their source.

    This John Leonard character has a huge credibility problem and all the reports quoting his baseless doping innuendo against Ye neglected the following:

    1) Leonard’s ASCA is a swimming coach certification outfit that’s unaffiliated with the Olympics. Seems ASCA only sells a $20 CD and certificate so coaches can hang something on their walls.

    2) Leonard’s ASCA was implicated in a questionable non-profit scandal recently.

    3) John Leonard is even accused of harboring pedophile coaches.

    Now, this is the kind of person we should believe, over the IOC’s anti-doping regiment (which Ye Shiwen has NEVER ONCE failed in her career)?

    This is He Kexin all over again.

  11. August 1st, 2012 at 11:35 | #11

    Here’s how they present the Chinese swimmers:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181374/Ye-Shiwen–forging-Mandarin-mermaid-How-Chinese-children-brutalised-future-Olympians.html?ITO=socialnet-facebook-dailymail

    However, if you want a more balance point of view. Here’s Lang Lang point of view (in Chinese only though)

    http://big5.ifeng.com/gate/big5/phtv.ifeng.com/program/qqsrx/

  12. Charles Liu
    August 1st, 2012 at 11:40 | #12

    After IOC mandatory drug test cleared Ye, our media is jumping on John Leonard’s “genetic manipulation” accusation against Ye:

    http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&gl=us&tbm=nws&q=Ye+Shiwen+genetic+manipulation

    To register a complaint against John Leonard’s alien technology accusation you can call

    USA Swimming – (719) 866-4578
    ASCA – (800) 356-2722

  13. Charles Liu
    August 1st, 2012 at 12:50 | #13

    In contrast, Monsanto just started modifying the genes of the Irish potato:

    http://www.irishcentral.com/news/Irish-potatoes-to-be-genetically-modified-for-first-time-ever-163992746.html

    And we’re supposed to believe John Leonard that the Chinese perfected it on human 17 years ago? Do the math, Ye is 16 and human gestation period is 9 months (assuming genetically modified humanoid has similar gestation period).

  14. August 1st, 2012 at 17:03 | #14

    What amuses me sometimes is whenever the PED issue is raised, most people immediately talked about the East Germans in the 80s and the Chinese in the 90s. Granted the cases against them were solid, and arguing for them is rather foolish. The eras were certainly dark chapters for the respective countries. However, by far the longest and the largest PED abusing country is no others but the US.

    Carl Lewis once admited that he was tested positive for PED, among “hundreds” of American athletes, and it was covered up. You can imagine an “L.A. Confidential”-like moment within USOC. The public couldn’t be allowed to see the total collapse of the American Olympic machine, so Lewis was made out the hero… but why Canadian Ben Johnson the villain? Well, Johnson was a Jamaican who didn’t seem to be that bright anyway.

    As Lewis’ and some others’ admissions came to light, it was embarrassing enough for the US that it went after the Balco case hard, and it had to have its own former superstar villains, i.e. Marion Jones then and Lance Armstrong now. Personally I applaud the efforts. Equally I applaud the anti-doping efforts by China after its own embarrassment in the 90s. One positive test result, in China nowadays likely you will be banned for life (e.g. Ouyang Kunpeng), and your coaching team will be done as well. Moreover, it’s pretty hard to dope and manage to get away with it — the constant random IOC-administered urine and blood tests, the fact that the test samples are kept for another 8 years… Personally I am cautiously optimistic that American and Chinese Olympic athletes are clean.

    BTW, in this video Dr. Chen claimed that the US started the systematic doping since the 40s. I don’t think it’s that far back. See the following table of swimming medals (% of the total medals) won by Japan and the US:

    OG
    1928-1960
    1964-1976
    1984-2000
    2004-2012

    Japan
    18.1%
    1.3%
    1.3%
    7.7%

    US
    29.6%
    51.6%
    29.7%
    29.5%

    (Note: not including the 1948 Games that Japan didn’t participate, and the 1980 Games both countries boycotted.)

    As you can see the US typically gets about 30% of the total swimming medals other than 1964 to 1976 when it won a staggering 51.6% of the total swimming medals. Japan was doing well until 1960 even with a world war in between. For instance, in 1956 a decade removed from the war, it won 5, compared to 11 by the US, out of total 39 swimming medals.

    My theory is that 1964 to 1976 was the golden PED doping era that the US had almost monopoly power over other nations. Japan, once a swimming powerhouse, all of sudden just couldn’t produce enough top-tier swimmers to match the American super swimmers, despite its living standard was relatively improving vis-a-vis the US.

    However, like all other good times, it never lasted. In the late 70s to early 80s, the Eastern bloc caught on in doping. In the case of East Germany, it was simply ruthless — in 1988 it won 28 swimming medals compared to 18 by the US. Though, the smile of Janet Evans among all doping was a bright spot, much like the smile of Ye Shiwen is among all accusations of doping.

    The Berlin Wall went and the Eastern bloc was no more, but here came the Chinese who caught on the doping scheme in the 90s. The evil Chinese had to be stopped… Eventually they were stopped. How freaking green were they? They actually carried the syringes of the outdated version of dope in their luggage! Once the evil Chinese were stopped, the 50+% good time would be back!

    But, Flo-Jo died. Lewis and Ashford developed their consciences and started talking. All the rest, as they said it, is history. Now for what is worth, is the first time in major international meets since the 60s, the pools are quite possibly clean. Judged by Japan’s 18.1% before the doping all started, I tend to think innately Eastern Asians are as good swimmers as their white peers. In the case of Chinese, if given a decent level of living standard, methinks eventually can win more swimming medals than Americans. It’s already started — Sun Yang and Ye Shiwen are from Hangzhou, a wealthy city by Chinese standard.

  15. Zack
    August 1st, 2012 at 17:18 | #15

    i propose an article on the enduring incipient racism of anglo whites towards Asians, particularly Chinese, that remains current despite attempts at so called politically correctness

  16. August 1st, 2012 at 17:42 | #16

    The haters are despicable cowards. Notice that they are mostly from the US. The US is well known to be the worst at PED offenses, by far, in Olympic style sports. Now they criticize China for an imaginary mote when it has a tested beam in its eye.

  17. pug_ster
    August 1st, 2012 at 18:36 | #17

    Jiao Liuyang won the 200m butterfly with an Olympic Record. I wonder when will NY Times propaganda will do another “How does she do it?” story.

    It seems NY Times propaganda did the same crap 4 years ago.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/16/sports/olympics/16relay.html?n=Olympics/2008/Swimming?ref=swimming&pagewanted=print

  18. alanmd
    August 1st, 2012 at 18:45 | #18

    The “faster than Lochte” statement about the final leg is made more ridiculous because of their differing strategies. Ye’s IM game plan was clearly to save her energy during the first three strokes for a burst of speed in the freestyle, whereas Lochte seemed to be much more even in his efforts. I am sure I’d he had ‘eased off’ in the same way for the first three strokes his freestyle would have been faster than hers.

    An Economist would be very impressed at her Utility maximization through good pacing- easing off just a little at first and sacrificing a little speed for a large energy saving.

  19. colin
    August 1st, 2012 at 22:00 | #19

    This has been a truly ugly episode. Shows how ugly Americans and the west is. And I do mean in general, as no one there has seriously stepped forward and condemned the ridiculous slander of Ye.

    If anyone is watching NBC in the us, you know how biased and even hostile the commentators are. in the men’s gymnastic airing, that bald former gymnast commentator said about an American athlete, “he had his medal STOLEN by the CHINESE in Beijing”. Oh really? I guess he’s the god of gymnastics and can make such proclamations.

    Also, this badminton debacle is over the top. They are demonizing the athletes when the organizers should share a large part of the blame. If strategically losing a match benefits them over the long run, it is completely justified. They are there to win gold, not just a single match. Initially there was some commentary along those lines, but the western media has piled on and suffocated any narrative other than demonizing the athletes.

    The coverage and attitude of the west has been disgusting on these olympics, same as 2008.

    But that china continues to rack up the medals I see as a good proxy for the country’s and Chinese’s continued development and progress, and I am relieved to know that reality is much different and much better than the skewed image the west tries to paint china as.

  20. Zack
    August 1st, 2012 at 23:33 | #20

    makes me sick to know that it is only China’s generosity that the western economies are still breathing right now. If it wasn’t for China, the rest of europe would be at war again because the politicians would need to divert the public’s attention away from the crap economic state of affairs

  21. Zack
    August 2nd, 2012 at 01:29 | #21

    i’ll also add this: most of the American Establishment seem really intent on portraying a narrative of competition with China, because they still believe they can best China, but this belief is fast becoming endangered, hence the resulting insecurity and reaction. It’s a circular logical fallacy representative of the psychology of America’s leaders.

  22. solothinker
    August 2nd, 2012 at 02:24 | #22

    I am a Chinese, and I feel pround of my fellow countrymen in London.

    However, I am a bit upset by the reactions from an overwhelming majority of the Chinese netizens —- Wetern prejudices, theory of conspiracy, sour grapes, and so forth. Let’s look at Shiwen’s case from the following 2 perspectives:

    1. The ‘men biting dogs’ line is in the intrinsic nature of western jounalism. In this case, how could you expect the western media to paint rosy picture of China? Given the legacy of enduring cold war that is still very much engrained in the mind of the west, and given the notorious de-humanizing state-supported system of mass producing sports talents, it is only natural that the western media would find it convenient to single out Shiwen, rather than picking Phelps up for questioning. Therefore I would never blame the media for their biased ‘interrogation’, because it is their job to sensationalize issues and as a public figure you just have to take it.

    2. I am not sure why there is such a public outrage over this issue in China. For me, all the information about Shiwen’s innocence is from two sources: 1) doping inspection results from London and the official Chinese media. For the official doping inspection, mind you, the fact is the there are far more doping technologies nowadays in the lab or market than inspection measures that are available and that can keep abreast of the former. 2) official media or statements from China. Mind you again here, do you really trust them, given loads of misinformation during the past few years, issues such as food security?

    To put it in a nutshell: I don’t like the portait by western media in Shiwen’s case, but I would fully respect their right to do so. And I would not jump to conclusions just like those ‘angry youth’ do back home, who are simply incapable of independent and critical thinking. In the same manner, I would always give Shiwen the benefit of doubt, and take pride in her achievement, until I have been proven wrong.

  23. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 03:05 | #23

    @colin

    Colin, over here (UK) a lot of officials, commentators and athletes have come out in defence of Ye.

    There was the accusation from the American coach, so the media ran with it. There was another accusation from a Chinese coach (regarding Phelps) and they ran with that too.

    Lots of top athletes get accused of doping. Bradley Wiggins (who just won the time trial) was hounded by accusations throughout the whole Tour de France (which he went on to win). Getting back to swimming: Phelps has been accused of doping many times and so too was Thorpe.

    One thing I don’t get is how doping bans can be so short:

    Vinokourov won the road race, but he had been previously been caught doping and served a ban of only two years!

    Li Zhesi (Ye Shiwen’s teammate) got caught doping recently and according to China Daily she might be able to compete in the nationals next year!

    How can bans that short be any kind of deterrent?

  24. August 2nd, 2012 at 06:31 | #24

    @watcher

    You need some perspective on this. Yes, Phelps had some accusations of doping from the western press. But look at the bigger picture. The VAST majority of press coverage of Phelps have been overwhelmingly positive. There is no suspicion in most of the coverage then or now regarding accusations of cheating. But whenever a Chinese athletes performs better, there is bound to be far more accusations in proportion to more positive coverage. Of course some negative coverage is to be expected because China is not the west but accusations of cheating without proof is low even by western journalistic standards.

  25. August 2nd, 2012 at 06:35 | #25

    When melektaus said:

    Of course some negative coverage is to be expected because China is not the west but accusations of cheating without proof is low even by western journalistic standards.

    I think he meant:

    Of course some negative coverage is to be expected because China is not the west but accusations of cheating without proof is low even by [self proclaimed] western journalistic standards.

  26. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 08:02 | #26

    I don’t think just because an article is reporting on someone’s comments it means that they support them (both the unfounded accusations of John Leonard and Chen Zhanghao were reported on here). I read this article just now:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/swimming/9440724/London-2012-Olympics-BOA-chairman-Lord-Moynihan-says-doping-speculation-about-Ye-Shiwen-is-regrettable.html

    The reporter mentions the American coaches comments once and then goes on to list a total of four people who refute his claims and support Ye. So in terms of journalistic standards I think this article is alright.

    Nobody should make accusations without any proof and I think the American and Chinese coaches I mention above are wrong to do so.

    But, like the telegraph article adds, accusations are ‘inevitable.’ I don’t think it should be so.

    It’s a shame that when some people see an incredible athletic performance they immediatley suspect doping. Ye, Thorpe, Phelps and Wiggins have all been subject to doping allegations. But, the nations of all these athletes have been hit by doping scandals. And that’s the way people think. People have long memories for bad deeds.

    It’s a real shame. And I hope that this case will have an effect on the coaches and commentators and perhaps make them less willing to make unfounded accusations in the future.

    I just hope Ye can keep focussed and perform well in her other races.

    Off to watch the judo now.

    L8r

  27. August 2nd, 2012 at 08:08 | #27

    @watcher

    Again, this isn’t about any single article or even about the allegations of doping from the coach. It’s about overall coverage and the media’s decision to report some things, even disreputable things lacking evidence, far more than reputable things. Ye was found to have been tested negative on her drug tests. There is no reason to keep reporting as the media has been that she is under the shadow of doping. She is singled out because of her ethnicity and because of her success. You need to step back and look at the bigger picture.

  28. Sleeper
    August 2nd, 2012 at 08:38 | #28

    @solothinker

    Well, your ideas and thoughts in point 2 and conclusion just remind me of a guy’s main post I’ve read yesterday from tianya:
    http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/funinfo/1/3517811.shtml

    It’s hard to understand that you set your expectation of “being proven wrong” at the beginning. I don’t think that putting faith in anything is representation of “incapable of independent and critical thinking”.

    But, if you’re a pure skeptic, I respect your rights of doubting anything and everything.

  29. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 08:48 | #29

    @melektaus

    Gemma Gibbons got silver in the judo. Go GB!

    Meletkaus, I get that this isn’t about just one article. But, there’s more to this story than just the original allegation. The reason it’s still in the media is because there are so many angles to the story. The media love controversy! They report unfounded allegations whether they’re from an American or a Chinese coach! But, they are always careful to use words like ‘accuse’ and ‘claim’ and ‘allege’ (and they always use quotation marks).

    I totally agree that the media shouldn’t report report disreputable things lacking evidence far more than reputable things, but I don’t think that’s what they are doing here (in the UK at least).
    I did a google UK search (Ye Shiwen) for the last 24 hours. I think you’ll agree they cover a range of angles.

    Ye Shiwen’s extraordinary Olympic swim: a statistical analysis
    Olympics swimming: Ye Shiwen says suspicion is ‘sour grapes’ – BBC
    Olympic record-beating swimmer Ye Shiwen defended after doping …
    Ye Shiwen’s Olympics gold medal win defended by Chinese …
    Ye Shiwen: At home with the ordinary Chinese teen and London …
    Chinese support their Olympic swimmer Ye Shiwen | Video | Reuters …
    Ye Shiwen’s Olympic gold-medal swim ‘not impossible’ – New Scientist
    Ye Shiwen is a phenomenal swimmer, not a cheat » Spectator Blogs

    It’s just a snapshot of the media here, I know, but to do a really in-depth study would take forever!

    Most of the UK articles that I have read are in support of Ye.

    Good talking to you, I’ve really got to get back to my studies now. My dissertation has to be submitted in a couple of weeks! Yikes!

  30. perspectivehere
    August 2nd, 2012 at 09:29 | #30

    @solothinker

    You wrote: “I am a Chinese, and I feel pround of my fellow countrymen in London. However, I am a bit upset by the reactions from an overwhelming majority of the Chinese netizens —- Wetern prejudices, theory of conspiracy, sour grapes, and so forth.”

    ^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

    Perhaps you might be less upset after reading these books:

    http://us.macmillan.com/racelawandthechinesepuzzleinimperialbritain/SaschaAuerbach

    “This book examines the historical evolution of Chinese communities in early twentieth-century Britain and their significance in the development of race as a category in British law, politics, and culture. During this period, fears about the moral and economic impact of Chinese immigration, amplified by press sensationalism and lurid fictional portrayals of London’s “Chinatown” as a den of vice and iniquity, prompted mass arrests, deportations, and mob violence. Even after Chinatown was demolished and its inhabitants dispersed, the stereotype of the Chinese criminal mastermind and other “yellow peril” images remained as permanent aspects of British culture.”

    And this:
    http://www.history.ac.uk/reviews/review/815
    “Those of us who do feel that, in spite of race equality policies, political correctness, and strong public displays of ethnic unity, there are in Britain today still discernible echoes of the prejudices so pervasive just a couple of generations ago will find little in the book that confirms it. I am probably not alone in thinking that an analysis today of statements on Chinese and China by media, politicians, police, court officials and various activists will reveal a similar realm of racial bigotry, malevolence and ignorance, albeit often articulated in less overtly offensive ways. We need not go far, looking at media reports on the Morecambe Bay disaster, the tragedy in Dover Docks and the political debates, policy making, police and court practices relating to immigration of Chinese people, snakeheads and gangland crimes, seemingly calibrated with assertions about China as a repressive and totalitarian state, the exploitation of labour in sweatshops, and China’s aspirations to be a great power. The racial themes and prejudices have found a new life.”

    And this:
    “Prelude to Imperialism”: Whiteness and Chinese Exclusion in the Reimagining of the United States
    “While most scholars of “race” would concede racism is not monolithic, studies of the anti-Chinese movement have not addressed the various expressions of racism that made possible the eventual exclusion and disfranchisement of the Chinese. By picking apart competing racisms, this study hopes to understand further how different strains of whiteness served to create multiple and often contradictory racialized representations of Chinese, and how contestations on the part of the Chinese and some whites forced adaptations of the more common racialized representations, such as “coolie,” which led to material changes in American imperialist policies. The legal crystallization of the anti-Chinese movement in the Chinese Exclusion Acts has had profound effects on subsequent U.S. immigration policies and their part in the racialization of immigrants (Lee 2003; Ngai 2004). The Chinese Exclusion Acts did not stop at the borders of the continental United States. Justified by the ideology of “manifest destiny” in extending its imperial power overseas, the Chinese Exclusion Acts became an important part of the debate on labor in the new colony of the United States, the Philippines (Belford 1900; Eddy 1901; Wildman 1902). Although there too, despite significant economic contributions and established settlements, they were initially excluded (Jenson 1975).

    The anti-Chinese movement in the 19th century United States constitutes a transformation and reproduction of whiteness, and a hegemonic racial power, wherein bodies defined or signified as “white” are inscribed with cultural, economic as well as citizenship and other institutionalized state privileges. Whiteness has elements of stasis and change, is historically contextual, contestable, and adaptable but always racialized and racializing. This “critical study of whiteness” (Roediger 2002) focuses on understanding the interactions between the “excluders” themselves and with the “excluded” (Lee 2003).

    The sources used in this paper represent the tensions in whiteness discourse through outright debates and, more subtly, through competing representations of Chinese immigrants. They show different strains of white racism across class, while also showing the struggle for unity in whiteness, by not being Chinese.”

    ^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

    This last point is interesting – the exclusion of Chinese in the 19th century America gave whites a point of unity – that they were the same in “not being Chinese”.

    You see this sentiment today in comments in articles – “the Chinese cheat” or “the Chinese only think of winning” whereas “British have sense of fair play”. They define themselves in positive ways by what they are not.

    This is self-mythologizing and comforting self-deception. They define themselves in noble terms and talk themselves into believing it, while representing others as deficient and defective. One needs to examine these representations and consider whether they are based in reality or biased representations.

  31. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 09:59 | #31

    A quick study break…

    If anyone’s interested, the guardian (UK) did a survey asking whether Ye deserves an apology from Leonard. 98% think she does. The comments below the survey are quite interesting too.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/poll/2012/jul/31/does-ye-shiwen-deserve-apology?newsfeed=true

    There are also a number of articles over here on the training regimes of the Chinese teams, like this one: ‘Chinese athletes at these Olympics train harder than any in the world’ (guardian). The article was written by a British coach on the Chinese team, whose opinion can be basically summarised as ‘credit where credit’s due’.

    I hope this shows that there is plurality in the British media.

    Really must get back to study.

  32. August 2nd, 2012 at 10:12 | #32
  33. August 2nd, 2012 at 10:23 | #33

    @watcher
    I have to agree, many British citizens reaction to Leonard’s stupidity gives us hope.

    But, to characterize the British media having ‘plurality’ is giving it too much credit. It should apologize for humping this racism in the first place.

  34. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 11:21 | #34

    @YinYang
    Think I have to disagree with you there. Both the American and Chinese coach made stupid, unfounded accusations. They are the ones who should apologise!

    I don’t think the media should apologise for reporting the comments of either the American or Chinese coach.

    Man, the cycling was exciting today.

  35. August 2nd, 2012 at 13:21 | #35

    @watcher
    You are a scoundrel. To equivocate Leonard’s racism with what the Chinese doctor (Chen Zhanghao), not a coach btw, said rationally in response to Leonard’s garbage is retarded. Here is what Dr. Chen said:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181919/Michael-Phelps-accused-doping-Chinese-Olympic-team-doctor.html#ixzz22QCjgQyk

    Dr Zhanghao told the Sydney Morning Herald: ‘America’s Phelps broke seven world records. Is he normal?
    ‘I suspect Phelps but, without evidence, I have to recognize that we should be grounded in facts …
    ‘The Americans have made many extraordinary performances but, without evidence, we have kept silent.’

    IF, and that’s a BIG IF, Dr. Chen went and accused Phelps of doping, and then Chinese media all propagandize that view, then that would’ve been equivalent to what the British media have done. BUT the Chinese media never did that.

    You sound like a propagandist. In our world of opinions, you are going to find an opinion of every color and stripe. What the propagandist do is to propagate only certain opinions.

    What the British and American media have done is to hone in on Leonard’s racist opinion. That’s what the Chinese are reacting to.

  36. Charles Liu
    August 2nd, 2012 at 13:26 | #36

    @watcher

    You are absolutely right. Take this article for example:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2181873/Genetically-modified-athletes-Forget-drugs-There-suggestions-Chinese-athletes-genes-altered-make-stronger.html

    I think the media is not only right, but has an obligation to tell the world about the Chinese perfecting in vitro genetic manipulation 17 years ago (Ye is 16), predating the mapping of human genome.

    What other conclusion is there besides the Chinese used alien technology? Who will courageously step forward to save mankind if not for the likes of Mr. John Leonard and our free media?

  37. watcher
    August 2nd, 2012 at 13:42 | #37

    @YinYang
    Just to be absolutely clear, I didn’t say either of them were racist. I just said they both made unfounded accusations and should apologise.

    As to what the Chinese think of the foreign media coverage, how about this:

    ‘the British media is defending the Chinese’
    http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20120802/112884.shtml

  38. August 2nd, 2012 at 15:55 | #38

    @watcher

    “Accuse” and “allege” do not have the same force as you suppose. Language is an interesting and complex thing. You cannot look at these two words and assume that just because they are there people will use them with meaning and the audience will understand them with literal truth. When you report one aspect of the reality, you can distort it even with occasional qualifiers which balance the report because the overall report is biased. So the occasional sprinkling of ‘allege’ and ‘accusation’ does not a balanced coverage make.

  39. August 2nd, 2012 at 16:01 | #39

    I just did a quick google and this ‘watcher’ is full of shit. All or almost all of the articles I saw on the first page were about or mentioned the doping allegations. That was their primary focus. There was no articles that simply focused on her achievements without reference to the allegations. If the media kept on referring to this watcher person as a child molester but also “qualified” their statements with “alleged” (by whom?) would he or she then say that he is given a fair shake by the media? This person seems seriously morally defective to defend the media coverage so far of Ye.

  40. August 2nd, 2012 at 16:29 | #40

    Indeed, morally defective. Reminds me of certain troll from the past.

  41. August 2nd, 2012 at 17:08 | #41

    @watcher

    “I hope this shows that there is plurality in the British media.”

    This is a silly definition of “plurality”. Better terms that ought to be used are fairness and balance.

  42. August 2nd, 2012 at 17:13 | #42

    Phelps seems to be the recipient of some gene manipulation from US doctors. That would explain his performance and his face. You can’t tell me the man has no fish genes in him.

  43. August 2nd, 2012 at 17:22 | #43

    @melektaus

    @YinYang

    Be wary of arguing with idiots. They will bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.

  44. August 2nd, 2012 at 20:02 | #44

    This poll by The Guardian is actually clever, by asking whether Leonard should apologize, but doesn’t ask whether the American or the British media should apologize. They are the perps for propagating what Leonard said. If not for the American and British media, this whole affair wouldn’t be in the first place.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/poll/2012/jul/31/does-ye-shiwen-deserve-apology

  45. Sigmar
    August 2nd, 2012 at 20:24 | #45

    What Dr. Chen did was to offer a sarcastic response to Leonard’s nonsensical allegations. His criticism sounds racist and unfounded exactly because it follows Leonard’s logic and rhetoric, re-spoken with Phelps in place of Ye, so that the public (especially the American public) can refer to Leonard’s original diatribe and recognise it for the rubbish it is.

    @watcher
    Earlier you yourself noted that the telegraph had stated that “accusations are ‘inevitable’.” Then why should Leonard’s accusation be newsworthy? Why not publish some other coaches’ unfounded suspicions on another performing athlete from another country? Why dedicate valuable airtime to an (unfounded) American-centric suspicion and thus automatically put China in negative light? Why cast doubt on the innocent based on unsubstantiated hearsay and call it news? There is a fine line between controversy and the institutionalised demonising of a country.

    @YinYang
    To be fair, I can see how watcher could think that the western press could be “plural” as they have given sufficient quotes from other sources to refute Leonard’s allegations. Perhaps he/she was not aware of the Western press’ devious strategy of determining what the issue of day regarding China should be (in negative terms). The refutations need not even be needed if Ye was not thrust into the spotlight with doubt hanging over her achievements.

    watcher has so far been respectful in tone and this already differentiates him/her from trolls like rob thomas / cathy graham, et all. Terming him/her as a scoundrel or as an idiot is a little too heavy-handed and rude. Perhaps we should give him/her a little more time to establish him/herself here, before determining that (s)he is seriously interested in dialogue or not.

  46. August 2nd, 2012 at 20:33 | #46

    @Sigmar
    Fair enough.

  47. August 2nd, 2012 at 22:59 | #47

    The elephant in the room is race… Gotta give my 2 cents on this as a sports fan first and foremost.

    An Olympian I will be rooting for medaling is a French sprinter named Christophe Lemaitre who recently took over the title I coined “the fastest non-black” from Koji Ito, much the same way I rooted for Jeremy Wariner in 2004 and 2008. You see, the Olympic Games reveal what the tiny genetic variations among us amount to at the highest level of competitions. For the last several decades, the sprinting events have been dominated by those with West African ancestry, especially in men’s races, much the same way long-distance events have been dominated by Ethiopians and Kenyans. Rooting for Lamaitre and Wariner is essentially rooting for underdogs, with extremely unfavorable odds. BTW, congrats to Gabby Douglas.

    Not until the 2000 Olympic Games, Asians to swimming was like non-blacks to sprinting — once upon a time decades ago, there were some great world-beating Asian swimmers and white sprinters, but no more. Sure in between there were some Chinese female swimmers in the 90s, but we knew what their deal was all about. It wasn’t spoken, but largely settled, among those who were in the sports (e.g. John Leonard), or followed the sports (e.g. me), that whites were better in swimming at the highest level. Nothing particularly wrong with that if you ask me.

    Something strange is happening. Japan is having a swimming renaissance since 2000. It has already won 9 medals in this Olympic Games, which is 3 more than its total haul between 1964 and 1996! Let’s say the harsh critics are right that China’s medal gain (so far 9 and likely more) is all due to doping, but Japan is as clean as it can get, with no scandal whatever — not even a whisper of doubt by the outsiders, unlike many other swimming powers. China’s case now, in my opinion, can be attributed to better sports infrastructure, better nutrition, better training, and better coaching; but Japan has had always had those — and as far as I can tell, it hasn’t done things much differently before 2000 and after 2000.

    My theory? Japan had always been clean as far as their swimming program went, but not other nations, including the US, USSR, East Germany, etc. Since 1964 to 2000, Japan had not been able compete with swimmers from other doping nations. After 2000, the biggest doping nations have finally got their acts together, and the IOC stringent anti-doping policies have really crammed things down. The direct result is a clean nation Japan, is returning to its former glory, if only partially, which is understandable given the wider sports participation in the world. Think about it, in another parallel universe where everybody else was still doping, the great Kitajima would be like his predecessors in the previous decades, accepting the role of a finalist, not a back-to-back double gold medalist. Not until very recently with the improving level of sports infrastructure, nutrition, training and coaching China has joined the real competition, Japan had been the only nation that had represented East Asians in swimming.

    John Leonard called Ye unbelievable and a “Superwoman”, not because he has never seen a female swimmer leading others by so much, but rather he has never seen a clean non-white swimmer leading by so much in his whole career. The last time when an Asian led a swimming race by that margin in Olympics was like 60 years ago, when the pools were still clean. Now the pools are clean again (crossing fingers), no wonder the likes of Ye Shiwen and Sun Yang are popping out.

    BTW, after Phelps and Lochte retire, my projection is that the combined total medal hauls by Japan and China in the next major world meet, will match the US’.

  48. Zack
    August 2nd, 2012 at 23:29 | #48

    @YinYang
    look at the wording of the so called ‘survey’; does Ye ‘deserve’ an apology? Like extracting an apology from Leonard is some sort of treat, rather than an obligation which is what it ought to be. THe Guardian is nothing more than a mouthpiece for the propagation of anglo white supremacy. Nothing more.

  49. solothinker
    August 3rd, 2012 at 01:08 | #49

    Sleeper :@solothinker
    Well, your ideas and thoughts in point 2 and conclusion just remind me of a guy’s main post I’ve read yesterday from tianya:http://www.tianya.cn/publicforum/content/funinfo/1/3517811.shtml
    It’s hard to understand that you set your expectation of “being proven wrong” at the beginning. I don’t think that putting faith in anything is representation of “incapable of independent and critical thinking”.
    But, if you’re a pure skeptic, I respect your rights of doubting anything and everything.

    With due respect, it is equally hard for me to understand that you would put faith in anything, anything that you know nothing about. So should I ask you worship Shiwen in the same way as you worship God? Give me a break, man.

  50. August 3rd, 2012 at 01:30 | #50

    So I have been sitting here in the San Francisco Bay area watching the Olympics. Gabrielle Douglas is a sensation in the States – as she should. One thing I have been hearing is how she – at age 14, 2 years ago – made the difficult decision to leave home to train at a better facility and with renowned coach Liang Chow in West Des Moines, Iowa.

    This made sense to me. Everything you see at the Olympics, however easy it looks, represents super human efforts, talents – and sacrafices. Make no mistake about that.

    All this made me think againof the propaganda we’ve been hearing about Chinese athletes – how they are the product of an inhumane system that take children away from their home!

    The fact is that in China, where the country is overall poor, where world-class facilities and teachers are sparse, it is necessary often to have to move away from home to pursue one’s dream. State sponsorship is the only way of empowering some (not all) of the most talented atheletes in China.

    But instead of hearing about these sacrafices, the personal overcoming of obstacles against tremendous odds, we hear mostly the inhumaness of the Chinese system….

  51. watcher
    August 3rd, 2012 at 02:06 | #51

    @Sigmar

    Sigmar, yes, Chen’s comments were a response to the American coach. But I don’t think he should have singled out Phelps. I know he’s just being ironic, but he could have just said ‘I have had my suspicions about other athletes, but without proof, I remain silent.’

    Now, why was the story in the news in the first place? Well, the fact that the American coach made unfounded allegations makes it news. He’s not just a nobody on twitter, he’s the executive director of the World Swimming Coaches Association. It stayed in the news for a while here (UK) because there were a range of opinions on the allegations…..

    Most of the articles that I have read in the UK about Ye have mentioned the allegations and then given a whole list of people who refute them (like the one I gave earlier). I’m not the only one who thinks that some in the UK press have been defending Ye, as the link I posted above shows (‘…the British media is defending the Chinese.’ http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20120802/112884.shtml). That being said, there are now numerous articles in the UK media that don’t mention the allegations and focus on Ye’s achievements, training and background (quite rightly so). However, there are also articles about genetic manipulation and brutal child training regimes. This, I think, shows plurality. That’s my personal opinion.

    I hope that people will be reasonable and will read these articles, see there is no basis for the allegations, see the number of people that refute them, and make up their own minds. I think the guardian survey shows this.

    Sigmar, you mention whether the UK press have published other unfounded accusations. Well, during the Tour de France, British reporters repeatedly asked the British cyclist Bradley Wiggins about unfounded doping allegations aimed at him (he went on to win the Tour de France). Furthermore, these allegations weren’t from an international coach, but from anonymous nobodies on twitter! What was his respones?

    ‘They’re just f*****g w*****s.’

    Rash, rude, but apt.

    Thorpe and Phelps have both been the victims of unfounded doping rumours and allegations. But with all their gold medals and clean doping tests, nobody listens anymore. If she keeps on racking up the gold medals, it’ll be just the same for Ye. In the next Olympics nobody will remember that American coach’s name.

  52. Sigmar
    August 3rd, 2012 at 04:06 | #52

    @watcher
    That’s the thing. If Chen’s comment is ironic, and you can see that, then it shouldn’t be racist.

    “Well, the fact that the American coach made unfounded allegations makes it news.”
    Then he should be in the spotlight, with headlines clearly showing his allegations are unfounded. His name and deed should be the focus of the story: “American Coach Makes Baseless Accusations”. Ye’s name and imaginary crime shouldn’t even be the focus. The report should conclude in no uncertain terms that Ye was found to be clean and Leonard is just someone who’s speaking from his ass.

    “However, there are also articles about genetic manipulation and brutal child training regimes. This, I think, shows plurality. That’s my personal opinion.”
    We respect your opinion, but we disagree with it. Charges of genetic manipulation have as much credibility as reports of Bigfoot and the Jersey Devil. They belong to News of the World, not the mainstream media. As for “brutal” child training regimes, well, tough training is tough. What seems to be “brutal training” for some is merely hard work for others. May child athletes are made to train hard, and any tough regime can be constituted as “brutal”. There would be real “plurality” if the British press would dedicate the same space for allegations against other countries besides China, say the US, European countries, or even Russia, in the same ratio. As it is, the recipient of allegations is overwhelmingly China.

    “I hope that people will be reasonable and will read these articles, see there is no basis for the allegations, see the number of people that refute them, and make up their own minds. I think the guardian survey shows this.”
    Zack’s observation above is spot-on and shows that the guardian’s wording is off. A much better title for the title: “Is Leonard’s accusations baseless and should he apologise?” Again, leave Ye out of this. She wasn’t begging for negative publicity.

    “Furthermore, these allegations weren’t from an international coach, but from anonymous nobodies on twitter!”
    This shows that the British press is not shy in generating stories based on unsubstantiated and anonymous accusations. In that case, they should sniff around the internet to see the plethora of groundless allegations made against all other countries, and dedicate space for these stories. For the sake of “plurality”, we need groundless allegations against Germany, Greece, France, Italy, Japan, North Korea, Ukraine, Duba, etc to take up precious space in the sports headlines. Don’t single out China.

    “But with all their gold medals and clean doping tests, nobody listens anymore.”
    Until the media decides to force us to “listen” by publishing some bullshit story on the papers or their websites. We can choose not to read these stories, but it is hard to ignore headlines.

  53. watcher
    August 3rd, 2012 at 04:54 | #53

    @Sigmar
    Sigmar, I agree with you, I don’t think Chen’s remarks are racist.

    I completely agree that there should be more articles bringing attention to how baseless the American coach’s accusations were. Like this one:

    http://espn.go.com/olympics/summer/2012/swimming/story/_/id/8221842/2012-london-olympics-fina-says-ye-shiwen-doping-accusations-baseless

    That article notes that the American coach’s accusations were baseless, but I, personally would have liked to see more people calling for an apology.

    Other articles rubbish the baseless claims of the American coach:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/video/2012/jul/31/olympics-ye-shiwen-jon-rudd-swimming-video

    My point about the Wiggins story was to show that some British journalists will do this to their own athletes! The UK media reported on unfounded accusations aimed at Ye as they had also reported on unfounded accusations aimed at British athletes. The fact that the British media reported on their own athlete in this way, to me, shows that they are not simply singling out China.

    By plurality I mean a range of views. In the articles I have read, some make a big deal of the accusations and go on about who the coach and his position (implying that his opinion carries weight), but other articles focus more on Ye’s great performance, her hard work and how many people refute the accusation, then there are those whacky stories about genetics and training regimes! I’m not saying the British press is a paragon of journalistic ethics, I’m just saying the reporting shows a range of views.

    As I note above, some articles have come out in defence of Ye. I’m not the only one who has noticed this (‘…the British media is defending the Chinese’ http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20120802/112884.shtml).

    I really think the Olympics are a great opportunity for people from all around the world to meet and exchange ideas. I wouldn’t have come to this site if it wasn’t for the Olympics. I, idealistically perhaps, think that in the future, commentators, coaches and those involved in sport will be less likely to make unfounded accusations because of the debacle surrounding this unfortunate case.

    Hope you all enjoy the rest of the games. Let’s all wish Ye Shiwen the greatest success in Brazil!

  54. Sigmar
    August 3rd, 2012 at 05:49 | #54

    @watcher
    “My point about the Wiggins story was to show that some British journalists will do this to their own athletes! The UK media reported on unfounded accusations aimed at Ye as they had also reported on unfounded accusations aimed at British athletes. The fact that the British media reported on their own athlete in this way, to me, shows that they are not simply singling out China.”
    Yes, I agree that when it comes to the British press, everybody is fair game. And I also understand that sensationalism sells stories. However, coverage should be balanced and well spread out, and care should be taken that there is no collective defamation of a whole country or people, through selective bombardments of negative news. The media has a duty to be objective.

    “I really think the Olympics are a great opportunity for people from all around the world to meet and exchange ideas. I wouldn’t have come to this site if it wasn’t for the Olympics. I, idealistically perhaps, think that in the future, commentators, coaches and those involved in sport will be less likely to make unfounded accusations because of the debacle surrounding this unfortunate case.

    Hope you all enjoy the rest of the games. Let’s all wish Ye Shiwen the greatest success in Brazil!”

    Thank you, we hope you enjoy the games as well. The Olympics should be a celebration of the human spirit and capacity for achievement. It should be an occasion that celebrates a universal brotherhood or fraternity. It should not be politicised. I am glad that many people out there, including yourself, remember the true spirit of the Olympics.

  55. aeiou
    August 3rd, 2012 at 05:59 | #55

    The whole thing was started by some women on BBC, then the Americans jumped on the bandwagon.

    Now on to the badminton shenanigans. The badminton players were basically crucified as “cheats”.

    … and right on queue, here is the british spin – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-19102827

    BUT it gets better.

    The british mens cycling team basically flaunted the fact they gamed the rules to get better results – http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/olympics/british-gold-medal-winning-cyclist-philip-hindes-says-he-crashed-on-purpose/article4459419/

    You guessed it, the british are doing mental gymnastic to justify why this is acceptable but badminton was “unsportsmanlike”. No manufactured outraged from the media, all perfectly civilized; unlike the vain chinamen.

  56. watcher
    August 3rd, 2012 at 07:19 | #56

    @Sigmar
    ‘The Olympics should be a celebration of the human spirit and capacity for achievement. It should be an occasion that celebrates a universal brotherhood or fraternity.’

    I second that.

    Good talking to you, Sigmar.

  57. August 3rd, 2012 at 07:45 | #57

    @aeiou
    Those badminton players are being unfairly vilified. The Round Robin system introduced into the game in a way is fair to promote the game as it allow less domination by a single country. However, it also showed the power of the organizers in setting double standard for different sports. Can anyone imagine the Round Robin system being introduced to track and swimming where some rich countries have always been dominant? It would never happened because those said countries are the ones making the rule! The problem with the RR system is it forces the best players and teams from the same countries to knock each other out before the medal stage.

    This incident is also a case study of discrimination against Asian and China in particular. In most western press it is the Chinese team that is always being highlighted despite the fact that they are just two out of the eight players (four from Korea and two from Indonesia). To call them cheaters are also blatantly unfair as these teams are the major contenders for medals with no other countries coming close unless some freak upset happened. In short, they are actually the best players in their field.

    Contrast the western press treatment for Michael Schumacher. In 2002 his team mate, Rubens Barrichello was ordered to let Schumacher past. Of course the audience was outraged but they were never called cheaters. Later that year Schumacher returned the favour by letting Barrichello past. Well, they were also not called cheaters but being patted on the back for being such good teammates.

    “During qualifying for the 2006 Monaco Grand Prix Schumacher set the fastest time, but stopped his car in the Rascasse corner on the racing line, leaving the corner partially blocked, while his main contender for the season title, Fernando Alonso, was on his final qualifying lap. Schumacher stated that he simply locked up the wheels going into the corner and that the car then stalled while he attempted to reverse out. Alonso believed he would have been on pole if the incident had not happened, and Schumacher was stripped of pole position by the race stewards and started the race at the back of the grid. In the same qualifying session, Giancarlo Fisichella was similarly found to have blocked David Coulthard from improving his time, but Fisichella was only demoted five places on the grid.”

    And from the above quote it is obvious that Schumacher or Team Ferrari has no qualm of using unfair tactics to win. However, never once where they being accused of being cheaters.

  58. watcher
    August 3rd, 2012 at 09:31 | #58

    @Ray

    I think all those badminton players should have been disqualified and I think the British cycling team should be disqaulified aswell.

    In both cases people have been critical of the format of the competitions or the regulations, but I think that’s missing the point: all athletes are supposed to compete ‘in the true spirit of sportsmanship.’

    It’s open to debate how you interpret ‘sportsmanship’, but my interpretation doesn’t include ‘throwing matches’ or ‘deliberately crashing’ (note careful use of quotation marks).

    Ray, I just wanted to point out that the following (about the Grand Prix) isn’t entirely true:

    ‘However, never once where [sic] they being accused of being cheaters.’

    I was surprised by this claim, so I did a quick google search and found this article:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/2337536/Fury-on-the-track-as-Schumacher-cheats.html

    If you want to find harsh critics of German athletes, the British press should be the first place to start!

    Can’t wait for the swimming later. Can Phelps win yet another gold medal?

  59. perspectivehere
    August 3rd, 2012 at 10:53 | #59

    Peter Simpson at the South China Morning Post has a column, “Shuttlegate Eight Bring Sport into Disrepute”, in which he wrote, “Former British table tennis Olympian Matthew Syed is among those saying we should not blame the players but instead accuse the officials at the Badminton World Federation who created the sport’s “flawed” competition. ‘Officials have created a system where two fundamental sporting ambitions collided. The desire to win gold and the desire to win a particular match were put in cruel conflict.’ Syed said.”

    This is well said, and puts the problem in perspective. I think the key point to keep in mind is that the rules put these players in a no-win situation, of being damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.

    What is the “true spirit of sportsmanship” when you are faced with this type of situation? Should you win the battle and lose the war, or lose the battle to win the war?

    From a team-play perspective, as a player, is it “true sportsmanship” to put your personal victory first and foremost, even if it increases the likelihood your team will lose? Or do you sacrifice your own personal victory and put the good of the team first?

    In chess, you sacrifice a lesser player to protect the stronger. Does anyone say it is “unsportsmanlike” to sacrifice a player in chess? Where does “true sportsmanship” lie?

    I think the ones who are accusing the players (or their teams) of “bad sportsmanship” are the ones who are wrong here.

    The players come to the Olympics to compete against the best and to win gold medals for themselves and for their teams. What we have are “bad rules” and not “bad sportsmanship”.

  60. August 3rd, 2012 at 12:43 | #60

    Katie Ledecky, a 15 year old American girl, just won the 800m freestyle gold and broke the WR with an amazing time 8:14.63, leading the silver medal winner by 4.13″. Ledecky ranked #55 in the world last year, and her one-year improvement is a mind-boggling 4.2% (Ye’s improvement is 1.9%), the highest among all swimming medalists. I urge the Chinese media army in London to ask her the following questions in the press Q&A session:

    “Please answer only yes, or no, have you ever taken PED in London?”

    “So when did you stop taking PED?”

    “So you deny ever using PED?”

    “Do you realize your blood and urine samples will be kept for another 8 years, and while your answer isn’t under the oath, it can be admissible in a legal case against you? Now let me ask you again, have you ever used PED?”

    Afterward, print the headline as “Previously unknown American swimmer denied drug use amid questions of her gold”, with sidebar stories of Flo-Jo, Marion Jones and Lance Armstrong. Feel free to use unflattering pictures of the swimmer. If such pictures can’t be found, feel free to use Photoshop — like Mike Daisey said, it’s for the “bigger truth”.

    (For entertainment value only)

  61. August 3rd, 2012 at 13:38 | #61

    @watcher
    Sorry your link just proved my point. The word ‘cheats’ was put in apostrophe, inside the article the prhase used is “accused of cheating”. The writer of the article dare not say he is a cheat but rather quote someone else.

    In the current Badmindton disqualification, nearly all major western press simply called them cheaters.

    You see why your ignorance is being mocked here. Obvious double standard has been used but you are just too blind to see.

    And see another double standard here:
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/olympics/british-gold-medal-winning-cyclist-philip-hindes-says-he-crashed-on-purpose/article4459419/

    Although I suspect he won’t get off easy now due to the harsh treatment levied on those badmindton players. Nevertheless, you won’t see news articles all over accusing the British of being cheat.

  62. watcher
    August 3rd, 2012 at 13:47 | #62

    @Ray
    I thought you were making the point that they had never been accused of cheating. The link shows they have. It’s in quotation marks because they’re reporting an accusation, not making it.

    Unless he had been found guilty of cheating by the officials, I don’t think it would have been right for them to put cheating in without quotation marks.

    I have no double standards here: I think both the badminton players and the cyclists should have been disqualified.

    However, only the badminton players have been, which could explain the different wording. If, referring to the cyclists, the media called them cheaters, that would, as yet, be an unfounded accusation (and that is what this whole thread is about).

  63. Charles Liu
    August 3rd, 2012 at 15:34 | #63

    @jxie

    Could you kindly do a follow up on the tales of two athelets/WR? I think in a few days there will be enough to compare between Ye Shiwen and Katie Ledecky’s impossible improvements.

    Unlike Ye, Katie Ledecky truely came out of nowhere. She had no international competition record, and the US Olympics trial was her first major event.

  64. August 3rd, 2012 at 17:43 | #64

    @perspectivehere
    Exactly. Harvard Business Review just published an article arguing for the same:
    http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2012/08/badminton_by_design.html?awid=5215129003172751414-3271

  65. Rhan
    August 3rd, 2012 at 22:11 | #65

    Good post!

    Sidetrack a little, beside badminton (i look forward Lee Chong Wei to beat Lin Dan), i support China entirely in every aspect and every sport, i feel bad when i read China drop to number 2 overall, i am really curious the emotion combat among you that is not a China citizen.

    If China could remain no 1 in a western land, then we can really tell “中国人站起来了”.

  66. watcher
    August 4th, 2012 at 00:00 | #66

    Katie Ledecky swam an awesome race and lead the field all the way. What a shame that the doping rumours are flying again and the media are asking yet another young athlete about unfounded accusations and rumours:

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/08/03/uk-oly-swim-sww80f-ledecky-doping-idUKBRE8721T820120803

  67. August 4th, 2012 at 04:54 | #67

    Nitwits like watcher can’t muster the brain processing power to see the bigger picture that when you look at the overall coverage instead of cherry-picking single articles, you see a massive trend. Google “Katie Ledecky” and see what pops up. Mostly positive articles not even mentioning doping. Google “Ye Shiwen” and you see mostly articles mentioning doping allegations (without evidence).

    This despite the fact that the US has a more tarnished history of doping and that Ledecky’s improvement was more drastic than Ye’s.

  68. watcher
    August 4th, 2012 at 05:29 | #68

    @melektaus

    You are absolutely right, Meletkaus; there are only a few articles that mention the rumours (without evidence) about Ledecky, but lots that cover those rumours (without evidence) about Ye.

    But not all the coverage of Ye has been bad. Here in the UK, the majority of the recent articles I have read about Ye have either not mentioned the unfounded allegations, or have come out in support of her ((『…the British media is defending the Chinese’ http://english.cntv.cn/program/newshour/20120802/112884.shtml).

    Regardless of the nationality of the athletes, as I said above, I agree with Arne Ljungqvist (although his comments are a bit understated), medical commission chief for the IOC:

    「For me, it is very sad that an unexpected performance is surrounded by suspicions,」

    I really feel for Ye and Ledecky, but I’m sure that they’ll both move on from this. Lots of other high level athletes have been accused of doping. These two young athletes look set to rack up more medals at future competitions. And at the next Olympics in Brazil, they’ll be introduced as ‘London 2012 gold medalists’ and nobody will mention these unfounded rumours. Just like Phelps now, and Thorpe before him; the clean doping test and stacks of medals silence the critics in the end!

  69. Sleeper
    August 4th, 2012 at 10:18 | #69

    http://2012.ifeng.com/swimming/detail_2012_08/04/16547916_0.shtml

    Guys, if you can read Chinese you can see how funny this wanker is.

    For those who can’t read Chinese, I would like to translate this news to you:

    Chinese professor Zhu Gengshen of Environmental Management College of China, blamed Chinese netizens who fought against western media’s gratuitous accusation of Ye’s achivement. Because the professor knew from a hearsay that “Ye’s coachs admitted they’ve given Ye a sort of drug called Dihydrogen Monoxide for recovery”.

    And then the professor started his blaming on his weibo: “If this is true, why we couldn’t allow being doubted? According to this case, we can see both Chinese people and government are weak and self-abased that can’t afford any sorts of criticism, and it won’t be good for our country……”

    What does Dihydrogen Monoxide mean? Actually, it’s a joking description of H2O, or water. How could water be considered as “drug”? Apparently the professor was fooled by the hearsay, and then his weibo was flooded by netizens’ taunts. Finally he had no choice but to close the comment of his weibo and apologize to netizens.

    According to this news, we can see that not only the western media, but also some so called “elites”, “professors” within China would like to treat any achievement of China’s prejudicially, without any comprehensive thinking. In their opinion, what China should be is always cheating.

  70. August 4th, 2012 at 10:57 | #70

    @Sleeper
    Pretty funny indeed.

    Actually, the Chinese media rarely bother with reporting how much vitriol there is coming from the Western press towards the Chinese. Hence, a lot of Chinese people really don’t know how hostile things are abroad – yet.

    Due to web sites like anti-cnn.com (now m4.cn), millions of Chinese are slowly being exposed to such nonsense. It’s a trend.

  71. perspectivehere
    August 4th, 2012 at 11:59 | #71

    For those who watched the final women’s doubles badminton match between China’s Tian Qing and Zhao Yunlei and Japan’s Mizuki Fujii/Reika Kakiiwa, you got a real treat. The match was exciting and gripping. In the second and final match, the Chinese team had game point 3 times and Japan’s duo battled back, before the Chinese pair won the game 25-23 for the gold medal. It was a real crowd pleaser.

    But this matchup did not present the two best teams. The top ranked team, Yang Yu and Wang Xiaoli, had been disqualified. So what we got to see was the second-best team playing the fifth best team.

    Because Yang Yu and Wang Xiaoli have been vilified by the press, I think they deserve to be remembered for the way they play at their best. Here’s a description of the 2011 matchup between Yang Yu/Wang Xiaoli and Mizuki Fujii/Reika Kakiiwa:

    “China’s duo of Yang (F) Yu and Wang Xiaoli have defeated the pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of Japan, in the Women’s Doubles final of the All England Premier Super Series 2011, at the National Indoor Arena in Birmingham, England, on March 13.

    The number three seed Chinese pair entertained the crowd with their wonderful performance and took just 27 minutes to hammer the Japanese duo, which had got rid of team-mates Shizuka Matsuo and Mami Naito in straight sets, in the semi-final of the event.

    Yang and Xiaoli delivered a superb performance throughout the event as they won all of their matches in straight games until the quarterfinal. In the semi-final, the Chinese pair defeated Line Damkjaer Kruse and Marie Roepke of Denmark in a thrilling three-set fight. In this semi-final battle, a great show was put before the crowd from both sides and the Chinese emerged as winners in the end.”

    **************

    Wow, after reading this, and seeing the exciting badminton just now from the No.2 seeded team playing the No.5 seeded team, how much more exciting it might have been to see the No.1 and No.2 seeded teams play.

    But the way the BWF set up the tournament rules, it was not possible. The rules did a disservice to the players and to the fans. The rules put the players in untenable positions.

    Worse yet, besides putting them in this untenable position, they have been disqualified from play (think of how hard they worked to get to the Olympics) and their integrity is questioned. Anyone watching the excerpts of the thrown matches would have seen that both sides were obviously playing to lose. They did it without guile. It would have been better if they could simply be allowed to forfeit the match and preserve their dignity. Instead, the rules require them to go through the indignity of playing to lose.

    If the rules are not changed, then the only option open to players going forward would be to do such a good job pretending to win that they wouldn’t be disqualified.

    Apparently, this is what India accused Japan’s team of doing. India – whose players were knocked out – was upset that Japan appeared to lose against a 10th-seeded team from Taipei deliberately. India lodged a complaint against the Japan duo. However, the BWF decided that Japan did not throw the game, and upheld the results:

    “India coach Pullela Gopichand today accused the Japanese pair of Mizuki Fujii and Reika Kakiiwa of tanking their last Group B match against Taipei even as eight other women’s doubles players were kicked out of the Games by BWF after a probe against match-fixing allegations.

    “We had put in a protest this morning and the BWF has come back saying that they didn’t find any bias or anything beyond the ordinary in the matches. We’ve filed an appeal to review that decision,” Gopichand said.

    “In group B, (Chinese) Taipei had to and wanted to win, but Japan wanted to lose to be second in the group to avoid China,” he added.”….He claimed that once China lost to Denmark in group D yesterday morning, Japan “wanted to be second” in group B.

    Fujii and Kakiiwa went down 21-19, 21-11 to the unseeded Cheng Wen Hsing and Chein Yu Chin of Chinese Taipei at the start of the afternoon session. Despite Jwala and Ashwini winning against the Chinese Taipei pair and Singapore combo, the Indians failed to qualify.

    “Just because it’s subtle and the crowd didn’t make a noise, the TV didn’t make a noise, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. In this match only one team wanted to lose,” he said.

    So even though the Japan team did not get DQ’d, we should note:
    (1) the Japanese team had the same incentives to lose as the Chinese, South Korean and Indonesian teams that were disqualified;

    (2) The Japanese team did in fact lose their game and was accused of deliberately losing (although BWF cleared them);

    (3) by losing, the Japanese made it to the finals, and competed for the gold, which is what Yang Yu and Wang Xiaoli wanted.

    What does this say about sportsmanship or fairness? Play well enough so it’s not so obvious you are losing? You can lose, but don’t do it too obviously?

    Like the English taking dives in soccer, as widely reported here, here and here? [Typical quote: “One of the things that I can’t stand with the media coverage in this country, especially when it comes to football, is the hypocrisy of the English media when an “English” player decides to take a dive rather than a foreigner.”] You said it! It’s okay as long as it is not too obvious and you don’t get caught?

    This is all screwed up. But much of the reportage on the badminton DQs seems to point to the Chinese players, coaches and system as the problem. And that’s reporting bias.

    I think the BWF should apologize to the players (all of them – DQ’d and not), to the coaches (who had to advise their players to lose matches as part of a tournament winning strategy), and to the fans. China’s public should support their players and coaches as innocent victims of a defective system that seems almost designed to make the Chinese players compete against each other. This is all too reminiscent of divide-and-conquer colonialist strategies.

    By the way, you would think that this year’s Badminton Women’s Doubles gold medal winners would get a nice photo?

    Check out the crappy photo they got from Reuters.

    It shows gold medalist Zhao grimacing as she falls on her backside.

    Very subtle, guys.

    Reuters is so unprofessional – they really suck!

  72. Zack
    August 4th, 2012 at 12:27 | #72

    i’m really surprised by Reuters; i’d originally thought of them as the more impartial of the western MSMs but sadly i am disappointed once again.

    It seems the anglo Establishment is committed to having China as an enemy, especially with the way the condition the public to fear the Chinese and villify them. THat is of course what you want your people to think when you intend on sending them to go and fight that particular country for ‘the war to preserve anglo dominance’.

  73. August 4th, 2012 at 16:44 | #73

    @YinYang
    True. it’s sad how naive many Chinese seem to be regarding western prejudice and bias.

  74. August 4th, 2012 at 16:47 | #74

    @watcher

    Again, watcher seems incapable of intellectually honest debate and critical thinking. No one here is saying that there has not been a single article in the western press defending Ye or mentioning only the positives. Insistence that that is the issue is a strawman. It is also a distraction technique by cherry picking individual articles and assuming the exception proves the rule.

  75. watcher
    August 4th, 2012 at 16:54 | #75

    @perspectivehere

    I think this is rather a convoluted way of justifying behaviour that I think is unsporting and against the spirit of the Olympics, and the Chinese Sports Delegation seem to think so too:

    (中國代表團:尊重處罰 于洋王曉理違背奧運精神 http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/hqpl/zggc/2012-08-02/content_6616969.html)

    This situation, and your response, are exactly what I was talking about in comment 3 on DaWang’s post (The politics of the Olympics, more unfounded unfair criticisms).

  76. pug_ster
    August 4th, 2012 at 18:03 | #76

    http://sports.yahoo.com/news/athletics-injured-merritt-drops-400-meters-heat-114115511–spt.html

    It is sad this guy could not compete, but what I am surprised is that this guy doped before and came back. I mean how many Chinese athletes doped and came back to compete?

  77. colin
    August 4th, 2012 at 18:47 | #77

    While the western media is still trying to justify thier slandering of Ye, what is not mentioned is that this poor girl’s character and reputation has been brutally murdered in public without a shred of evidence.

    Someone, somewhere is bound to make all kinds of crazy/malicious talk, but it took the skewed corrupt western media to turn it into an international controversy while putting a knife into the PR of this 16 year old. The ‘grown ups’ running the media could have said no, it’s a line we won’t cross. Of course they giddidly crossed that line, and is anyone on this forum really surprised at this.

    To the US/western media,
    At long last, have you left no sense of decency?

  78. August 4th, 2012 at 19:03 | #78

    @melektaus
    There was a ‘chinawatcher’ not too long ago wrote the following in defending LA Time’s propaganda BS here. Notice how that troll does not make one iota argument against all those instances in the LA times where I identified them to be propagandistic in the OP. Rather, he goes to accuse me not knowing the difference between a ‘wire service’ vs. a standard newspaper. AFP? Of course it’s a propaganda rag most of the time whenever China/Chinese come up!

    Anyways, watcher also reminds me of this shifty individual – misquotes, pulling what others say out of context, and yeah, very frequently intellectually dishonest.

    One more instance of that nonsense, let’s just put a stop to it.

  79. Zack
    August 5th, 2012 at 00:27 | #79

    @colin
    they never had any decency; these fuckers unapologetically whitewash their own colonial crimes and care only for power.

    Best thing the Chinese can do is win more gold medals than the US; and dare i say it, dominate the swimming in men and women; that’s the one that’ll make these pricks take notice

  80. watcher
    August 5th, 2012 at 01:32 | #80

    @YinYang

    I hope if you take a step back for a moment and look at my comments, you’ll see there is actually a lot we agree on ! 🙂

    For one, I completely agree that there is bias in the media here. You can see it at all stages of the writing process: from coverage down to individual word choices. Some of the articles I read in the UK make me cringe 🙁

    Take this article, for instance:
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/olympics/19095406

    Why cover this story? Why put China first in the title? Why use the word ‘squabbling’ (which, in British English at least, is usually used in reference to children)?

    I have offered my opinions on a few stories and highlighted a few angles that I didn’t think were being covered. Beyond that, I don’t know if any of the other users are in the UK right now, but I came to this site because I thought you might be interested in the views of someone here and because I was interested in the views of people watching these olympics around the world.

    Like I said earlier, the olympics should be a time for bringing people from all around the world together.

    Let’s come together, people!

    Looking forward to the badminton later. Another memorable Olympic badminton final showdown!

  81. August 5th, 2012 at 02:28 | #81

    @watcher
    You’ve done another act that’s rather dishonest in my opinion. The BBC link you provided to said:

    Kazakhstan has hit back at Chinese media reports claiming that two of the Central Asian country’s medal winners are in fact Chinese.

    Really?

    The clever thing the BBC writer did was not to provide a link to Xinhua nor quote exactly what Xinhua reported. In fact, I will do that now. The whole Xinhua article is quoted below:

    http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sports/2012-08/01/c_131751651.htm

    Kazakhstan’s lifter wins women’s 63kg gold in Olympic record
    English.news.cn 2012-08-01 02:24:16
    By Sportswriter Gao Chuan

    LONDON, July 31 (Xinhua) — Maiya Maneza won Kazakhstan’s second weightlifting gold at the London Olympics, setting an Olympic record of 245kg in total in the women’s 63kg category on Tuesday.

    Competition was close during the snatch session. Russian lifter Svetlana Tsarukaeva, 2011 world champion, led early by snatching 112kg to Maneza’s 110kg. However, during the clean-and-jerk, the Russian’s only success was her first attempt of 125kg, signalled the end of her challenge for gold and her total of 237kg could just settle for silver, 1kg more than Canada’s Christine Girard, who lifted a total of 236kg.

    Maneza, the current clean-and-jerk world record holder, had the gold medal in her pocket after her first attempt of 135kg in the clean-and-jerk, which gave her an Olympic record total of 245kg. Further attempts at breaking her world record with 144kg were not successful.

    “I am very pleased, because this is my first Olympics. I have waited my whole life for this,” Maneza said. “It would’ve been better if I jerked 144kg and broke the world record, 135kg was a bit weak.”

    At the press conference after the match, the gold medalist denied speculations that she was a Chinese athlete who owned the Kazakhstan nationality only a few years ago.

    “I was actually born in Kyrgyzstan. When I was a little girl I lived in China for 10 years but now I live in Kazakhstan. I chose to represent Kazakhstan because I wanted to be part of the country,” she said.

    Is this BBC statement about the Xinhua report true? “claiming that two of the Central Asian country’s medal winners are in fact Chinese.”

    Nope. The Xinhua report did no such thing.

    How do we know BBC didn’t misquote Mendihan Tapsir out of context to concoct this narrative about Kazakhstan supposedly now “hitting back at Chinese media reports?”

    Your comment #66 above is a Red Herring too. All niceties aside, I think I have seen enough of your antics.

  82. perspectivehere
    August 5th, 2012 at 07:25 | #82

    @YinYang

    Good work unearthing the misleading propaganda message of the BBC article.

    I did exactly as watcher probably hoped with his link – clicked on it and read the BBC article. I read watcher’s criticism of the piece: (“Why cover this story? Why put China first in the title? Why use the word ‘squabbling’ (which, in British English at least, is usually used in reference to children)?”) I took the article and watcher’s comment at face value. I would have left with an impression that there was some controversy between Kazakhstan that seems to have started with Chinese media claims about the nationality of the players.

    But your source-checking helped me to see what is going on: the BBC is mischaracterizing the Xinhua article. “Chinese media reports claim[ing] that two of the Central Asian country’s medal winners are in fact Chinese.”
    Note that the BBC’s misreporting technique is not to tell the whole truth, and not to tell a complete lie either. There is the color of truth but enough inaccuracy to create a wrong impression, and let the reader come to a wrong conclusion.

    Note that the BBC seems to be attempting to create a controversy where none is there by (1) creating division between Kazakhstan fans and Chinese fans; and (2) creating an impression that China is making contested and illegitimate claims over something.

  83. perspectivehere
    August 5th, 2012 at 09:22 | #83

    @YinYang

    There are several propaganda techniques at work in the BBC article. These appear to come right out of very old “techniques of persuasion” that British Ministry of Information has been employing since at least 1939, when this formerly secret memo was written.

    This remarkably informative document “can be found in the archives of Britain’s second Ministry of Information held at the Public Record Offic in London. It is a little known memorandum, dated 21 June 1939, containing a total of 86 basic ground rules which the Royal Institute of International Affairs, who commissioned this inquiry into Broadcasting and Propaganda, considered would be of value to the planners of the embryonic Ministry of Information.”

    You can go through this memo at your leisure. Two points are relevant to this discussion:

    “4. Propaganda should fit the pre-conceived impressions,
    e.g., a Chinaman thinks every foreigner a cunning
    person who is prepared to use a concealed gun
    should wiliness fail.”

    5. In propaganda we should concentrate on a definite object to fit pre-conceived ideas.”

    ************************
    So here: “So when the Chinese state news agency Xinhua claimed that the two weightlifters were in fact Chinese, the authorities accused their Eastern neighbours of poor sportsmanship.”

    Ah, the “poor sportsmanship” meme is repeated. First with Ye Shinwen. Then with the badminton players. Now with Kazakh weightlifters.

    Someday you will see an article rounding up impressions of the Chinese side at the Olympics, and they will dredge up these as examples of bad sportsmanship of the Chinese. See how propaganda is created?

    ***************************

    The “pre-conceived idea” being pushed here is “China making illegitimate claims” – whether over South China Seas, or over Taiwanese, Tibet or Uyghers – the Kazakh case. It portrays China as displaying a petulant and insecure kind of nationalism.

    Here is a good example:

    “Kazakhstan’s gold champion claimed by Chinese” (By Alexis Lai, CNN) July 31, 2012

    CNN’s story links to this Xinhua article in Chinese. Reading the Xinhua article, you see no “claims” over the nationality of the weightlifters. It is more like a human interest story to reflect that she has a connection to China.

    Here is a brief excerpt:

    “新华网伦敦7月29日奥运专电 哈萨克斯坦的举重奥运冠军祖尔菲娅有一个中国名字:赵常玲。或者可以说,出生于湖南永州的赵常玲,2008年后有了一个哈萨克斯坦名字:祖尔菲娅。这个美丽的外国名字,陪伴她登上了伦敦奥运会领奖台的最高处。

    ….
    站在领奖台上,祖尔菲娅手抚胸口高唱国歌,并且流下了激动的泪水。走下领奖台,她激动地用中文说:“我想到了过去训练中遇到的挫折和艰辛,所以哭了。”

    虽然操一口流利的中文,但是祖尔菲娅不愿意提起与中国有关的话题。什么时候离开中国的?不知道。家人在哪里?家人在家。不过说起想不想念中国的美食,她干脆地回答说:“我好想念糍粑。”

    在场的哈萨克斯坦记者告诉新华社记者这样一个故事:祖尔菲娅不是中国人,而是东干人。东干人早在清代辗转北迁至哈萨克斯坦,但仍然保留了很多传统,中文就是其中一项,所以祖尔菲娅会说中文。但很显然,长着中国胃的祖尔菲娅的经历远非这样简单。”

    (My rough translation)
    “Xinhuanet London 7/29 Olympic Wire – Kazakhstan weightlifting champion 祖尔菲娅 has a Chinese name: Zhao Changling. Or one could say, Hunan Yongzhou-born Zhao changling, after 2008 had a Kazakh name: Zulfiya. This beautiful foreign name accompanied her as she ascended the top tier of the winners’ platform at the London Olympics.

    Standing atop the winners’ platform, Zulfiya sang her national anthem aloud with her hand on her heart, and even shed some emotional tears. Descending from the winners’ platform, she passionately said in Chinese: “I was thinking about the years of practice in the past, and the setbacks and hardships, so I cried.”

    Even though she spoke fluent Chinese, however Zulfiya did not wish to mention anything connected to China. When did she leave China? I don’t know. Where is your family? My family is at home. When asked if she ever misses any Chinese food, she immediately replied, “I miss sticky rice cakes (糍粑).”

    At the arena a Kazakh journalist informed Xinhua reporter about this story: Zulfiya is not Chinese, actually she is Dungan. The Dungan people early on during the Qing dynasty passed through many hands to wind up in Kazakhstan, but they preserve many of their traditions, Chinese language is one of these traditions, so that’s why Zulfiya can speak Chinese. However, it was obvious, Chinese-food-appreciating-Zulfiya’s history is far from simple.”

    *******end quote********
    The article goes on to cite a Hunan sports official who tells about how she was transferred out of the Hunan weightlifting program to Kazakhstan, and eventually took Kazakh citizenship. The article attempts to report on facts of the subject. There is no sense of sour grapes or establishing some kind of “claim” over her achievement. What the article does do is point out her connections with China or Chinese culture. This type of article is typical for a newspaper writing about a “foreign” athlete who has some connection to the home country of the newspaper.

    For example, google the topic “Americans competing for other countries in Olympics” and you turn up several articles, for example, this one: Three Siblings Compete for Two Countries at Winter Olympics

    “Brother and sister ice dancers Chris and Cathy Reed were born in Kalamazoo, Mich., and ever since they started skating as children, they’ve had dreams of Olympic gold. Now, they’re competing in the Vancouver Winter Games, but not for the United States.

    Instead of representing America’s red, white and blue, the duo is skating for the red and white of Japan.

    Their mother is Japanese, and their father is American. They used their dual citizenship to compete for their mother’s homeland.

    “We are Japanese. We compete for Japan. We’re here for Japan,” Cathy said.

    Do they want to beat the Americans? “Of course!” she said, with a laughs.

    The Reed siblings are not the first athletes to compete for a country where they weren’t born. WNBA player Becky Hammon competed for the Russian basketball team at the 2008 summer games in Beijing, China, after being snubbed by the U.S. squad. She signed to play professionally in Moscow.

    At this year’s games, Vancouver-born moguls skier Dale Begg-Smith switched allegiance to ski for Australia, drawing criticism from Canadians who called him a traitor.

    “If you want to get there, and you want to have this experience, I certainly don’t begrudge them,” said Christine Brennan, a USA Today sports columnist, about athletes who opt to represent other countries so they can get to the Olympics.

    Skater Gets Citizenship in Partner’s Country

    Athletes switch countries for many reasons such as easier qualification, funding or even to complete a pair. It’s fine as long as the host country makes the athlete a naturalized citizen and offers him or her a passport.

    That’s what happened to Chris and Cathy Reed’s little sister Allison, who’s just 15. She doesn’t skate for the U.S. or Japan. She’s competing on behalf of the nation of Georgia.

    Allison and current ice dancing partner Otar Japaridze connected after both were left without partners. Japaridze, who’s from Georgia, had been training at the same rink as Allison in New Jersey. They paired up in May 2009, and Allison received her Georgian passport from the country’s president just weeks before the start of the winter games.”

    The Xinhua article expresses a similar kind of curiousity in elucidating the connection that Zulfiya had to China, as the ABCNews articles does about the Reed family kids.

    No one accuses the US of trying to “claim” these athletes just because an article appears about this subject.

    The propaganda value of this claim against China (which is repeated in multiple news outlets) is to associate China’s claims over the Kazakh weightlifters as equivalent to its claims over various territories. Take a look at some of the comments to the CNN article.

  84. RaymondC
    August 5th, 2012 at 09:30 | #84

    @perspectivehere

    @YinYang

    Hi, has anyone else had any problems logging on to the site? I couldn’t post earlier, so I tried starting up a new profile, but even that took a few attempts.

    I agree with everything you say above. The BBC article is biassed at all levels. I read the xinhua article you linked to and you are spot on: Xinhua reported no such thing.

    I only listed how the article is biassed in terms of selection, title and choice of words above because I thought that was enough to highlight the bias. It would stand to reason that the content of such an article would be the same or worse. Everything about that BBC article is biassed. When I posted on it earlier I should have gone on and highlighted bias at all levels and checked for false claims.

    Watcher/Ray

  85. RaymondC
    August 5th, 2012 at 10:12 | #85

    @YinYang

    @perspectivehere

    If you are further interested in the blatant bias in that BBC article, look carefully at how Kazakhstan is referred to :

    ‘Kazakhstan racked up an impressive three golds…..’
    ‘the government is often keen to point out that peace and harmony amongst these peoples is one its greatest priorities.’
    ‘The oil-rich country is also fiercely proud’

    This presents Kazakhstan in a very positive light (China gets no introduction), so that when the crux of the article arrives, the reader is already ‘pre-conditioned’ to empathising with Kazakhstan:

    ‘So when the Chinese state news agency Xinhua claimed that the two weightlifters were in fact Chinese, the authorities accused their Eastern neighbours of poor sportsmanship.’

    Now, look again at the wording of the above. The article uses the word ‘sportsmanship’. The BBC, being a UK-centric media organisation, is appealing to the supposed sensibilities of its readership!

    The bias in this article is serious, but as YinYang points out above, the most serious thing is that Xinhua did not claim that they were Chinese.

  86. pug_ster
    August 6th, 2012 at 09:21 | #86

    The latest stupidity from the Western Propaganda was from Sun Yang’s 1500m freestyle swim in his supposingly ‘false start.’ WSJ and Washington Post got caught red handed in doing this. Swimmers are told to stand up because of all of the background noise and many swimmers often start. I mean Missy Franklin did the same thing and there was no ‘controversy’ about it. The only good thing is that not many Western Media picked up in this kind of garbage after the Ye Shiwen fiasco.

  87. Charles Liu
    August 6th, 2012 at 11:04 | #87

    Seems even when Katie Ledecky swims too fast, it is Ye Shiwen who doped. Here are the Google News search counts for given keywords:

    “Katie Ledecky” – 37,800
    “Katie Ledecky doping” – 2,400 (6.3% of Katie Ledecky articles mention doping)

    “Katie Ledecky Ye Shiwen doping” – 648 (27% of “Katie Ledecky doping” articles mentions Ye Shiwen)

    “Ye Shiwen” – 114,000
    “Ye Shiwen doping” – 23,900 (21% of Ye Shiwen aticles mention doping)

  88. Zack
    August 6th, 2012 at 11:07 | #88

    fellas, this is the crux of the problem: white anglos simply cannot accept that an Asian can best them in a sports match. This belief which stems from the colonial era is so deep rooted that if an Asian wins a gold medal it must be from doping; this belief that Asians are simply genetically inferior and unManly induces such disbelief, shock and outrage when whites have to accept being second place to an Asian. So the White Press makes up excuses to accommodate their prejudices: the Chinese must be doping, or something dodgy is going on etc etc.

  89. Charles Liu
    August 6th, 2012 at 12:09 | #89

    Now that Katie Ledecky has done even more amazing WR smashing PB improvement, at her 1st ever international meet, I guess it’s slightly possible Ye didn’t dope:

    http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1284263-2012-summer-olympics-katie-ledeckys-performance-should-help-ye-shiwens-case

    Notice the term “should help”, not exoneration, just a little less unbelievable now.

  90. RaymondC
    August 6th, 2012 at 13:36 | #90

    @Zack

    I have to disagree with you there, Zack, I’ve read many articles here recently that have praised the Chinese teams and attributed their incredible success to hard work, dedication and high-quality training. How about this article, which I read over breakfast the other day:

    London 2012 Olympics: China’s table tennis elite maintain world dominance of former English parlour game http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/olympics/9447947/London-2012-Olympics-Chinas-table-tennis-elite-maintain-world-dominance-of-former-English-parlour-game.html

    There’s really no denying the dominance of the Chinese athletes in numerous sports. I’ve been glued to the telly throughout the olympics, at the end of the events, you almost always see the athletes, regardless of their nationality or ethnicity, coming together and congratulating or consoling eachother. I have yet to notice any ‘disbelief, shock and outrage’.

  91. pug_ster
    August 6th, 2012 at 13:42 | #91

    It is a joke. Katie Ledecky improved her 800m by 11 seconds in one month, and Ye Shiwen improved her best time by 5 seconds in 2 years. Yet the western propaganda is making up stories about Ye Shiwen.

  92. perspectivehere
    August 6th, 2012 at 15:57 | #92

    RaymondC wrote: “I’ve read many articles here recently that have praised the Chinese teams and attributed their incredible success to hard work, dedication and high-quality training. How about this article, which I read over breakfast the other day”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^
    Very funny.

    The Telegraph piece on Chinese dominance of table tennis is “damning praise” – it sounds like praise but it really is disparagement. See this definition:

    “Damn with faint praise is an English idiom for words that effectively condemn by seeming to offer praise which is too moderate or marginal to be considered praise at all. In other words, this phrase identifies the act of expressing a compliment so feeble that it amounts to no compliment at all, or even implies a kind of condemnation.”

    With this in mind, look at the headline and subheadline:

    “London 2012 Olympics: China’s table tennis elite maintain
    world dominance of former English parlour game”

    “This is the story of how China took the traditional British parlour game of table tennis,
    adapted and innovated it, turned it into one of the most ruthless winning machines in sport,
    and then unleashed it in our own backyard.”

    [Propaganda works by images. What images are evoked by these words?]

    [Negative scare-mongering images:] “world dominance”, “ruthless winning machines”, “unleashed it in our own backyard”

    [Belittling images:] “English parlour game”

    Going through the piece gives more examples:

    1. “What appears to set them apart is a preternatural instinct for the sport”
    [translation: Chinese have instincts that are not human]

    2. “As an opponent’s shot moves towards them, their brain is already busy plotting”
    [Chinese are schemers. “Plotting” is a word that carries negative connotations in English, meaning “plan secretly, usually something illegal” and synoyms are “conspire”, “scheme” and “intrigue”.]

    3. “The words of Henry Kissinger – One of the most remarkable gifts of the Chinese is to make the meticulously planned appear spontaneous” — seem particularly apt.”
    [Drawing a link between the behavior of the table tennis players and China’s diplomacy and foreign policy]

    4. “In this country, you see, table tennis is a pub game, a parlour pursuit, the game of youth clubs, middle-class garages and prison recreation rooms.”
    [Translation: no one takes it seriously, it’s not a real sport, it’s a trivial pursuit. “Prison recreation room” – cannot believe he brought in this image in an article about the Olympics – brings in imagery of loss of freedom.]

    5. “A large part of China’s incredible success in the sporting arena has stemmed from the willingness of its athletes to ignore personal impulses — indeed, not to recognise them at all — in the name of the greater good.”
    [Dehumanizing image, Chinese are successful because they dehumanize themselves, like robots. This echoes “ruthless winning machine”.]

    6. “You realise that these are not individual athletes, not in the way that we in the West understand the term. Instead, it is more helpful to think of them as cogs in a larger machine, or models off the production line.”
    [No translation necessary – the writer is dehumanizing them before our eyes.]

    7. “Those who would give up liberty to purchase a few table tennis medals, deserve neither liberty nor table tennis medals, as Benjamin Franklin would almost certainly have said had he been at these Olympics.”
    [Translation: now we get to the political conclusion of the piece – the Chinese are trapped and need to be liberated. They don’t even know they are slaves, poor things.]

    8. “God knows what will happen if they ever get hold of darts.” [Ridicule. But darts have a pointy end, so maybe more dangerous?]

    **************
    As expected, the readers’ comments are overwhelmingly negative. Some go down a racial stereotyping line, about certain sports being suited for certain races, while others talk about the lack of individuality, like this one:

    “Watching the reactions of these winning Chinese athletes, I am almost saddened that all the joy appears to have been sucked out of their sport.”

    This article distances the Chinese athletes from the audience. The mutual respect, sympathy and understanding that the Olympics are supposed to bring towards other countries are undercut by articles like this one.
    ****************

    Don’t forget the visual element. Look at the picture. It shows Zhang Jike, whose face looks shrivelled, like a shrunken head. Man, what an ugly, scary, pathetic dude.

    But here are some friendlier pictures of him and even some beefcake photos.

    http://www.ittf.com/stories/pictures/zhang_jike_26_02_10_Large.jpg

    http://news.e23.cn/content/2012-08-03/2012080300177_2.html

    http://news.e23.cn/content/2012-08-03/2012080300177_4.html

    http://news.e23.cn/content/2012-08-03/2012080300177_5.html

    Does anyone think the Telegraph article “praised the Chinese teams and attributed their incredible success to hard work, dedication and high-quality training.”?

  93. perspectivehere
    August 6th, 2012 at 17:09 | #93

    Further to my comment above :-

    This piece, “Framing Your Competition” by PR industry blogger Andrew Collins (who coincidentally is based in Shanghai) helps to see the technique at work in the Telegraph article above:

    Andrew considers the question of how to deal with one’s competition in public without resorting to (1) bashing (2) ignoring? The answer is “damning praise”. He considers this “the most tactical (yet brash) method”, and his advice is to “create a message that can stick which clearly positions you as a ‘better offering’ whilst not knocking the competition.”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

    “Framing Your Competition

    How does a brand speak of the competition in public? Its not such an obscure question with today’s online trends, ease of chatter and likelihood of debates that you should consider a framework for how to do this most effectively. Anything worth doing will encounter competition – if not its unlikely to be worthwhile enough.

    The most common and easiest ways of doing this are typically either to ‘bash’ the competition; make loud obnoxious statements about how poor they are and beat them to a pulp. Or the other common practice is to simply ignore it all together. Many brands, codes of sport, clubs just prefer to ‘not comment’ when asked of the competition. Both have some merits…Mohammad Ali did enjoy the the first alternative.

    A third and what I’ll suggest can be the most tactical (yet brash) method is to frame the competition with bashful praise. Create a message that can stick which clearly positions you as a ‘better offering’ whilst not knocking the competition. But first, in order to arrive at your ‘framed position’ you’ll need to follow these steps.

    1. List what you both can offer or do
    2. List what you can do and they cannot
    3. List what they can do and you cannot

    By doing this you will force yourself to acknowledge your shortfalls and also acquire an arsenal of information with which to corner your competitors with damning praise.”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^

    “Framing your competition” is a more subtle form of the “bashing” that you see in articles like this one:

    “Torture or training? Inside the brutal Chinese gymnasium where the country’s future Olympic stars are beaten into shape
    Nanning Gymnasium in Nanning, China, is one of many ruthless training camps in China
    Here children, some as young as five, battle to complete the demanding routines on bars, rings, and mats

  94. August 6th, 2012 at 17:09 | #94

    @perspectivehere
    I’ve had enough with watcher/raymondc/or whatever. Reminds me of a porn troll who was very persistent in trying to derail popular threads on HH. Whenever a high-trafficked article (such as this one) is linked he’d undoubtedly come.

    That scum used a spam VPN service and was constantly on HH pretending to be different people.

    His approach now seems to be extreme politeness, throwing out these fake articles, and unless you spend the time to debunk, you’d be fooled if you accept on face value.

    I’ll continue to ban this fool.

  95. Charles Liu
    August 6th, 2012 at 19:46 | #95

    @RaymondC

    Thank you for pointing out yet more Western media bias. When Chinese do well, table tennis suddenly is “former English parlour game”. And badminton was played with shuttleCOCK by courteasans and fancy boys in lacy nickers, right old chap?

  96. Sigmar
    August 6th, 2012 at 23:55 | #96

    “Those who would give up liberty to purchase a few table tennis medals, deserve neither liberty nor table tennis medals, as Benjamin Franklin would almost certainly have said had he been at these Olympics.”

    This phrase is absolutely sickening. And to think it is written by by an ethnic Chinese. As one astute reader by the name nycto points out:

    “What non-sense are you talking by accusing the Chinese athletes alone of giving up liberty to purchase a few medals? Are you saying that they are slaves just because they said that they felt less pressured when the final is between themselves than with a foreign athlete? You must have never taken any classes of logic or have never gone to college to learn how to reason properly. Did you not realize that almost all the Olympic athletes are also representing and fighting for their country, not just for their “individual or personal impulses”? What was the difference between what the Chinese athletes said and what other athletes felt or did?”

    But it’s more than that. Who says the Chinese gave up liberty to win? They win because they want to, not because they’re forced to. In fact, since members from the British team did not train as hard, they have given up the freedom to work for a gold medal. So this piece of opinion from Liew, the journalist, is not needed. It’s rubbish. The Chinese fully deserve their medals. If Benjamin Franklin is watching the games, he would lament the amount of China-bashing, because it doesn’t seem to do America’s medal tally any favours.

    This conception that China is a “soulless” medal producing factory must be fought against. I urge you all to support nycto’s statement by just clicking on “reccommend”.

  97. JJ
    August 7th, 2012 at 07:47 | #97

    @perspectivehere

    Excellent point! I’ve noticed that as well in how the Western corporate media reports on China, for example using loaded words like nationalistic whereas others are merely patriotic.

    And very good point about the pictures.

  98. Zack
    August 7th, 2012 at 10:08 | #98

    perhaps it’s time to address the issues by talking to the editors or chiefs of these western media outlets? AFter all, they’re the ones who determine what gets printed and what doesn’t.

    Anyhoo, i wonder, why doesn’t say CNC World just purchase the NYT or LAT or The Guardian or the BBC?:P or buy up a contolling stake in AJE? surely that’d be easier, no?:P

  99. perspectivehere
    August 7th, 2012 at 14:45 | #99

    Zack :
    perhaps it’s time to address the issues by talking to the editors or chiefs of these western media outlets? AFter all, they’re the ones who determine what gets printed and what doesn’t.
    Anyhoo, i wonder, why doesn’t say CNC World just purchase the NYT or LAT or The Guardian or the BBC?:P or buy up a contolling stake in AJE? surely that’d be easier, no?:P

    There is a group of organizations in America that belong to the “Asian Pacific American Media Coalition”. Its aim is to improve portrayals of Asians in the American media, and its member organizations include these:

    Asian Americans Justice Center (AAJC)
    Media Action Network for Asian Americans
    East West Players
    Japanese American Citizens League
    Organization of Chinese Americans

    See this press release announcing an MOU between Comcast/NBC Universal and Asian American media coalition as an example of what the combination of these organizations together with some sympathetic government representatives (2 Asian American Congress people) can accomplish:

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*
    “Washington, D.C. (December 15, 2010) – U.S. Rep. Mike Honda (CA-15), chair of the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and Rep. Judy Chu (CA-32), chair of CAPAC’s Economic Development Task Force, applaud Comcast and NBC Universal for signing an memorandum of understanding (MOU) with key Asian American and Pacific Islander organizations.

    The two said this agreement is critical for investments in the AAPI community that would be triggered by a merger between Comcast and NBC Universal.

    Throughout this Congress, CAPAC leaders have made media diversity a top priority, particularly with the pending merger between Comcast and NBC Universal. Through congressional hearings, meetings, and other engagement with top executives from both companies, CAPAC leaders have consistently pressed the corporations to improve corporate board diversity, diversity among senior executives, investments in AAPI programming, and diversity in workforce and procurement.

    “I am pleased that Comcast and NBC Universal have met their pledge to our caucus to strengthen their commitment to the AAPI community,” said Honda. “For too long, mainstream media has silenced Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders by stereotyping our communities as kung-fu fighters, math nerds, and dragon ladies with one dimensional personalities.

    “Despite the fact that AAPIs spend more money per year than any other racial group, this disregard has gone on for too long due to lack of diversity in the board rooms, among senior executives, and behind and in front of the camera,” he added. “The significant investments made by Comcast and NBC Universal today raise the bar for the entire industry.

    Rep. Honda congratulated Karen Narasaki, executive director, Asian American Justice Center, calling her a “friend and fierce advocate” for her leadership in negotiating this MOU, along with the rest of the Asian American Media Coalition.

    Rep. Chu said that with over $500 billion in annual buying power, Asian Americans are a powerful force in the U.S. consumer market. Unfortunately, she added, Asian Americans continue to be underrepresented in media and in management positions at the nation’s largest media companies.

    “With this agreement, Comcast has committed to increasing the presence of Asian Americans on television, in the board room, and in the workplace,” said Chu. “I applaud the Asian American Media Coalition for their contribution to the Asian American community in negotiating this historic agreement.”

    Over the past decade, Asian American buying power has increased 98 percent. The Asian population is growing faster than the total population and is relatively young.

    Over the next five years, Asian buying power is expected to grow an additional 42 percent, from $544 billion this year to $775 billion in 2015. The share of buying power controlled by Asian consumers rose in nearly every state during the past decade.

    The ten states with the largest Asian consumer markets, in order, are California ($172 billion), New York ($54 billion), Texas ($34 billion), New Jersey ($34 billion), Illinois ($24 billion), Hawaii ($23 billion), Washington ($18 billion), Florida ($75 billion), Virginia ($17 billion), and Massachusetts ($14 billion), according to the Selig Center.

    Despite this purchasing power, 87 percent of Asian Americans are dissatisfied with how they are portrayed on television, according to The Ronin Group.

    The MOU was negotiated between Comcast and NBC Universal and the Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, which includes the Asian American Justice Center, East West Players, Japanese American Citizens League, Organization of Chinese Americans and Media Action Network for Asian Americans.

    The 16-page document details investments such as expanding distribution of Asian American owned-and-operated and targeted programming, as well as launching a new video on demand offering called Cinema Asian America as part of its standard digital package. This package will ultimately be available to 18 million subscribers.

    Comcast will also dedicate at least $1 million in investments over three years to strengthen a pipeline for AAPI themed programming, and also makes commitments to diversifying its procurement and workforce. The MOU outlines a plan to identify AAPI candidates for future board openings, as well as designate a senior executive as an AAPI community liaison.

    Comcast and NBC Universal will also establish an Asian American Advisory Council to be constituted of nine AAPI leaders.

    The Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus is comprised of Members of Congress of Asian and Pacific Islander descent and members who have a strong dedication to promoting the well-being of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. Since 1994, CAPAC has been addressing the needs of the AAPI community in all areas of American life. For more information on CAPAC, please call 202-225-2631 or visit http://www.honda.house.gov/capac.”

    *^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*^*

    So these are some of the channels by which influence on media companies can be directed.

    Another way is direct action & protest demonstrations. These were successful in getting Abercrombie and Fitch to withdraw their racist Asian T-shirts.

    I’m not sure the proposal to buy “NYT or LAT or The Guardian or the BBC” will go over all that well. It’s not a question of money – after all, there are many other countries and ethnic groups that could afford to buy these outlets for better coverage. There would be enormous backlash from the readership however. I think what happens in practice is that the interests of the owners somehow align with better portrayal of Chinese.

    This is actually one of those areas where “lobbying” and “PR work” helps. Lobbyists work best not by handing a brown envelope with cash (although I’m sure that type of lobbying does go on at certain places). They work best by explaining to the target how the target’s interests can align with those of the client, so the target should go along with the client’s proposal. Re-read the press release on the MOU with Comcast/NBC Universal – it shows the “selling points” to the media organizations quite clearly:

    “Rep. Chu said that with over $500 billion in annual buying power, Asian Americans are a powerful force in the U.S. consumer market. Unfortunately, she added, Asian Americans continue to be underrepresented in media and in management positions at the nation’s largest media companies.”

    I think the strongest “selling point” Chinese have to offer is that it is a potential market, and media outlets should not alienate their target audience and customers. This is why I think eventually, people will get the message that it is in their interest to have more accurate portrayals of Chinese. The economic power needs to translate into cultural influence. But this process takes time to change “hearts and minds”.

    In fact, to say “we will buy you” is itself troubling and offensive to people. That is not the message you want people to remember because it is demeaning. But to say, we will not buy your products/services unless you stop negative portrayals of our group – this is quite acceptable. Both are forms of economic influence, but one is far more effective and lasting than the other.

    Of course, in the long run, ownership of some media organizations is essential, as is having people who are savvy about media. This takes time to develop.

  100. perspectivehere
    August 7th, 2012 at 17:37 | #100

    No gloating needed. We can simply enjoy that justice is being done and a wrong is being righted.

    Now apologies should come from BBC, BBC anchor Clare Balding, John Leonard and Ross Tucker.

    See this:

    Science journal apologises over Ye controversy
    After initially standing by article taken as backing doping accusation against swimming sensation, Nature admits data error Aug 08, 2012

    “Science journal Nature has apologised to Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen and its readers for a controversial article that some interpreted as supporting unproven doping accusations against her.
    In an editor’s note released on its website on Monday, Nature admitted an error in its data about Ye’s performance, and the “absence of a more detailed discussion” of statistics.

    “This article has drawn an extraordinary level of outraged response,” the note said. “The story’s intention as an Explainer was to examine how science can help resolve debates over extraordinary performances.”

    Nature explained why it had changed the subtitle of the story online from the original “‘Performance profiling’ could help catch sports cheats” to “‘Performance profiling’ could help dispel doubts”.

    “The original version of the title was unfair to the swimmer Ye Shiwen and did not reflect the substance of the story. We regret that the original appeared in the first place,” it said.

    “We also regret that the original story included an error about the improvement in Ye’s time for the 400-metre individual medley: she improved by 7 seconds since July 2011, not July 2012.”

    The note continued by saying the article “gave the impression that we were supporting accusations against her … This was emphatically not our intention. For that, we apologise to our readers and to Ye Shiwen.””

    Here is the link to the Nature website.

  101. perspectivehere
    August 7th, 2012 at 18:05 | #101

    Hmmm….

    “Nature is considered by the scientific community as one of the most prestigious academic journals in the world. Its major editing office is in London.”

    http://www.china.org.cn/sports/2012londonolympics/2012-08/07/content_26148881.htm

    The American (John Leonard) is the one who gets blamed but the UK’s Guardian was the one who quoted him, and the BBC’s anchor Clare Balding was the one who started this off.

    Now BBC is backing off.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19116749

    British propaganda. Meh.

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