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Tempest on Table Tennis

During the round of 16 of Chengdu Table Tennis Open of men’s competition, 3 of the top Chinese champions and 2 of their coaches withdraw from competition and were disqualified. They also posted in Weibo their dissatisfaction over the reassignment of head coach ( a promotion, but really more kick up stair.). The resulting furor triggered mostly negative reactions from the fans mostly in favor of the athletes. They apologized a few days later, and expect punishments to be mete out soon. I suspect something like probably 6 months suspension from competition for the players and exile of the coaches. Observing the furor from afar I have no special expertise on the bureaucratic infighting of China’s athletic departments, but some conclusions can be drawn from this incident.
The target of the protest obvious is against the minister of national athletics. He initiated some overdue reforms which touch on the special interests. He limited the commercial interest in soccer and basketball by limiting the number of foreign players the various teams can buy to boast their teams. The recent scandal of female table tennis team coach on his gambling debt in Singapore ( as a communist party member he’s barred from even entering casino.) probably triggered the change in table tennis. Chinese table tennis has resumed domination in this sport recently, and fans are loath for any disturbances which will affect the status quo.
The question is not unrelated to President Xi’s anticorruption campaign. Xi has been trying to reinstate some socialism values by not just attacking obvious malfeasances such as bribery, none performance, and other monetary corruptions, but setting value systems like Mao was trying to do. He’s getting pushbacks by entrenched interests in all levels. What’s the value of Olympic gold medals and the resulting hero worships? Will China return to more socialism values and away from capitalism monetary rewards.

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