Posts Tagged ‘olympics’

(Letter) Bella Caroli: China cheated with underage gymnasts

August 13th, 2008 No comments

Last night after the women’s gymnastics team final, NBC announcer Bella Caroli commented that the Chinese team cheated with underage athletes, and their passports were doctored by the Chinese government. Read more…

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The cruelest insults come from ones pretending to speak as the righteous

August 13th, 2008 158 comments


At the risk of being seen as running an excessive self and cross promotional campaign, I highly recommend all interested readers to check out ESWN’s take on some of the irresponsible media reports in this case, particularly the collection of quotes from various medias, and the latest comment on the “uneven teeth” meme such reports created. Roland is very gracious in claiming only to frame this very post, but I think his “re-framing” does a very effective job in making the point.

I should also point out some subtle but extremely damaging distortions introduced and propagated by the media reports that earned my ire. As reflected by a Chinese blogger on his second posting on this matter after listening to the entire interview of Chen (H/T to ESWN again):


The words of Chen Qigang are used by the media out of context and are distorted. First, Chen did not say that Yang Peiyi was considered not good in appearance. He merely pointed out that Lin Miaoke was considered to have the best image. Second, when Chen talked about national interest, he was claiming that the national interest was served by combining the best stage presence with the best singing voice [to present the best perceived performance]. He did not mean that it was a matter of “national interest” to hide Yang Peiyi from the camera.

Read more…

An imperfect perfection

August 12th, 2008 176 comments

Note: an update is inserted at the end.

The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony was, by most accounts, a brilliantly choreographed and spectacularly executed performance worth of a gold medal of its own. There were a fair number of notable highlights, and many journalists certainly were not shy from exhausting all the synonyms of the word “stunning” in the thesaurus in describing those scenes.

High on many Chinese viewers’ list of the most moving moments, however, is one that might not be easily appreciated by foreign audiences. Early in the process, China’s national flag was brought into the Bird’s Nest and raised while an young girl in a red dress stood singing “Hymn to the Motherland”. This song is perhaps best explained as the equivalent of “God Bless America” and is similarly considered an unofficial national anthem by many. The simple lyric line

歌唱我们亲爱的祖国,从今走向繁荣富强。 “We sing to our beloved motherland, on her way towards prosperity and strength.”

captures the hope and pride of so many Chinese for so long in merely 17 characters.
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(Letter) Olympics Broadcasting Schedule (US)

August 11th, 2008 No comments

H/T to The Boston Globe for a concise “Olympics TV Guide“.

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(Letter) Who are you watching at the 2008 Olympic Games?

August 11th, 2008 25 comments

No. I don’t mean the protesters or the political dudes mugging for the photo op. Read more…

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The Olympics Demonstrate China's "Soft Power": on Baloney and Silliness.

August 10th, 2008 103 comments

Watching the NBC broadcast of the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing gave me a sleepless night. Something about the ceremony and the games bothered me. I had to think it trough.

What do you make of the following features of the Opening Ceremony? Read more…

Categories: Analysis Tags: , , ,

(Letter) Watching the Opening Ceremony with a few thousand Tianjiners

August 10th, 2008 5 comments

My wife and I, along with a German, an Aussie, a TCK (third culture kid), and an American watched the Opening Ceremonies on a giant screen in one of Tianjin’s biggest parks. There were thousands of people there, and very few foreigners. We’ve posted pictures, video, and blogged the experience, particularly the crowd’s reactions to different things (Watching the Opening Ceremony with a few thousand Tianjiners!).
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Who got the loudest cheers at the Opening Ceremony?

August 8th, 2008 133 comments

One of the interesting things about the Opening Ceremony is the outside world gets to see (or is made to pay attention to) a slice of raw Chinese public opinion on full display.

Besides obviously the home team, Taiwan probably got the loudest cheers from the Chinese crowd at the Bird’s Nest today, a sure head-scratcher to foreign pundits stuck in a brain warp, I’m sure, but no real surprise to Chinese people and those who know China.

As we watch the Opening Ceremony, let’s make a list of the teams that got the loudest cheers from the Chinese crowd today. It is bound to be interesting.
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Categories: culture, media, News Tags: ,

Will we see a "Thank You, China" banner from the European and American attendants to the Olympics?

August 8th, 2008 48 comments

The closing ceremony parade would be the most appropriate occasion for such expression of appreciation. Who will be the most likely among the spectators to display such affectionate banners, resident laowais or first time visitors?

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Japanese athletes and spectators brace against booing in Beijing. Are they over-reacting?

August 7th, 2008 27 comments

How will Japanese athletes and their supporters be received during the Olympic Games in Beijing? Will they be booed by Chinese spectators? Will the Chinese show the propriety to stand up in respect when the Japanese national flag is raised and the Japanese national anthem played in the award-giving ceremonies?

From their past experiences in sports engagements with China, the Japanese are worried. How are they preparing themselves for possible slights and confrontations with the Chinese?

Do you think the spirit of hospitality in the Chinese governments’ adivce on the 8 questions Chinese shuold not ask foreigners during the Olympics will help put our Japanese visitors at ease?

This article is from the Sankei website (original in Japanese). 北京五輪で日本人の気骨を, by 平和・安全保障研究所理事長, 西原正, Fujisankei Communications Group, Opinion Magazine, July 29, 2008. Read more…

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(Letter) Wearing Masks During Olympics?

August 7th, 2008 No comments

With the Beijing Games days away, the air quality issue has again surfaced, appearantly above the haze that’s settled on the city in the last couple days: Read more…

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(Letter from es.nautilus) Handling Olympic protests in Beijing – a ‘test case’?

August 6th, 2008 36 comments

Four members of the activist group, Students for a Free Tibet, have staged a lamppost protest in Beijing, unfurling a banner that read, ‘One World, One Dream – Free Tibet’, as the Olympic torch relay entered its final stage in the host city on Wednesday 6 August. All four – two British and two American nationals, holding tourist visas – have been arrested and are currently in police custody. In their interviews with the BBC, parents of the two British protesters spoke of their pride and explained that they were otherwise not unduly concerned about their children’s safety. They added that following the arrests the British students had made direct contact with their respective families, confirming that they had been treated well in custody. It is believed that they will now be entered into the deportation process within the coming days, whilst human rights campaign groups, including Students for a Free Tibet, have claimed further protests will follow in the weeks ahead. Read more…

Categories: Analysis, News Tags: , , ,

Olympic torch relay – the Chinese village version

August 2nd, 2008 13 comments

This series of pictures comes from an amateur photographer in Henan province (连接).  It’s of a self-made torch relay at a local school and restaurant, in a small village in the mountains of Henan province.  No corporate sponsors, no media coverage… just possibly the best relay this year.
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What do some Western journalists want from Beijing?

August 2nd, 2008 66 comments

Behind a thin vaneer of professionalism, it’s not inaccurate to say many Western journalists are hoping for the worst from these Olympics.  Some have been honest enough to admit it.  Here’s a collection of choice quotes:

Read more…

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(Letter) Why Has 'China Bashing' Become So Popular?

August 1st, 2008 14 comments

Alan Miller of Huffington Post explains the rise in negative reporting on China, and the bigger picture beyond the Olympics.

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(Letter from xiaotaibei) Hospitality in China

July 29th, 2008 26 comments

A first-person account of a trip to Beijing: I’m pretty amazed by the hospitality in China, especially how it keeps getting better and better. It’s not just the hospitality, it’s all the little things of general people behavior.

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Categories: Letters Tags: , , , ,

Can the Chinese government let people have a good time?

July 28th, 2008 38 comments

Here is a article “Wild dogs of nationalism let off the leash” on Beijing 08 blogs of Sydney Morning Herald by award winning sports writer John Birmingham. The Article starts with

Picture a couple of Falun Gong dudes, or a Tibetan Monk sitting in a cell, waiting for the Games to finish so they can be executed and give up their organs for harvest. Read more…

Buxi is home – 7/25 update

July 25th, 2008 15 comments

Quick update… although we don’t use this as our personal blog, this is a good time to mention I’ve just arrived in Beijing.  Everyone in my family is fighting upper-respiratory infections (picked up in the US), and at times I wasn’t sure we’d make the flight… but we’re here.

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Olympics fever still running hot

July 23rd, 2008 8 comments

Tickets to remaining Olympic events are going on sale on Friday (July 25th). On Water-Wood BBS (水木社区), people were talking about spending Thursday night in line. But now most are shocked to find that that very long lines have already formed Wednesday night; thousands of Beijing’ers are planning to camp out two nights to purchase what few tickets remain.

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(Letter from yo) China caught offering “gene doping” to athletes

July 23rd, 2008 15 comments

Go here for full article.  Some notable quotes: “A German television report on the availability of gene doping in China has stunned anti-doping experts shortly before the Beijing Olympics.  … In a documentary by ARD television, a Chinese doctor offers stem-cell therapy to a reporter posing as an American swimming coach.” Read more…

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(Letter from Bob) China to set up designated protest zones for Beijing Olympics

July 23rd, 2008 15 comments

Saw on AP reports that

Beijing will set up specially designated zones for protesters during next month’s Olympics … Liu Shaowu, director for security for the Beijing Olympic organizing committee, said Wednesday that areas in at least three public parks near outlying sporting venues have been set aside for use by demonstrators.

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(Letter from Joel) Tianjin’s LaoBaiXing on the Olympics

July 20th, 2008 13 comments

(This is excerpted from: Tianjin’s “Old Hundred Names” on the Olympics)

Here’s what some of our neighbours and others from our daily routines in the city think about the Olympics. I asked them, “What do the Olympics means to Chinese people?” (奥运会对中国人有什么意义?) and “Why are they doing so much preparation?” (我听说中国为了奥运会作很多准备。为什么是这样?)

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The danger of categorically accusing others of prejudice

July 18th, 2008 65 comments

Tom Miller of the South China Morning Post has generated somewhat doubtful outrages with an article alleging Beijing ordered bars not to serve blacks. For now, however, Beijing Boyce seems to have seriously deflated the credibility of Tom Miller’s work. (H/T Danwei) Read more…

Make guests feel at home and follow the customs of your host

July 18th, 2008 26 comments

There is a heated debate going on regarding the lack of Chinese characters on China’s official Olympics uniforms in contrast with those on German’s sportswear.

Personally, I see no point in not printing Chinese text on China’s official uniforms. But for this post, I will purposely play the role of a “CCP apologist” and try to put these things in positive terms. 😉 Besides, I will explain two frequently used Chinese phrases and hopefully cast some light on a particular aspect of the Chinese culture.

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Why the Beijing Olympics are already a success

July 17th, 2008 39 comments

Despite all of the predictions of doom and concern, I believe the Olympics are already a success.  The WSJ reports world and business leaders are crowding China’s red carpet in an unprecedented way:

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Categories: General, News Tags: ,

The Chinese Olympic Journey

July 15th, 2008 45 comments

“We went out to swim in the big pond, but ended up finding ourselves. The ocean did not drawn us, just made us wiser and better”. This was a bit of sentimentality I shared with an undergraduate classmate who also came to the United States for graduate school and spent years trying to “make it” out here. The same sentiment parallels the Chinese experience with the Olympics in particular and their transactions with the world in general, since Deng Xiaoping opened the window on the world (allowing the flies to come in, along with some good stuff).

Two recent Western comments on the Chinese preparation for the Beijing Olympics caught my eye. 1. According to James Fallows, the Chinese authorities’ tightening of control over the situation was defeating their own purpose of impressing their audience – the West, especially its media. 2. Meanwhile, Richard Spencer at the Daily Times started to wonder aloud over his fish pond in his Hutong residence who the games’ intended audience really was. Could it be that the Olympics were designed as a reward for the hardworking Chinese, instead of a “coming out party” to entertain foreigners? My first reaction was Spencer had a more astute grasp on the Chinese psyche. Then I realized both comments could be right, but apply to different stages of the Chinese experience with the Olympics.
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The art of PR: lying without technical falsehood

July 14th, 2008 38 comments

Reacting to reactions to a campaign that went too far, Amnesty International put the following disclaimer on its home page:

Amnesty International would like to make clear that it was not involved in the dissemination of a series of images that have been circulating on the web in relation to the Beijing Olympics. Amnesty International’s global website address is

The statement is not untrue per se. But some details were conveniently left out:

  • Amnesty International commissioned TBWA\Paris to produce those photos
  • It further granted permission to TBWA\Paris to run the ads once and enter them in the Cannes
  • The visuals were not final versions, and Amnesty International knew the wrong web address was a minor error

Try to view Amnesty International calmly (translated)

July 14th, 2008 170 comments

An advertising campaign commissioned by the human rights group Amnesty International has raised flames of anger throughout China. For previous discussions, see ESWN and Danwei.

Wall Street Journal has more details on the backlash, reporting:

Weeks before the Olympics put Beijing and the Games’ corporate backers on the world stage, an advertising heavyweight has stumbled over the divide between how some view China and how the nation views itself…. Word of the human-rights campaign is now spreading through China, and TBWA and Amnesty International are disavowing the ads.

Chinese bloggers, spurred by a report in state-run media of the Amnesty campaign last week, are now calling for a boycott of all TBWA ads, among other measures.

And many in China are indeed very angry. But there are other voices as well; below is a translated internet post from Xinmin Net: (原文):

Read more…

Can smog be used as a smokescreen?

July 13th, 2008 41 comments

Claire Fox is rather perceptive in her blog entry “Beijing Olympics: China’s green critics should get a grip“: Read more…

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Yellow River in Beijing

June 21st, 2008 5 comments

Let’s have a quick flashback to a happier time, when all of us thought 2008 would be a simple year full of celebration. Below is the Chinese piano prodigy Lang Lang, performing the Yellow River Piano Concerto on Tiananmen Square.  The date is 08/08/07, one full year before the start of the Beijing Olympics.

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