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China And Their Olympic/Sporting Aspirations?  
User currently offlineAA7295 From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 622 posts, RR: 0
Posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 4 days ago) and read 4027 times:

I was thinking about the rise of China in the sporting context and I came across this article:

http://www.news.com.au/sport/london-...-rush/story-fndpu6dv-1226443207625

It really just confirmed my opinions of China and how (in my opinion) they take it to the extreme. See in countries like Australia, USA, Canada, and European nations, an athlete is discovered and are given the option to train and develop their skills and realize that they have what it takes to compete in the Olympics both individually and for country.

The Chinese pluck these kids from school when they are identified as "potentials" and are put into a state-run farm like system where they train every day to win for Mother China. Where is the grace, dignity and liberty in that?

Then there was the case where the father of a Chinese diver hid the fact that the diver's mother had cancer so she could be more focused while competing. http://sports.nationalpost.com/2012/...arents-death-until-after-olympics/

I mean this is all very tacky. Do you think China has gone to far? I feel China is taking the spirit of sport to a grossly nationalistic level to boost "pro-China, pro-CCP" agenda.

44 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinearmitageshanks From UK - England, joined Dec 2003, 3638 posts, RR: 15
Reply 1, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 23 hours ago) and read 4011 times:

Amazingly, I think China is just now approaching early adolescence on the global level and that is, in this instance, reflecting itself in this part of their culture and government. Its a great advertising campaign for China, and it'll work.

They want to be the best and they are trying hard- and it shows. This mania will calm down in a few Olympics time when they realize they don't have to be so crazy about it and everyone will respect them and admire their athletes just as much without having to watch with skeptic enthusiasm when their athletes break down in total shame when they don't get top marks.


User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6647 posts, RR: 6
Reply 2, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3923 times:
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I read an interesting article on contrasting the 2008 Opening Ceremonies and the 2012 ones. How England showed with more confidence on who it is a nation - ill try to find it again


Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 3, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 3903 times:

When she was a little girl, my fiancee was one day playing volleyball with a couple of friends somewhere in Beijing when suddenly some strange man began to watch them. She has always been quite tall, and I imagine rather good in volleyball. The man followed her home, rang at the door and offered her parents to take her away to a national training camp, where she would henceforth live and play volleyball all day, in order to some day bring glory to the Chinese nation. They had to decide right there and then. Thankfully her parents told him to fuck off.   But just imagine how many poor Chinese parents give their children away to the state for them to be trained as competition machines, doing little else than practising every hour of every day, every year. No wonder they top the medal count.


Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineblink182 From Azerbaijan, joined Oct 1999, 5482 posts, RR: 15
Reply 4, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 15 hours ago) and read 3884 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 2):
- ill try to find it again

Is this it?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012...ony-ai-weiwei-review?newsfeed=true



Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6647 posts, RR: 6
Reply 5, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 14 hours ago) and read 3864 times:
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Quoting blink182 (Reply 4):
Is this it?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012...ony-ai-weiwei-review?newsfeed=true

No - it was not that one. It did have the same tone though, and brought up the same points.

Those articles coupled with this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bh1j5LP7wrs



Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineGEEZER From United States of America, joined Aug 2010, 1479 posts, RR: 2
Reply 6, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 13 hours ago) and read 3830 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 2):

I read an interesting article on contrasting the 2008 Opening Ceremonies and the 2012 ones. How England showed with more confidence on who it is a nation - ill try to find it again

I also read an article such as this, but I don't think it was the same one you're talking about. It made the point that China spent upwards or three or four hundred millions on their opening ceremony, whereas the Brits wisely "economized", taking into consideration their current economic "situation"; Personally, my hat is off to them ! I think they did a magnificent job; it sure didn't look like a "low budget" production to me.

Relative to the way China trains it's athletes..............it's not that different to the way the Soviets used to do it; only they went as far as to try to "buy" the judges ! All in all, I think China, the U.S. and Great Britain have done themselves proud in the competition so far.

I was watching the men's trampoline yesterday.........the young Chinese guy who won it was UNBELIEVABLE !

Then, as I watched the men's 10,000 M race, before it started the young black guy from G.B. came out, and I'm thinking, "no one is going to beat THAT guy ! Lol ! Turns out I was right.......he won the thing; even more unbelievable, Galen Rupp from the U.S. was able to hold the Ethiopians off and take the Silver ! Overall, I think it was one of the best 10,000 M's I have ever seen.

While I'm inclined to agree with the O.P. about the way China trains it's athletes, I realize that it's just the vast difference between the Communist "mind set", and that of the "free world".


I don't know if I can get this across in words or not, but the best analogy I can think of is, it kinda reminds me of the way a colony of ants (or termites) go about their lives............the "individual" is totally unimportant, it's all about the "colony", the "hive", "group" or whatever you want to call it. In "the west" we are more concerned about individual people.

Charley



Stupidity: Doing the same thing over and over and over again and expecting a different result; Albert Einstein
User currently offlineAA7295 From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 3769 times:

Quoting Rara (Reply 3):
When she was a little girl, my fiancee was one day playing volleyball with a couple of friends somewhere in Beijing when suddenly some strange man began to watch them. She has always been quite tall, and I imagine rather good in volleyball. The man followed her home, rang at the door and offered her parents to take her away to a national training camp, where she would henceforth live and play volleyball all day, in order to some day bring glory to the Chinese nation. They had to decide right there and then. Thankfully her parents told him to fuck off. But just imagine how many poor Chinese parents give their children away to the state for them to be trained as competition machines, doing little else than practising every hour of every day, every year. No wonder they top the medal count.

Urgh. That just makes me sick. And the fact that it is up to the parents not child!! Grrr! China really just disgusts me.

Quoting GEEZER (Reply 6):

I don't know if I can get this across in words or not, but the best analogy I can think of is, it kinda reminds me of the way a colony of ants (or termites) go about their lives............the "individual" is totally unimportant, it's all about the "colony", the "hive", "group" or whatever you want to call it. In "the west" we are more concerned about individual people.

I think you hit the nail on the head.


User currently offlineLTBEWR From United States of America, joined Jan 2004, 13170 posts, RR: 15
Reply 8, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 4 hours ago) and read 3708 times:

Almost all governments, including the USA, for over a century have used sports as a key political tool for their own people and to show 'superiority' to others including the USA. China is no different. They know winning more medals than the USA would say their country, their race/ethnicity and political system is superior to Europe and the USA.

As a result, China will do what it takes in money, cheating and seeking talent for future games to keep that up. For the families, especially poor ones, many are willing to go through great sacrifice including basically giving up their kids to the state, so they maybe get a better paying job, maybe preferred treatment from their government, get an education for the child they put up but perhaps for their other children but also relatively big money the chosen child that can bring them out of poverty. That money their child could bring home for a Olympic medal may be enough to buy some land, a tractor, go into a small business, maybe a car or truck and move up from their impoverished lives.


User currently offlineblink182 From Azerbaijan, joined Oct 1999, 5482 posts, RR: 15
Reply 9, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 3696 times:

Quoting GEEZER (Reply 6):
Relative to the way China trains it's athletes..............it's not that different to the way the Soviets used to do it;

David Maraniss' book, Rome 1960 details the differences between USSR and American athlete training. Of note, a lot of ideological recruiting occurred on both sides, and some USSR track athletes boasted of how they were provided with houses and other luxuries free of charge so that they could focus exclusively on their state-sponsored training. Most (ie, not Michael Phelps, Andy Murray, and the US M basketball team) athletes in the US and elsewhere likely do not get that kind of treatment in full. I don't agree with removing a child from home at age three and forcing him or her into a lifetime of training, but the ability to fully focus on training without worry of feeding you, your family, and covering your training costs, is a luxury that I'm sure a lot of athletes would love to have.



Give me a break, I created this username when I was a kid...
User currently offlineMD11Engineer From Germany, joined Oct 2003, 14131 posts, RR: 62
Reply 10, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 22 hours ago) and read 3650 times:

Quoting GEEZER (Reply 6):
I don't know if I can get this across in words or not, but the best analogy I can think of is, it kinda reminds me of the way a colony of ants (or termites) go about their lives............the "individual" is totally unimportant, it's all about the "colony", the "hive", "group" or whatever you want to call it. In "the west" we are more concerned about individual people.

The Nazis had the same attitude: Your people is everything, yourself is nothing. And was Hitler p#ssed off when black American Jesse Owens won the key events over a pure Aryan German athlete (who actually did not have a problem with Jesse Owens and the two of them became friends and helped each other in the contest).

Similarly heavy weight boxer Max Schmeling was toutet by the Nazis as example of the "German race´s superiority" over black American boxer Joe Louis, over whom he won in 1936. Two years later Joe Louis got his revenge and beat Max Schmeling. Out of revenge Max Schmeling was drafted into the paratroopers and was wounded in the battle of Greece (where most of his unit perished).
Joe Louis and Schmeling later became good friends. Schmeling, who after the war bought the Coca Cola franchise in his hometown Hamburg, became a quite wealthy businessman and helped out impoverished Joe Louis (and later paid for Joe Louis´s funeral).
Little known as well is that Max Schmeling risked his own life to hide two Jewish kids from the the Nazis.

Jan


User currently offlineHAWK21M From India, joined Jan 2001, 31702 posts, RR: 56
Reply 11, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 2 days 20 hours ago) and read 3627 times:

What happened to Kids being allowed to be kids........Is the Olympic medal worth it to a kid that has lost his childhood in training only.........
Win a medal & be happy too.



Think of the brighter side!
User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 12, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 3515 times:

Look, I don't completely disagree with what's posted. However, I don't think one should attach any value judgement to the two systems. Different countries, different system, simple as that. Instead of being a superior system, maybe it is simply the system one is accustomed with.

Quoting AA7295 (Thread starter):
Where is the grace, dignity and liberty in that?

For the athletes who actually represent their country, there is often no greater honour. When they drape themselves in their national flag, be it Chinese, Star & Stripes or Union Jack, I can't imagine a finer example of grace and dignity.


User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7342 posts, RR: 13
Reply 13, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago) and read 3504 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 12):
When they drape themselves in their national flag, be it Chinese, Star & Stripes or Union Jack, I can't imagine a finer example of grace and dignity.

I have seen several medallists do this while draping themselves in their national standard like it is a sweaty towel. I actually find it crass and low class. By all means run around with a flag on a flagpole where it belongs, but if you're going to be patriotic at least treat your flag with respect.

I was always taught to never drag a flag or drop it on the ground - and we saw how to treat a flag in the opening ceremony with the military flag drills and also the flag bearers who held their flag upright and didn't wave it/sweep it across the ground. It was also evident for many parts of the world how important the flag was and who they were representing, compared to the flippant and blase manor the Australians/Americans & Team GB and other 'western' teams behaved.

Personally I have no problem with the way the Chinese do things, provided drugs are not involved. ( I don't believe they are any longer - at least more than any other nation in London). I admire the old fashioned servitude present in Eastern Athletes same as I do when I fly SQ or CX or TG because it is something I find exceedingly difficult to do myself.

There was a Chinese athlete who sold his ONLY olympic gold medal to donate the proceeds to help people in his flooded home town/province - he won another one this Olympics... That shows the attitude that it is not an individual possession, but something for China. I doubt there would be many of the self-aggrandising athletes in the west that would do that.


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3486 times:

Quoting aerorobnz (Reply 13):

But to us, a flag is just a flag - its nothing more than a visual icon, it doesn't hold the same inherent value as it might for yourself. It's just fabric at the end of a day - it doesn't make the country, it doesn't form the people, it's just a flag and takes an entirely different priority in our form of "patriotism".


User currently offlineslider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6912 posts, RR: 34
Reply 15, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3472 times:

Quoting GEEZER (Reply 6):
Relative to the way China trains it's athletes..............it's not that different to the way the Soviets used to do it

I made that very comment to my wife whilst watching one of the little Chinese gymnast robot girls last night. Technically damn good, but no joy. What's the point of medaling if the journey, the fight, the emotion isn't part of the reward? Automatons most of them, unfortunately.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 12):
However, I don't think one should attach any value judgement to the two systems.

Spoken like a true moral relativist. I reject that statement. I think we SHOULD have the courage to say that yes, some systems, some cultures and some approaches are right and some are wrong. They're essentially athletic slaves. And we're never going to be able to see behind that curtain into their lives, how they're treated, etc. Champions get national glory, losers get what?

It's a horrible system. When I read about the swimmer who was stolen away from her family, not knowing her grandparents died or that her Mom had cancer, I got angry. Those kids are pawns for national pride.

I'll take the way our Olympians do it any day--it's a slog, self-funded, usually with greater competition, but they get it done.


User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 16, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 16 hours ago) and read 3467 times:

Quoting slider (Reply 15):
I'll take the way our Olympians do it any day--it's a slog, self-funded, usually with greater competition, but they get it done.

Yeah. The greatest athletic achievements becomes suddenly shallow and meaningless when you realize that that little girl has just performed her money shot - that all her life is dedicated solely to this one moment, this one performance. What's the value of a gold medal? Isn't the life of one person too high a price to pay? Of course I'm happy when German athletes win a competition, but I want them to be enthusiastic about it, and have a real life as well.



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 17, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day 15 hours ago) and read 3449 times:

Quoting slider (Reply 15):
It's a horrible system.

I think most athletic systems are horrible. Sure, Chinas might be "up there", but what I've seen of some western nations schemes (US and UK included), there's some truly terrible things going on closer to home as well.


User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 20 hours ago) and read 3358 times:

Quoting moo (Reply 14):
But to us, a flag is just a flag - its nothing more than a visual icon

This goes back to what I was saying. A flag takes on different importance in different people's mind. For Chinese athletes, individuality is not so important. Does that make those who value individuality wrong? Clearly not. At the same time, it does not lend credibility to those who insist what they value most is what's most important and that a system that places less importance onto those things/values is somewhat inferior.

Quoting slider (Reply 15):
I made that very comment to my wife whilst watching one of the little Chinese gymnast robot girls last night. Technically damn good, but no joy. What's the point of medaling if the journey, the fight, the emotion isn't part of the reward? Automatons most of them, unfortunately.

I find your "robot" comment offensive. Firstly, Chinese are well known for not betraying their emotions. Secondly, they are competing at the highest levels which require total concentration. This is not sitting in the concert hall listening to Mozart time. I don't know what you expected them to show. Thirdly, and most importantly, you are not in any position to judge what is going on in THEIR mind. You simply cannot know if "the journey, the fight, the emotion" is part of the the reward for them. Putting your own spin and bias into interpretation of other people's feeling is unreliable at best.

Quoting slider (Reply 15):
And we're never going to be able to see behind that curtain into their lives, how they're treated, etc. Champions get national glory, losers get what?

YOU may not be able to see, but it doesn't mean no one knows. Those who are less successful mostly go on to lead a relatively normal life. Some persists with sports, becoming trainers, coaches etc. Others leave sports and do whatever they can do. They will have injuries sustained during their career of course, but it is not like many (some do) end up on the street.

Quoting slider (Reply 15):
It's a horrible system. When I read about the swimmer who was stolen away from her family, not knowing her grandparents died or that her Mom had cancer, I got angry. Those kids are pawns for national pride.

Again, it is horrible to YOU. While I understand why you and many others think it is horrible, I remind you again that Chinese have different value systems. Sacrificing self for the country is not a recent thing, it is a highly desirable quality throughout thousands of years of Chinese history (and in other East/Northeastern Asian countries as well). You found your value system superior because you have been brought up this way and it is what's familiar to you. Finally, these kids are not stolen as that would be illegal. Their parents, for whatever consideration, elected to allow them to be trained this way. These kids don't lose contact with their parents, they are not in a jail.

Quoting Rara (Reply 16):
that all her life is dedicated solely to this one moment, this one performance.

Funny you should say that. Prior to the start of Olympics, there was an ad running on Australian TV featuring some of the Australian Olympians. One of them (a Caucasian) said all most exactly what I quoted above. Hunting for Olympic glory above everything else is definitely not a Chinese-only phenomenon.


User currently offlineRara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 19, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 17 hours ago) and read 3332 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 18):
Again, it is horrible to YOU. While I understand why you and many others think it is horrible, I remind you again that Chinese have different value systems. Sacrificing self for the country is not a recent thing, it is a highly desirable quality throughout thousands of years of Chinese history (and in other East/Northeastern Asian countries as well).

It's "highly desired" by the upper echelons perhaps. Let's not fool ourselves here - while Chinese culture is of course very different, Chinese people like to lead a self-determined life, doing what they enjoy, as much as anyone else. The olympic drilling camps don't exist because of some romantic East-Asian taste for sacrifice, but because a couple of old men want to show the world that they've got the longest willies, and they've got the power to do so. Our Western leader would do they same if they could.

Also, what makes you so sure the Chinese are so happy with the drill system? Look at the debate the Wu Minxia case started. I've yet to meet a Chinese who doesn't think that the medal craze on the whole is pretty messed up.



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineslider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6912 posts, RR: 34
Reply 20, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3314 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 18):
I find your "robot" comment offensive. Firstly, Chinese are well known for not betraying their emotions. Secondly, they are competing at the highest levels which require total concentration. This is not sitting in the concert hall listening to Mozart time. I don't know what you expected them to show.

Well, you reserve the right to be offended then. Have you actually watched any of the Olympics? When you cut through the corruption of the IOC, the PC garbage and the commercialization, these are people who have ONE chance in 4 years to bring it all to the table...all their hard work, sweat, sacrifice, all comes to a confluence in, for some, a matter of SECONDS. There's a lot of emotion. There are other Olympians who come from cultural environments where emotion isn't always on display yet at the Olympics, you DO see it. And we should---we're human. Cripes, I can bawl just hearing our anthem at the olympics. Can't fathom what it would be like to be the best in the world in a discipline.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 18):
You simply cannot know if "the journey, the fight, the emotion" is part of the the reward for them. Putting your own spin and bias into interpretation of other people's feeling is unreliable at best.

Well, then I'll consider their bias and facts and not spin. They're raised to be little medal machines, all for the glory of Mother China, without regard to individual liberty. I contend that it is a free society and it's trappings that, for good and bad, produce the best results because they do it as people and not robots.

And in case we're making this about China, that was the original context of the thread, but it applies to other nations as well.


User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 21, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 15 hours ago) and read 3309 times:

oh another "me-feeling-superior" and "commie" vs "free world" thread. 羡慕嫉妒恨。

User currently offlinegeekydude From China, joined Apr 2004, 401 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 13 hours ago) and read 3286 times:

Folks, there is nothing to worry about. At any rate, the US still leads China in "real" medal count according to the wisdom of Yahoo Sports' writer Chris Chase! Sleep tight.

http://blog.sfgate.com/olympics/2012...E2%80%98real%E2%80%99-medal-count/



FLIB 152 'heavy' low approach...Caution wake turbulance!
User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 23, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 12 hours ago) and read 3272 times:

Quoting geekydude (Reply 22):
Folks, there is nothing to worry about. At any rate, the US still leads China in "real" medal count according to the wisdom of Yahoo Sports' writer Chris Chase! Sleep tight.

Heh, thats a very amusing piece   "If you discount the things I dont like, we are winning!"


User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 24, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3229 times:

Quoting moo (Reply 23):
"If you discount the things I dont like, we are winning!"

No We are winning because we are a democracy. Medal counts do not matter according to the OP because at least we don't train like the Chinese, who are state sponsored and are medal robots but OTOH we have to pay big bucks thru the clubs.

Quoting moo (Reply 14):
But to us, a flag is just a flag - its nothing more than a visual icon, it doesn't hold the same inherent value as it might for yourself. It's just fabric at the end of a day - it doesn't make the country, it doesn't form the people, it's just a flag and takes an entirely different priority in our form of "patriotism".

"us" who? All the medalers so far are thrown a flag to wear after winning. All the medalers interviewed (at least those shown on NBC, i.e. mostly Americans) say they win for the country and are happy to represent the country. I don't see how different that is from the Chinese. Even if you are convinced there's a difference, what's so wrong about that? The world is diverse and diverse enough for the Chinese and non-Chinese to co-exist.


User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 25, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 9 hours ago) and read 3250 times:

Quoting B2443 (Reply 24):

Two "arguments" that had little to do with my comments that you quoted.

The "us" you question is readily apparent if you read the comment thread. It's got nothing to do with the Chinese...


User currently offline3DoorsDown From United States of America, joined Oct 2005, 376 posts, RR: 0
Reply 26, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 6 hours ago) and read 3197 times:

You guys are so serious. I don't know about the rest of you but Xue Chen can aspirate me anytime.  

User currently offlineaerorobnz From Rwanda, joined Feb 2001, 7342 posts, RR: 13
Reply 27, posted (2 years 3 months 3 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 3183 times:

Quoting 3DoorsDown (Reply 26):
You guys are so serious. I don't know about the rest of you but Xue Chen can aspirate me anytime.

Amazing quality of athlete in general this year. Man I want to be in the athlete village right now for all the amazing sex that there is on offer now their events are mostly over and all the athletes need a little 'release' after all the hard work... 


User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 28, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 3157 times:

Quoting Rara (Reply 19):
It's "highly desired" by the upper echelons perhaps. Let's not fool ourselves here - while Chinese culture is of course very different, Chinese people like to lead a self-determined life, doing what they enjoy, as much as anyone else. The olympic drilling camps don't exist because of some romantic East-Asian taste for sacrifice, but because a couple of old men want to show the world that they've got the longest willies, and they've got the power to do so. Our Western leader would do they same if they could.

Oh come on Rara, you are better than this.
Firstly, Chinese history is full of cases of sacrifice self for country (or other greater good) by "upper echelon" as well as commoners. However, this point was raised in a specific context. I never said these athletes are doing it completely for the country.
Secondly, of course Chinese want to lead a happy and fulfilling life. But let's be realistic and not take the "self-determined enjoyable life" too far. How many people in the world are doing what they are doing because it is their dream job they wanted to do ever since they are 5 and they are enjoying every moment of it? We go to university or vocational training, study our a** off, give up hobbies and time that could be spent doing enjoyable stuff because we have to pass that damn assessment. Then we graduate and work our a* off again. The system in China is a legitimate career path just like becoming a mechanic. In the past there was too much emphasis on outcome. Recently, their training became more balanced, including more teaching of literacy and other skills so that when they retire they can face new challenges. Do the athletes wake up everyday feeling great? Probably not, but really, how many people really wake up in the morning and could not wait to work through their day?
Thirdly, no one forces the parents of these kids to enrol them in this system. No gun on the head, no order from "old men". Parents do withdraw kids from these system.

Quoting Rara (Reply 19):
Also, what makes you so sure the Chinese are so happy with the drill system?

I never said all 1.3 billion people are happy with the system. I'd imagine a majority don't care, some are happy because it produces results, some are happy but want to refine the system and I am sure there are people who are unhappy about the system.

Quoting Rara (Reply 19):
Look at the debate the Wu Minxia case started. I've yet to meet a Chinese who doesn't think that the medal craze on the whole is pretty messed up.

What debate? This is a genuine question I am not sure what you are referring to. Wu just won another gold she probably has enough to do whatever she likes. If you are referring to her alleged decision to retire, doesn't it illustrate athletes are in control of their own life so that even an Olympic gold medallist in her prime (with potential for more glory) can retire and do something else?
I don't know what kind of Chinese contact you have, but you juist met a Chinese who doesn't think the whole thing is messed up. I wouldn't call it a craze either. I wouldn't mind if no one from China wins a gold medal if faithfully reflects what the state of sport is like in China.
Quoting slider (Reply 20):
. And we should---we're human. Cripes, I can bawl just hearing our anthem at the olympics.

If you want I can point you to photos and videos of Chinese athletes crying/laughing in joy, in triumph and in frustration. Don't form a judgement based on the 5 seconds you saw on TV.

Quoting slider (Reply 20):
Well, then I'll consider their bias and facts and not spin. They're raised to be little medal machines, all for the glory of Mother China, without regard to individual liberty. I contend that it is a free society and it's trappings that, for good and bad, produce the best results because they do it as people and not robots.

Right, first you made a judgement call on something you couldn't even know, then you make another judgement because they don't think and behave like you. Fantastic logic there.

[Edited 2012-08-09 01:36:54]

User currently offlinerara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 29, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 19 hours ago) and read 3130 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 28):
Firstly, Chinese history is full of cases of sacrifice self for country (or other greater good) by "upper echelon" as well as commoners. However, this point was raised in a specific context. I never said these athletes are doing it completely for the country.

No, but we do agree that the Chinese training regime is instituted by those in power, with the aim of making China appear as a great and glorious nation. The athletes’ interests are subordinated. Let’s not forget that until fairly recently, China did not participate in the Olympics because athletic competitions were derided as a decadent bourgeois pastime. At that time there were some great Chinese athletes who I’m sure would have loved to compete internationally, but weren’t allowed to, again because their interests were subordinated under those of the state.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 28):
The system in China is a legitimate career path just like becoming a mechanic. In the past there was too much emphasis on outcome. Recently, their training became more balanced, including more teaching of literacy and other skills so that when they retire they can face new challenges. Do the athletes wake up everyday feeling great? Probably not, but really, how many people really wake up in the morning and could not wait to work through their day?

I realize that conditions are becoming better and China is getting more relaxed about their Olympic aspirations. I don’t think, however, that we can equate sports with regular employment. In essence, sports are not productive. They are basically a pastime humans have been doing since ancient times, because they enjoy it and they want to find out who’s the best in a given activity. Of course, as sports become professionalized, athletes become more similar to employees, but still the basic idea (and yes, it is a Western idea) is to play a game as best as you can. Most Western athletes enjoy their sport, and it was their own choice to pursue it. Many Chinese athletes really hate what they’re doing, they’re only doing it to for some higher, elusive goal.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 28):
Thirdly, no one forces the parents of these kids to enrol them in this system. No gun on the head, no order from "old men". Parents do withdraw kids from these system.

The parents aren’t forced, but the kids are!

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 28):
What debate? This is a genuine question I am not sure what you are referring to.

I’m referring, of course, to the somewhat disturbing fact that the death of her grandparents was concealed from her for more than a year in order not to disturb her gold medal campaign. The interview her father gave to Xinwen Chenbao caused quite some hubbub in China as far as I can tell, for instance this huge comment-fest: http://pinglun.sohu.com/s349949952.html


I’m not particularly happy with the way our media covers the Chinese performances at the Olympics, but I don’t think the system is as harmless as you make it out to be, either...

[Edited 2012-08-09 04:26:37]


Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineslider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6912 posts, RR: 34
Reply 30, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 3089 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 28):
Right, first you made a judgement call on something you couldn't even know, then you make another judgement because they don't think and behave like you. Fantastic logic there.

Not because they don't think/act they way I do, but because they aren't--sadly--a free people.

I'm sure on a human level, they all are individually happy to be there and win, but there's a sense of sadness akin to when we used to watch the East Germans and Soviets.


User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 31, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 3064 times:

Quoting moo (Reply 25):

you are not answering the question. You don't get to represent others by saying "we", "us".

Quoting slider (Reply 30):
Not because they don't think/act they way I do, but because they aren't--sadly--a free people.

You don't know them. They may not be "free" in your ways but they may be free in their own ways or on their own terms. You think they are sad and they may think you are sad because you are not even competing or unable to, for example. Why it is that everything has to be your way? And if it is not, then it's sad. WTF.

[Edited 2012-08-09 13:58:40]

User currently offlinerara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 32, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days 9 hours ago) and read 3054 times:

Quoting slider (Reply 30):
Not because they don't think/act they way I do, but because they aren't--sadly--a free people.

I don't know. Most Chinese will disagree with that. Now you might say that they are less free than they believe themselves to be, but the same could arguably be said about Westerners. We are no "free people" either, and we frequently don't realize it.



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlinemoo From Falkland Islands, joined May 2007, 4065 posts, RR: 4
Reply 33, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 6 days ago) and read 2985 times:

Quoting B2443 (Reply 31):

The question has already been answered if you bother to read back - and in the full context, yes I can use "we" and "us".

Context - use it.


User currently offlineAleksandar From Serbia, joined Jul 2000, 3236 posts, RR: 32
Reply 34, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 23 hours ago) and read 2970 times:

You know...we are always discussing two officially different systems of developing sporting achievements that are pretty much the same. If you are an athlete, it really doesn't matter who "owns" you: Government body or rich sponsor. In fact, I believe that it is better to be "owned" by Government.

As for the way of Chinese training, it has more to do with country's culture and way of thinking than it has with the fact that China is still a Communist state. Just take a look at their circus performances and you will see the same level of determination to be as good as they can possible be.



R-E-S-P-E-C-T
User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 35, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 5 days 1 hour ago) and read 2905 times:

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
No, but we do agree that the Chinese training regime is instituted by those in power, with the aim of making China appear as a great and glorious nation.

China, just like any other national, is great and glorious. There is no need to make it appear so. Nearly every national activity/campaign including sports, road/rail construction, space program etc are instituted by the government in China. Different political structure, different way of doing things. To train one needs funding, to succeed one needs lots of funding. It is not as idealistic as doing exactly what one likes and pursuing a life time dream.

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
The athletes’ interests are subordinated.

Again, no one holds a gun to the athletes' head. They can (and do) quit if they like. But for those who are successful, why would they? They can do whatever they like in their spare time. They can grab a whole heap of money appearing in ads. You make it sounds like these athletes don't really want to succeed in their sports and are being forced by the government.

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
Let’s not forget that until fairly recently, China did not participate in the Olympics because athletic competitions were derided as a decadent bourgeois pastime. At that time there were some great Chinese athletes who I’m sure would have loved to compete internationally, but weren’t allowed to, again because their interests were subordinated under those of the state.

Do we really have to go back to Cold War/Cultural Revolution time to prove a point? There were some pretty silly things going on in the Western world as well at the time.

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
In essence, sports are not productive. They are basically a pastime humans have been doing since ancient times, because they enjoy it and they want to find out who’s the best in a given activity. Of course, as sports become professionalized, athletes become more similar to employees, but still the basic idea (and yes, it is a Western idea) is to play a game as best as you can. Most Western athletes enjoy their sport, and it was their own choice to pursue it. Many Chinese athletes really hate what they’re doing, they’re only doing it to for some higher, elusive goal.

I have no problem with this until the last sentence. Unless you conducted a survey of Chinese athletes, I fail to see how you reached your conclusion. I am sure not all athletes enjoy what they are doing, but I think rather than for some elusive goals they are doing it as a job.

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
I’m referring, of course, to the somewhat disturbing fact that the death of her grandparents was concealed from her for more than a year in order not to disturb her gold medal campaign.

While I think Wu is a mature person who can deal with the sad news in her own way, what happened is understandable and quite normal culturally . I am not saying they did the right thing by withhold the news, I am just saying I understand why they did that.

Quoting rara (Reply 29):
but I don’t think the system is as harmless as you make it out to be, either...

Every system has its problems. Even democracy has its own problems (e.g. NIMBYs, idiots and morons finding their way into governments because they managed to fool the people etc.). I certainly don't think the sports system in China is harmless because in any scheme in which competition is involved there will be winners and losers, and the welfare of the losers tends to be ignored in China. I just don't think one can make an absolute judgment on the merits of different systems in very different environment, especially not because one is more familiar with one over the other.


User currently offlineslider From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6912 posts, RR: 34
Reply 36, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2859 times:

A tremendous article on this very topic we're discussing:

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn....s-great-olympic-debate/?hpt=hp_bn2


User currently offlinerara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 37, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 4 days 9 hours ago) and read 2820 times:

Quoting slider (Reply 36):

A tremendous article on this very topic we're discussing:

http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn....p_bn2

Good article, thanks. Goes well with what I see on the Chinese web these days, based on my very limited access to it.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 35):
China, just like any other national, is great and glorious. There is no need to make it appear so.

The CCP beg to differ. Much of what they've focused on in the last decade was primarily meant to reinforce China's as a great and glorious nation. Look at the Beijing games, look at all the prestigious projects, look at China's spaceflight programme with its, to date, very limited scientific purpose. It's all done to make sure that everyone on earth gets the message: China is great. If that was such a matter of course, as you portray it, why would they spend so much effort on it?

China, with its new-found nationalism, is extremely self-conscious right now. Look at quickly every trifle is turned into a matter of national importance these days. A Brit molests a Chinese woman in Beijing? The next day it's the Opium Wars all over again! Some third-tier Japanese politician visits some shrine? The next day you've got angry youths setting fire to the Japanese embassy. Such is not the behaviour of a nation assured in its standing.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 35):
Do we really have to go back to Cold War/Cultural Revolution time to prove a point? There were some pretty silly things going on in the Western world as well at the time.

The point was that the interests of the state outweighed the interests of the athletes - back in the Cultural Revolution as much as today.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 35):
While I think Wu is a mature person who can deal with the sad news in her own way, what happened is understandable and quite normal culturally . I am not saying they did the right thing by withhold the news, I am just saying I understand why they did that.

I understand WHY they did it alright - to make absolutely sure she brings the gold home! Doesn't mean it's not pretty bewildering. Culturally normal, you say? Come on, if there's one feature of Chinese culture that's beyond doubt, it's that respect for family values and the elderly is paramount. Proper mourning is part of the obligations of the young people towards their parents and grandparents. It's not "culturally normal" to without such important news from a person just to make sure she wins a medal for China. You say Wu is a mature person, but she wasn't treated as one.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 35):
I just don't think one can make an absolute judgment on the merits of different systems in very different environment, especially not because one is more familiar with one over the other.

I can certainly agree with that.



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 38, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 16 hours ago) and read 2762 times:

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
The CCP beg to differ. Much of what they've focused on in the last decade was primarily meant to reinforce China's as a great and glorious nation. Look at the Beijing games, look at all the prestigious projects, look at China's spaceflight programme with its, to date, very limited scientific purpose. It's all done to make sure that everyone on earth gets the message: China is great. If that was such a matter of course, as you portray it, why would they spend so much effort on it?

Look, I know where you are coming from. However, I think it is simplistic to put everything down to national prestige building. The Chinese space program has obvious strategic importance. Sure, Beijing Olympics was a show-off, but so it London, Atlanta etc. That is what countries do. If you want to classify these as prestige project only, well, you are entitled to your view.
Coming back to the sports training program, where do you think most athletes in US/UK/Germany/Australia receive their funding? Sure you are not suggesting athletes pay for their own training or uniformly benefit from some sort of philanthropy? What about the youth training programs that lay the foundation for future sports stars?

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
Look at quickly every trifle is turned into a matter of national importance these days. A Brit molests a Chinese woman in Beijing? The next day it's the Opium Wars all over again!

What you read on Internet forums is reflective of a small proportion of Chinese population. I think you have unintentionally exaggerated on this point. If you can find any official response as you described then I would agree. I suspect you would not be able to.

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
Some third-tier Japanese politician visits some shrine? The next day you've got angry youths setting fire to the Japanese embassy. Such is not the behaviour of a nation assured in its standing.

It was not some third-tier politician it was the Prime Minister of Japan. It was not just "some shrine" it was Yasukuni Shrine where class A war criminals' remains are held. How do you think Israel would respond if Chancellor Merkel visits a Church when Hitler's remain is stored (yes I know such place does not exist)?
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...le/2006/08/14/AR2006081401425.html

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
The point was that the interests of the state outweighed the interests of the athletes - back in the Cultural Revolution as much as today.

The point was that China has moved on from 30-40 years ago and will continue to evolve. In any country, state interest will in some circumstances outweigh the interest of individuals. It is a matter of the degree of conflict between personal and state interest, and the degree of such conflict is getting smaller and smaller in China.

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
I understand WHY they did it alright - to make absolutely sure she brings the gold home! Doesn't mean it's not pretty bewildering. Culturally normal, you say? Come on, if there's one feature of Chinese culture that's beyond doubt, it's that respect for family values and the elderly is paramount. Proper mourning is part of the obligations of the young people towards their parents and grandparents. It's not "culturally normal" to without such important news from a person just to make sure she wins a medal for China. You say Wu is a mature person, but she wasn't treated as one.

Again, I don't necessarily agree with the course of action taken but I would not go as far as saying what was done was wrong, because it has its own cultural validity. You strike me as someone with a good understanding of Chinese culture. However, may I respectfully suggest that Chinese culture is complex and a fuller appreciation of the complexity is required in this case.


User currently offlineAA7295 From Australia, joined Aug 2007, 622 posts, RR: 0
Reply 39, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 8 hours ago) and read 2718 times:

With America winning the medal tally.... does that mean they won?

I'm being serious? Who wins the Olympics, or does no one win the Olympics?


User currently offlinebristolflyer From United Kingdom, joined May 2004, 2309 posts, RR: 0
Reply 40, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 3 days 2 hours ago) and read 2693 times:

Quoting AA7295 (Reply 39):
I'm being serious? Who wins the Olympics, or does no one win the Olympics?

No one does really, the medal count really isn;t that important. Did anyone see the Chinese guy getting silver las night in the 10m platform dive? He was distraught. Cut to Tom Daley - who got bronze - partying it up and having a great time celebrating his achievement. Therein lies the difference.



Fortune favours the brave
User currently offlinerara From Germany, joined Jan 2007, 2135 posts, RR: 2
Reply 41, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 15 hours ago) and read 2636 times:

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 38):
What you read on Internet forums is reflective of a small proportion of Chinese population. I think you have unintentionally exaggerated on this point. If you can find any official response as you described then I would agree. I suspect you would not be able to.

I won't be able to find an official statement linking the attempted rape to the Boxer Rebellion, true, but the "crackdown on foreigners" in the immediate aftermath WAS an official reaction. Also, we had Yang Rui, a rather high-profile CCTV commentator, urging the government to throw out the "foreign garbage", the "unemployed scum in Wudaokou and Sanlitun". Of course online reactions are seldom representative, but it's the best thing we have to gauge public opinion in China, because proper opinion research is not allowed.

The video gathered some 86.000 replies, which is impressive:
http://v.youku.com/v_show/id_XMzkzNDY5ODI0.html

Needless to say, they're not pretty.

Quoting Cerecl (Reply 38):
Coming back to the sports training program, where do you think most athletes in US/UK/Germany/Australia receive their funding? Sure you are not suggesting athletes pay for their own training or uniformly benefit from some sort of philanthropy? What about the youth training programs that lay the foundation for future sports stars?

No, structurally the training industry is similar, even though China uses national training camps while in Western countries, athletes usually receive state support, but train independently.

I guess what we in the West find so striking about China's olympic aspirations is the following: Athletics, the Olympic Games, the Olympic spirit etc. are basically Western inventions. They come with certain written codes (rules und regulations), but also with certain unwritten codes (try your best / it's not about winning but about taking part / be sportsmanlike etc.). Those notions are extremely culturally loaded. Most Englishmen, for instance, would immediately know the term "sportsmanlike" means, but would find it hard to really explain it. This is sometimes called "tacit knowledge". Anyway, now come the Chinese and want to be part of the game. They check the rules and say "okay, the goal is to win - then let's win!" And they do. Now, who could say that winning isn't a part of athletic competition? In fact it's a very large part of it. But the fact that winning isn't everything seems sometimes lost on the Chinese. And thus develops the strange sense of alienation that we in the West sometimes feel when we look at China's sports programmes etc. (as evidenced in this thread) - we feel that they're overdoing it, that they're great at it and yet haven't quite gotten what it's all about at the same time. It's contradictory, but that's what happens when something as culturally embedded as the Olympics is extented to the world at large in today's time of globalization.

The thing is, the fact that the Olympics developed in the West doesn't mean that we have the exclusive monopoly on defining the Olympic spirit forever. The idea of the Games and what they stand for may well be re-interpreted in the coming years, and China may well play a role in that re-interpretation. That's the often-overlooked rebound effect of globalization: as China becomes more Western, the rest of us becomes a little bit more Chinese. If that means that our athletes will have to train harder in the future, then so be it.  



Samson was a biblical tough guy, but his dad Samsonite was even more of a hard case.
User currently offlineB2443 From United States of America, joined Jul 2004, 703 posts, RR: 0
Reply 42, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 2 days 14 hours ago) and read 2626 times:

Quoting bristolflyer (Reply 40):
Cut to Tom Daley - who got bronze - partying it up and having a great time celebrating his achievement. Therein lies the difference.

the real difference is that Daley got a re-dive. and there are plenty of Chinese celebrating their silver and bronze medals. BTW, check out McKala Moroni after competition and at the medal ceremony(U.S Silver medalist for Women's vault). I don't know what kind of conclusion you were trying to draw here.

Quoting rara (Reply 37):
The point was that the interests of the state outweighed the interests of the athletes - back in the Cultural Revolution as much as today.

You have to realize this did not start with the communist or the cultural revolution. It's been in the culture for thousands of yers. And it's well represented in other Eastern Asian countries as well.

Quoting AA7295 (Reply 39):
With America winning the medal tally.... does that mean they won?

Oh man, the "Free world" won over the "commies", silly. Isn't this what this thread all about? We are better.


User currently offlineCerecl From Australia, joined Jul 2008, 740 posts, RR: 0
Reply 43, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 20 hours ago) and read 2536 times:

Quoting rara (Reply 41):
I won't be able to find an official statement linking the attempted rape to the Boxer Rebellion, true, but the "crackdown on foreigners" in the immediate aftermath WAS an official reaction. Also, we had Yang Rui, a rather high-profile CCTV commentator, urging the government to throw out the "foreign garbage", the "unemployed scum in Wudaokou and Sanlitun". Of course online reactions are seldom representative, but it's the best thing we have to gauge public opinion in China, because proper opinion research is not allowed.

There are prominent commentators here in Sydney who talk bulls..t everyday. One of them even publically advocated drowning the current Prime Minister at sea. Is Australia a country of violence and hatred? Those who actually bothered to comment are those who have strong opinions on this issue. I cannot agree that what you see online is the best gauge of public opinion. I think it is actually a poor and unrepresentative sample.

Quoting rara (Reply 41):
The thing is, the fact that the Olympics developed in the West doesn't mean that we have the exclusive monopoly on defining the Olympic spirit forever. The idea of the Games and what they stand for may well be re-interpreted in the coming years, and China may well play a role in that re-interpretation. That's the often-overlooked rebound effect of globalization: as China becomes more Western, the rest of us becomes a little bit more Chinese. If that means that our athletes will have to train harder in the future, then so be it.

     
Can't argue with any that, and thank you for presenting a balanced opinion. I think this kind of conflict will continue to occur as China and the rest of world get to know each other a little better. As long as we seek to understand rather than to condemn, we will do just fine.


User currently offlineflipdewaf From United Kingdom, joined Jul 2006, 1578 posts, RR: 0
Reply 44, posted (2 years 3 months 2 weeks 1 day 19 hours ago) and read 2526 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting B2443 (Reply 24):
No We are winning because we are a democracy

And those chinese get all this jingoistic national pride brinwashed into them about "the way we do it is better, end of!"


Fred

P.S. Could somebody call a doctor to come and surgically remove my tongue from my cheek.

[Edited 2012-08-14 04:58:52]

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