China’s success at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics is related to politics

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Tokyo Olympics update

China has a narrow lead on the medal standings at the beginning of the final day of the Tokyo Olympics, but attempts to incite nationalism and use the event as a soft power game before the Beijing Winter Olympics next year may damage its reputation and its sports achievements provide The driving force.

The Communist Party has built a powerful sports program around the success of the Olympics, which it regards as an important source of national pride and international legitimacy. But China’s success in Tokyo was accompanied by an explosion of nationalism and political performance by its athletes.

China has performed strongly in traditionally dominant sports such as table tennis, diving, weightlifting, badminton and shooting. This is supplemented by breakthrough performance in events that are not traditionally strong.

Su Bingtian broke the Asian record with 9.83 seconds in the men’s 100m race, becoming the first Chinese athlete to participate in the Olympic finals. In the women’s quadruple scull race, China won its first gold medal since the 2008 Beijing Olympics, breaking the world record by more than one second.

If China completes the Olympics with the most gold medals, it will defeat the United States for the first time since 2008, when China was in a tense diplomatic and trade dispute with Washington and its allies.

Political meaning is “unavoidable”

However, analysts said that cyber nationalism, the political performance of Chinese athletes, and the Hongkong At the risk of ruining the team’s athletic performance.

Zhong Tianshi and Bao Shanju, who won bicycle gold medals, may violate regulations by wearing the badge of revolutionary leader Mao Zedong at the award ceremony. The International Olympic Committee issued a warning to China. The International Olympic Committee stated that it has been assured that this will not happen again.

Some online commentators claimed that the Olympics also reawakened the “anti-Japanese spirit”, which refers to China’s struggle with Japanese invaders during World War II. After Xiao Ruoteng’s near-perfect performance in the men’s all-around competition was defeated by Japanese player Hashimoto Taiki, they felt very unhappy and had some anti-China prejudices.

Chinese cyclists Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi were warned after wearing Mao Zedong’s badge, which may violate the Olympic political display rules © Reuters

Susan Brownell, a Chinese sports expert at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, said that considering China’s reputational damage caused by the pandemic and historical competition with Japan, the political overtones of the Olympics are inevitable.

Because of China’s policy in Xinjiang, some human rights organizations have called on countries to boycott the Winter Olympics. Detaining more than 1 million Uyghurs The suppression of Hong Kong in detention camps and after the pro-democracy protests in 2019.U.S. representation problem Has been “on the agenda” for discussion with its allies.

Brownell said that Beijing officials are facing a delicate balance of behavior at home. For a long time, China’s sports have been criticized for focusing on medals and political interests while ignoring mass sports activities.

“They have to be careful of their anger at failure and nationalism, but if they focus too much on winning medals, problems can also arise,” she said.

China prepares for Beijing 2022

After the bloody suppression of protesters in Tiananmen Square in June 1989 and the failure of Beijing’s bid to host the Summer Olympics, Beijing was determined to become a successful Olympic host.

When the 2008 Summer Olympics were held, most of the city was rebuilt, and everyone from taxi drivers to residents received a civilized education. That year, China topped the medal list for the first time.

As the party’s leadership prepares for Beijing to become the first venue for the Summer and Winter Olympics, it has been working hard to ensure that the enthusiasm for the Olympics overwhelms calls for boycotts.

Reporter at the National Ski Jumping Center, one of the venues for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics © AP

Minky Worden, activist and editor for Human Rights Watch China’s Great Leap ForwardA book about the 2008 Olympics says that pressure may cause Beijing to release political prisoners.

“With China violating human rights, suppressing freedom of the press and hosting the Olympics as usual, there can be no double standards,” she said.

The Chinese state media has always emphasized the friendship between its athletes and their international competitors.

One of the moments was when Chinese gymnasts Guan Chenchen and Tang Xijing received gold and silver medals on the balance beam and embraced joyfully in the cheers of Simone Byers and Sunisa Lee of the US team.

Despite their success, some Chinese athletes will be hit by nationalist attacks if they are considered unfaithful.

Women’s 10-meter air rifle champion Yang Qian was criticized before the game for posting photos of Nike shoes.Nationalists have For American Sports Its statement on forced labor in Xinjiang.

But when the competition was over, when asked what winning meant to her, she said that 2021 was the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China, and added: “I am very happy that this gold medal is given to my country. gift.”

Supplementary report by Emma Zhou in Beijing

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