Wednesday, July 30, 2008

China Dumps Gold Medalists from Olympics “for Political Reasons”

Actually, China Dumps Gold Medalists from Olympics “for Political Reasons” is just the headline from the Daily Telegraph report. DT starts hedging immediately with the lead, where it inserts “allegedly”.

Read on, and you find that, aside from citing a China Daily article that purportedly alleged that “politics had played a part”, the article mentions only one case that remote suggests a non-athletic reason for exclusion, where a gold medalist diver was not called back to the national team after he had been thrown off in 2005 for being too liberal in accepting commercial endorsements. A public romance gone bad with another diver who did make her way back also appears to have been a factor in the decision. Team chemistry, anyone?

DT does quote Susan Bushnell, who knows more about Chinese sports than the entire DT staff apparently knows about China:

The situation is different from in the United States, where you simply have to finish in the top three in your discipline to qualify.
"Whenever you have athletes appointed by coaches you get accusations of politics and it has happened before in China."
However she said the motives for the cuts would be "to win more medals - I can't imagine that they would choose an inferior team because of politics".

But this, as well as plausible explanations by Chinese figures, are pushed to the end of the article.

I know, China bashing sells. But DT is showing a sheep’s head to sell dog meat. Isn’t that what “vernacular tabloids” do?

Can anyone tell me what the China Daily actually said? I don’t trust some “foreign staff” with an agenda.

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