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For China, the Olympics are more than a game

Chinese supporters look towards The Orbital during the London 2012 Olympic Games Opening Ceremony at the Olympic Stadium on July 27, 2012 in London, England. China's government sees winning gold medals as a key affirmation of the country's worth. Athletes who don't come first can get a frosty reception.

Tess Vigeland: The sport of badminton doesn't often make international headlines, but it certainly did this week. Four doubles teams were expelled from the Olympics for throwing their matches. One of those teams was Chinese. They intentionally lost their match so that they wouldn't have compete against another Chinese team.

Why? It's all about how many medals China can get. Yes, if you thought America was obsessed with the medal count -- especially the gold medal count -- let us introduce you to China.

Here's our Shanghai Correspondent Rob Schmitz.


Rob Schmitz: China’s obsession with gold medals goes back to Los Angeles Olympic Games of 1984. The country was competing for the first time in three decades. Chinese high jumper Zhu Jianhua was widely expected to win the gold.

He won the bronze.

He came back to China to find the windows of his Shanghai home smashed by an angry mob.

Adam Minter: The government has been explicit that Olympic success will be a proxy for national success.

Shanghai-based author Adam Minter wrote about Beijing’s gold fever this week in his column for the financial news service Bloomberg. He says for China’s government, winning gold medals is kind of like hitting GDP targets: get it done, then let the state media spread the propaganda. 

Minter: They don’t really know how to cover the Olympics except to cover them as a projection of national power, so you still have this almost reflexive instinct to only show gold, only show that China’s first and China’s doing really well.

Chinese TV coverage includes a global gold medal tally ticker. China, of course, is number one. And want to watch events like sailing? Sorry. In China, you’re stuck watching skeet shooting, archery, 10-meter air rifle -- events where China’s expected to win the gold.

So how much pressure does this put on Chinese athletes? On Monday, Chinese weightlifter Wu Jingbiao broke down, cried, and apologized for his poor performance during a live interview with state broadcaster CCTV. He said he was ashamed for disgracing the motherland. He then bowed deeply to the camera.

Wu had just won the silver.

On the street here in Shanghai, 30-year-old Hu Ronghua says it’s a shame about all this pressure on Chinese athletes.

Hu Ronghua: For most Chinese people, it doesn’t matter whether our athletes win gold medals. For me what’s important is the spirit of the games -- competing and participating.

As for the government’s gold fever? Hu thinks Chinese officials should instead focus on building more sports facilities for the people, so that non-Olympians like him can play, too.

In Shanghai, I’m Rob Schmitz for Marketplace.

About the author

Rob Schmitz is Marketplace’s China correspondent in Shanghai.
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For this article. I totally agree that the most. This story is garbage.
http://gmcdenaliroadbiker.blogspot.com/ It is really too bad of journalistic integrity. Had no effect on the Olympics at all.

China is a beautiful, wonderful, wonderful country. http://oldtownvapor10.blogspot.com/ Full of bright, energetic, friendly people - there are dreams and wishes too similar to Sames ideas and beliefs that we hold in the United States. http://katadynpocketwatermicrofilterr.blogspot.com/

In fact, writing a story that cast China in a negative light, just because it is a communist / capitalist state of civilization, is un-American. http://centurybobxl.blogspot.com/

We lighthouse and protection of freedom. http://takara-kabuto.blogspot.com/ And if we really champion freedom, then we must accept that the people can elect a government that does not put the independence among the most prominent target. http://barnettghost400.blogspot.com We did it before, Imperial Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. We present in Saudi Arabia. http://barnettjackalcrossbowpackage.blogspot.com/

This post valiantly accused China's TV station of broadcasting only events where China is expected to win gold. This is not true, because many more events are broadcast live, such as men's 100-meter dash. What gets on the program list entirely depends on what the audience want most, and thus, the profit. NBC is doing exactly the same, if not more so. I heard that NBC even tape-delay key events for prime time, and not live-broadcast them. TV stations in China is not as disgusting as NBC in this regard.

“As an American fluent in Chinese, with a Chinese family”doesn’t necessarily
mean you must truly know about China.
It’s ok if you disagree with others. But you don’t have to label or humiliate others. "Because their are so many selfish, pathetic, hateful individuals in China…" "This story is trash"… What you are writing just shows what kind of person you are.
人身攻击不是本事。敢于面对现行体制存在的问题,从而让”中国人民”的生活变的更好,才是真正的爱国。
What is truly loving China. Honestly facing the problem that Chinese communist regime has, so that CHINESE PEOPLE can have better life. Instead of being afraid of letting others know the problems existed, instead of being afraid of losing the face so dare not to face those problems.
China is a great country with five thousand years of history and so many traditional values that benefit people’s lives. That's the power of China but not the communist China. Hope we can get back those beautiful traditions, people can be kind and respect each other. Hope the effort of those people who is brave enough to speak out the problems can improve Chinese people’s lives and make China a better country.

As an American fluent in Chinese, with a Chinese family, I have to completely disagree with Lisaxaby.

This is part of the problem with Chinese people, and honestly it is why the 100 year humiliations occurred. Because their are so many selfish, pathetic, hateful individuals in China, that say such horrific things about their own nation, and are so easy to coerce into destroying their own lives, and burning their future. Cough... Free Tibet Radio... In fact, I would suggest that the some of the overseas Chinese either resolve that they are no longer Chinese, or take a lesson from other Americans, and learn that they should be proud of their nation and their origins, instead of insulting themselves and revealing themselves to be of poor character.

您是中国人,别忘您的老家!

As much as I am displeased with the current state of America, if a Chinese reporter called me up with the intention of publishing my ideas in a manner that cast and ill shadow on my nation, I would tell him to take his yellow journalism and find the nearest cliff.

As for this article. I completely agree with the majority. This story is trash. It really is of poor journalistic integrity. It has no bearing on the Olympics whatsoever.

China is a beautiful, amazing, wonderful nation. Full of bright, energetic, kind people - with dreams and desires all too similar to our own.

In fact, simply writing a story that casts China in a negative light, solely because they are a communist / capitalist civilization state, is blatantly un-American. America is the beacon and champion of freedom. But if we truly champion freedom, then we must accept the idea that people can choose a government that does not place freedom among its most prominent objectives. We have done so before, with Imperial Japan, with Taiwan, and with South Korea. We do so currently with Saudi Arabia. And we must do so soon with the Islamic Democracies emerging in the Middle East - whose form of chosen governance will share a name with ours, but will likely resemble something entirely different.

To be a true American is to uphold the ideal that all people are created equal, and that all people have the right to choose their own destiny, even if it is a destiny we do not agree with. Our nation was founded on the ideal that no one was right enough to dictate. We had balanced powers to insure that we never forgot, all people are deserving of their own philosophy. We must feed the better angels of our nature, stand above the fray of ideology war, and embrace the truth that is contained in the very foundation of our nation - that all men are free in the pursuit of happiness - whatever that happiness may be. That is the act of a true American patriot.

It is something that many Americans have seemingly forgot. America, we must remember.

As an American fluent in Chinese, with a Chinese family, I have to completely disagree with Lisaxaby.

This is part of the problem with Chinese people, and honestly it is why the 100 year humiliations occurred. Because their are so many selfish, pathetic, hateful individuals in China, that say such horrific things about their own nation, and are so easy to coerce into destroying their country, and burning their future. Cough... Free Tibet Radio... In fact, I would suggest that Lisaxaby take a lesson from other Americans, and learn that he should be proud of his nation and his origins, instead of insulting himself.

您是中国人,别忘您的国家!

As much as I am displeased with the current state of America, if a Chinese reporter called me up with the intention of publishing my ideas in a manner that cast and ill shadow on my nation, I would tell him to take his yellow journalism and find the nearest cliff.

As for this article. I completely agree with the majority. This story is trash. It really is of poor journalistic integrity. It has no bearing on the Olympics whatsoever.

China is a beautiful, amazing, wonderful nation. Full of bright, energetic, kind people - with dreams and desires all too similar to the sames ideas and beliefs we hold in the United States.

In fact, simply writing a story that casts China in a negative light, solely because they are a communist / capitalist civilization state, is un-American. We are the beacon and safeguard of freedom. And if we truly champion freedom, then we must accept the idea that people can choose a government that does not place freedom among its most prominent objectives. We have done so before, with Imperial Japan, with Taiwan, and with South Korea. We do so currently with Saudi Arabia.

To be a true American is to uphold the ideal that all people are created equal, and that all people have the right to choose their own destiny, even if it is a destiny we do not agree with.

As a Chinese living in the US now, I want to say thank you Rob for your hard work to report true China to the world.
It’s always hard for some people when they hear the truth.
Even the word like “propaganda”.
It’s exactly "propaganda". So I don’t think it’s wrong to use this word.
It’s not about if the US should be humble or if US is perfect. It’s about as a US reporter, fulfill the responsibility of bring the true information out, although there might be someone who are not happy to see it.
Please don’t be scared by the negative feedback. Keep on doing what you are doing now. I believe there are so many Chinese and American who really appreciate your great job.

You are no longer Chinese. You have turned your back on your nation. You are not even a very good American, because you still identify yourself as Chinese. There are a lot of Chinese people and a lot of Americans who realize that the media war being waged against China in the United States is solely to distract Americans from their falling standard of living, their dwindling retirements, their skyrocketing college debt, and their lack of personal savings. If America spent have as much time improving its economy as it did criticizing China, focusing on areas were it has competitive advantages, then America would currently be in a lot better economic and societal shape.

Quite honestly, if you really are Chinese, than you have betrayed your homeland by speaking out so forcefully against it. And by virtue of the fact that you still call yourself Chinese you are also not American. Therefore, you are nothing. You have no homeland, and you have no soul.

Last night I was looking at the medals table per country and when I saw that China had more medals than the US, I told my wife, "I bet that very soon I will start hearing American reports about how bad Chinese are and critizing China for any reazon." Surely, this afternoon, when I was driving back home I heard Rob's report about China. I am NOT surprised because every time that a "poor/third world/enemy" country (as the US calls other countries) does better (in anything!) than the US, the MEDIA army starts bombarding the audience with stories about those countries and how bad/corrupt/controled they are. Come on!!! Aren't the Olimpics more than a game to teh US? Are not the US medals a reason for national pride and a sign of teh superiority over other countries? Aren't the US athlets ashamed when they lose?
I was expecting this kind of reports from other news services and networks, but Idid not expected to hear it from the Market Place program, which I listen to almost every day. I am very disapointed and I believe many others are.
What makes you (US) think that the US is so perfect? What gives the US media and other people in the US right to decide who are bad and corrupt when the US goverment and corporations control and destroy lives in teh US and abroad? When the US will learn that the world has changed and that the US is not the BIG brother/Judge/ of other nations? I do not know if Rob considered the cultural aspect of responsibility and honor values in Asian nations.
Do US athlets feel pressured? Are they pressured by others (government and corporations that sponsor them)? Let's be honest!!!!!
How about a governemnt and a society that recruit and send immigrats to unjust wars overseas promising them tuition for their studies when they come back but they turn to be lies? How about the acts of pitty of the US by giving citinzenship to immigrants after they die in unjust wars rather that giving them citizenship when they are alive and can be part of productive forces in the community? So, do the US media and teh US government have the moral authority to tell how bad other countries' governments are? I know, the argument, "the US is to defend the kliberty and ensure freedom." Well, I think that is another conversation...
I am not justifing what the Chinese government may be doing. I hope that China's government will become more democratic and China will be a strong country in which poeple enjoy freedom and have the opportunity to live a life that is theirs, not the life that others so called first world countries decide it should be.
I hope you understand that my point is that it is time for teh US and the US media to quit this type of "reports" and cahnge their attitude toward other countries. I think is time for the US to learn to be humble and to recognize that the US is not teh only country in the world.

western media love to use the word "propaganda" to describe info from countries they don't like, particularly china and russsia. this report like most reports put out by western media on china is nothing but propagada, and a lousy one at that. the badminton contravercy involves 3 countries, 4 pairs of players, 2 of whom from s korea. yet china is singled out as usual. a tactic used by western media is to spin anything and everything that happens in china in a negative way regardless of the nature of the story, blame the chinese govn't for all the ills, that chinese people cant' wait to overthrow the govn't. this ideological bent makes their propaganda full of contradictions (sometimes in the same paragraph), wishful conclusions, let along factual mistakes. the mob smashing window incident happened 28 years ago, it was not ordered by the govn't , and it has little relavence today. schmitz at the end of the piece quotes a resident of shanghai, who says the spirit and participation of the games are more important, which shows the crazed mob mentality does't exist anymore. of course schmitz's 't intention is not to show equinamity of chinese people, he simply tries to demenstrate how unsatisfied chinese people are about the govn't (a common and central theme of western propagada), but in the process just contradicts himself. schmitz throughout the article insists that only the chinese govn't has the "gold fever", the ordinary chinese don't care (except for the ancient mob news) much about how many medals chinese athletes win. it's absolutely not true! he picks one quote (cherry-picking is another widely deployed tactic by western propaganda machine) out of pahaps hundrads of quotes. the truth is: no one is going to damage athletes' homes; and chinese people are enthused about their athletes' successes. schmitz is wrong on both counts. as for govn't setting medal targets like GDP, it's nothing but an assertion based on ignorance and bias. is the chinese govn't happy about the chinese athletes' successes? u r damn right it is. is the brit govn't happy about their athletes' successes? the us govn't? any govn't? both minter and schimtz mock the chinese "state media" (another term western media never fail and love to use every single time) that it "only show gold, only show china's first", and complain one isn't able to watch sailing but can only watch skeet shooting (btw us won both man and woman gold). has anyone watched nbc coverage of the games? lol. the difference is nbc, and other western media, volenteer to spread propaganda.

western media love to use the word "propaganda" to describe info from countries they don't like, particularly china and russsia. this report like most reports put out by western media on china is nothing but propagada, and a lousy one at that. the badminton contravercy involves 3 countries, 4 pairs of players, 2 of whom from s korea. yet china is singled out as usual. a tactic used by western media is to spin anything and everything that happens in china in a negative way regardless of the nature of the story, blame the chinese govn't for all the ills, that chinese people cant' wait to overthrow the govn't. this ideological bent makes their propaganda full of contradictions (sometimes in the same paragraph), wishful conclusions, let along factual mistakes. the mob smashing window incident happened 28 years ago, it was not ordered by the govn't , and it has little relavence today. schmitz at the end of the piece quotes a resident of shanghai, who says the spirit and participation of the games are more important, which shows the crazed mob mentality does't exist anymore. of course schmitz's 't intention is not to show equinamity of chinese people, he simply tries to demenstrate how unsatisfied chinese people are about the govn't (a common and central theme of western propagada), but in the process just contradicts himself. schmitz throughout the article insists that only the chinese govn't has the "gold fever", the ordinary chinese don't care (except for the ancient mob news) much about how many medals chinese athletes win. it's absolutely not true! he picks one quote (cherry-picking is another widely deployed tactic by western propaganda machine) out of pahaps hundrads of quotes. the truth is: no one is going to damage athletes' homes; and chinese people are enthused about their athletes' successes. schmitz is wrong on both counts. as for govn't setting medal targets like GDP, it's nothing but an assertion based on ignorance and bias. is the chinese govn't happy about the chinese athletes' successes? u r damn right it is. is the brit govn't happy about their athletes' successes? the us govn't? any govn't? both minter and schimtz mock the chinese "state media" (another term western media never fail and love to use every single time) that it "only show gold, only show china's first", and complain one isn't able to watch sailing but can only watch skeet shooting (btw us won both man and woman gold). has anyone watched nbc coverage of the games? lol. the difference is nbc, and other western media, volenteer to spread propaganda.

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