China · Sports · Taiwan

Some sad news: China is dumped out of the 2012 Olympics football qualifying rounds by Oman after a 3-1 thrashing in that nation (following a 1-0 shock defeat in Shanghai in the first leg). China had scored in that game so that by the end of regulation time, the aggregate (total score of the 2 legs) score was 1-1 so it went into extra time. Within minutes, Oman scored and then they scored again and again. I didn’t watch the game but this doesn’t sound good. While the Chinese team did well to earn extra time by leading in the game, it seems they wilted under pressure in extra time and giving up 3 goals is inexcusable. Chinese football blog Wildeast was clearly unimpressed by this latest failure and didn’t hesitate to mince any words.

And some crazy news: Taiwan person sentenced to jail AND fined for her blog

What did she do? Criticize a restaurant for the food being “too salty”. The Shanghaiist blogger said it the best:  “and we thought our speech was limited over on the mainland”. In case some might think it weird and suspicious to read news about Taiwan from a China blog (part of a global network), the Huffington Post also posted on this, a rare, but dubious success for Taiwan in global media exposure.

Finally, here’s a roundup of essays by mostly American academics recalling their first visit to China in the 60s and 70s and 80s. The ones I’ve read have a really critical stance, eschewing any dreamy or idealistic notions, which should come as no surprise because China back then was really a backwards and at times, brutal place. Even now, the lessons and observations these people picked up can be still relevant, such as the power of the state and how much grip it had over people’s actions, thoughts and behaviors. I don’t see these as reasons to paint China as a terrible place, but instead why it’s important to be understanding, sympathetic and even supportive of China’s people. Being from a Hong Kong family and having been in Taiwan for the past few years have made me terribly aware of the deep arrogance, contempt and ignorance many people in these two places hold towards mainland Chinese and it’s sad that these people haven’t made a distinction between their feelings for the regime and the regular mainland Chinese people.

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