Today’s News Updates

Posted in News at 1:05 pm by Nicole

I returned to Shantou last night from Hong Kong having learned a Very Important Lesson: make sure you know the holiday schedule for the country you’re living in at all times. Today is April 5, “Qing Ming Jie,” or the holiday for honoring the dead. It’s the day when Chinese people return to their hometowns to pay homage to their ancestors. Judging from the traffic on the Shen-Shan Expressway yesterday afternoon and evening, there are a whole lot of people whose ancestors lie in Shantou who happen to now live in Shenzhen. What was supposed to be a four-to-five hour bus ride took six and a half hours. Got home in one piece, just a whole lot later than I expected.

Here’s the news summary from the last few days:

SHORT-TRACK SPEEDSKATING: The world championships in short track concluded on Sunday in Minneapolis, with much success going to the Chinese women. Highlights included gold for the team relay, gold for Wang Meng in the 500 meters and silver in the 1500 meters and 3000 meters, and silver for Fu Tianyu in the 500 meters. Read the story at the International Skating Union website here. Full results and reports are available on the ISU’s “Cyberscoreboard” here. The Cincinnati Post ran a short article summarizing the results of the event with quotes from Wang Meng.

In what is sure to be the first of many dispatches on this topic between now and 2008, we note that the ISU reports Chinese names with the given name first, followed by family name. Chinese names are normally written using the family name first. So, Wang Meng and Meng Wang are the same person (her family name is Wang). This website will always use the standard Chinese convention.

SPORTS BUSINESS: The China International Sporting Goods Show will be held in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, from April 20-23. China Economic Net has written a feature article about the event in slightly dicey but overall understandable English. According to the event website this is the largest sporting goods show in the Asia-Pacific region with 1000 exhibitors and over 50,000 buyers from around the world. The event website also includes a link to the Hong Kong International Sporting Goods Show, which took place from March 16-18. I’ve added links for both shows to the “Sports Business” page of this website for future reference.

SWIMMING: Canada’s Slam! Sports is reporting on the FINA short-course world swimming championships beginning today in Shanghai and running through April 9. Read the Slam! article here, and check out the event website here.

An interesting side note to the news article is that China’s Le Jingyi, a 1996 Olympic champion, took part in the festivities inaugurating the new swimming facility in Shanghai that is hosting the event. Le Jingyi is widely suspected of having been involved in the doping scandal that enveloped Chinese swimming in the early 1990′s, but there is no mention of that in the article. For the sake of the future of elite sports, I believe it’s imperative to keep the issue of doping at the forefront of all sports reporting, lest we become less than vigilant in the face of seemingly superhuman feats. This is not to take away from Le’s accomplishments, but it’s an oversight that I felt needed to be corrected.

PING-PONG DIPLOMACY: All of my students know the term “乒乓外交” (pronounced “ping-pong-why-gee-ow”) – “ping-pong diplomacy.” The act of sending ping pong teams where world leaders would otherwise never go did wonders for Nixon and Mao, and now it’s doing the same for China and Japan, two countries whose relationship to one another is tense even in the best of times. Xinhua reports on a reunion of Japanese and Chinese ping pong athletes in Beijing on the 50th anniversary of the 1956 world championships, which were held in Tokyo and which marked the first “sports exchange” between the two countries since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The Times UK is running a related story detailing the history of events between the United States and China that led to Mao’s invitation to the United States team in 1971.

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