It’s a hodgepodge right now, but the blog will be updated on a more regular basis going forward now that the China Sports Blogger is finally settled into a wonderful new home in the great Pacific Northwest. Rain? You betcha. Chinatown? Just down the street. Gotta love it.
Anti-piracy: Pirated goods in China run the gamut, including sports equipment. The UK’s Times Online reports on China’s latest efforts to crack down on counterfeiters ahead of a trade meeting with the United States.
I know you do. I really do. It’s the most-searched phrase that leads readers to the China Sports Blog: “CCTV-5 schedule.” Everyone in the world watches CCTV-5, China Central Television’s all-sports all-the-time television channel. And everyone wants to read an English-language schedule, and none exists. It’s a shame because the miracle of satellite television makes it possible for ping-pong fans in Germany and women’s volleyball fans in the United States to watch great coverage from China, where both of those sports are a very big deal. (I know, ping pong is big in Germany too, but still.) Anyway, here’s what I’ve got: links to the CCTV websites, which of course are in Chinese. As much as I’m able (very helpful if you email me with specific requests), I’ll keep an eye out for coverage of big events and will post it here on the CSB.
In China they have a term – å›½çƒ (guoqiu, pronounced “gwoh-chee-oo”) – which literally means “country ball,” as in, the country of China. It’s the term for “national sport,” and in mainland China, the national sport is most assuredly ping pong.
Not so, necessarily, in Taiwan, where baseball has really taken off. Taiwan has several representatives in the major leagues, and the Los Angeles Times is reporting today on Taiwanese Heritage Day at Mets Stadium in New York last night at Shea Stadium.
Taiwanese players have made great inroads in MLB and the fans have been there to support them all the way. When the Yankees came to Safeco Field in Seattle recently to play the Mariners, there were national flags everywhere in the stands to support Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang.
[By the way, the CSB makes no distinction between the various Chinese-speaking areas of Asia when it comes to commentating on Chinese sports culture. The focus of this blog is the sports cultures of ethnic Chinese populations in Asia, so Hong Kong and Taiwan sports culture are as much fair game as mainland China. I'd prefer to leave the politics to the politicians and let the athletes play their games, regardless of whether they live in Beijing, Taipei, or the New Territories. For the record, all three of these areas compete separately in the Olympics: the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, known in the Olympic movement as Chinese Taipei.]
After three flights (total time flying: 17-1/2 hours) and a six-hour bus ride from Shantou to Hong Kong, the China Sports Blogger has finally moved from China back home to the U.S. I’ll still be very much tracking the sports trends in China, just from a slightly more American vantage point.
I couldn’t resist putting this link up on the blog: a New York Times article about the charm of ping pong by an American who actually appreciates the sport. In China, of course, ping pong is the national sport. The national team players are all household names, and the car Kong Linghui crashed in a DUI a few weeks ago was, um, a Porsche. ‘Nuff said about how much money there is in Chinese ping pong. In the United States, it’s a labor of love. This is a nice read by a documentary filmmaker who has spent some serious time covering the sport.
You would think that working full-time in sports journalism and being in Beijing, the undisputed center of the Chinese athletic world, that there would be so much to write about that the blog could be updated hourly, not just three times a week as I was shooting for back in the spring. Ah, the innocence of beginning a blog. It’s been a tidal wave of work, travel, basketball in Guangzhou, Shaq in Beijing, trying to find LeBron for an interesting quote, the world broadcasters’ meeting with BOCOG and Beijing Olympic Broadcasting, coming back from GZ to BJ for the world junior track and field championships, and in the midst of it all, a flood of China sports-related news in my email box (Google news alerts – great stuff).
Beijing has officially arrived as a major sporting city, and there’s no way to keep up with it all on the blog until I hire a few full-timers to scour the ‘net for new material. I’ll update as often as I can with as much news as possible while simultaneously soaking up as much of the atmosphere as I can during these last ten days of my latest adventure in China. Once back home in the U.S. the blog will continue to be updated as often as possible, especially as the Olympics draw closer and closer.
One tidbit of news: if you’re living in Beijing, there’s a new sports magazine out on the newsstands today: ä½“è‚²ç”»æŠ¥ã€‚Check it out.
When I got to Beijing two and a half weeks ago I started to notice something I hadn’t seen on previous visits: uniformed officers on the subway platforms. Security, I thought at the time. Then yesterday morning I noticed something wonderful about them: they have foghorns and when a train arrives, they make an announcement that goes something like this: “Please let people exit the subway car before entering. Please make room for exiting passengers.” And it works. Before this week, getting on or off a subway was an exercise in squeezing through a sardine-can of a train car, stuffed to the gills with people, all of whom seemed to be moving with absolutely no regard or recognition for the people around them. Now, people are waiting at the sides of the doors on the platform and letting people get off the subway before they get on. Thanks to the guys in the uniforms with the foghorns.
“So, Nicole, what does that have to do with the Olympics?”
Funny you should ask. The press has covered the issue of “manners” in China fairly extensively in the last few months and the ways in which local officials are training Beijing residents to be more polite. It’s true that lining up is not necessarily expected, that public spitting, um, happens, and that cashiers sometimes just about throw your change at you. But the foghorns made my day because they worked. And it makes life easier for everyone, and makes me feel like we don’t have to push our way through life just to be able to live and work here. So thanks to 2008, I had a nice commute this morning. Hats off to the foghorns.
Olympics: USOC working to improve its image (USA Today); Morning swims could be even more golden for Phelps (IndyStar.com)
Track and Field: Ca$hing in on Liu Xiang’s feat (The Star, Malaysia); Chinese Olympic medalist turns rock star (Pacific Epoch)
Doping: Weightlifting doping cases are “tip of iceberg” (Associated Press, via the Globe and Mail)
Cricket in China: China enters cricket arena (NDTV, New Delhi)
Football scandals in China: Soccer fraud not limited (Shanghai Daily)
Basketball: Wang’s injury adds to Chinese troubles
2008 Olympics: Beijing Olympic volunteer recruitment to kick off (People’s Daily Online); Composers in theme tune contest (Xinhua); Olympic tower sports “Beijing 2008″ logo (People’s Daily Online); BOB [Beijing Olympic Broadcasting] busy building teams (China Daily)
2007 Special Olympics World Games: Special Olympics launches public service announcements (China CSR). Editor’s note: This article states that 170 countries are slated to compete in this event, which will make it the largest international sports event to date held in China.
Table Tennis: Kong Linghui detained in drunk-driving incident
Random Notes: Verizon Holds Carnival at Dragon Boat Festival. Editor’s note: It’s a press release and it’s not about stuff in China, but it’s about Chinese sports in the United States and attracting Chinese customers to a major U.S. company through the use of sports…so I say, relevant to the blog.
If you’ve been trying to access the blog the last few days you might have had an entirely different website appear when typing in our URL (http://chinasports.wokpopcorn.com/). We’re on the case…and finally I’m able to get to the page necessary for writing new posts. Hopefully readers will be able to access everything normally very soon, if it’s not already happening.
In other news…the blog is now based out of Beijing and will be until the end of August, when the China Sports Blogger (i.e. me) heads back home to the U.S. I’ll still be blogging, just from a slightly less Chinese-centric location for the time being.
The China Sports Blog moves to Beijing this week – I’ll be based there for the summer working in sports media and eating lots of Peking duck and drinking Starbucks lattes, I’m sure. (Shantou has many charms. Lattes are not one of them.) The blog will be updated as often as possible during the summer. One note: access to the blog was shut down over the last few days because somebody on my host’s server piqued the interest of the old men hiding behind the Great Firewall (insert obvious Wizard of Oz reference here), so if the blog goes dark, rest assured that it will be updated as soon as possible as soon as access is restored.
Once in a while you see an article about life in your neck of the woods and you say to yourself, oh yes, this writer got it right. So it is with Howard W. French’s article in the International Herald Tribune (originally published in the New York Times), “Minding Their Manners, Looking to the Olympics.” Read the “hello” story at the end of the piece and then, well, just trust me: it’s so true.
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