Ye Shiwen 叶诗文 and Olympic Politics

The astonishing performance of Ye Shiwen 叶诗文 (dubbed the ‘Mandarin Mermaid’ by the British press) in the Women’s 400m Individual Medley at the London Olympics drew doping allegations from some quarters, including some fairly high-placed sports officials. John Leonard, an American and the director of the World Swimming Coaches Association, all but accused Ye of doping, setting off a wave of acrid recrimination on the Chinese media.

The Xinhua article Chinese Athletes, Follow in Your Homeland’s Advancing Footsteps (1 August 2012) contends that speculation about doping reflects Western countries’ suspicion and hostility towards China as an emerging world power.

Chinese athletes, are you ready to face the pressure brought about by changes in the motherland? To meet it with grace deserved only by big country, and use the Olympics as a stage to show your moral character?

Reflecting on the ‘doping’ incident and the disqualification of China’s women’s badminton doubles team, journalist Zhang Ning commends China’s athletes for facing irrational criticism with grace and good humor.

Original article: 中国运动员,请跟上祖国前进的脚步


The West is Petty in its Harassment of Ye Shiwen, an editorial that ran in the Global Times on 1 August, blamed the controversy over Ye’s performance on bias against a rising China combined with outdated ideas about the Chinese people.

Imagine if Ye Shiwen had the same color skin and set the same miraculous speed record, but had American citizenship. Western public opinion would likely be singing a different tune. Phelps won eight golds in the pool in Beijing. Was that ‘normal’? Of course it was. Apart from the inherent possibility of the outcome, there was the fact that no one voiced any doubts, probably because he was American.

…Western public opinion after Ye Shiwen’s gold medal win once again demonstrated that the West’s unfriendliness toward China has grown considerably and is not only directed at China’s system but at many of its outstanding individuals. The West’s unhealthy mentality may very well show itself in particular Chinese events or individuals.

The article concluded with a warning to Chinese readers that they should be prepared to face unfriendliness and biased opinion from the West as China continues to lead the world in an increasing number of areas.

Original article: 刁难叶诗文,西方舆论太小心眼了