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Liu Xiang out

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James Reynolds | 12:12 UK time, Monday, 18 August 2008

In case you hadn't heard, Liu Xiang is out. China's great Olympic hope - the country's most famous athlete - pulled out of the 110m hurdles because he was injured.

I was in the stadium when it all happened - peering through a set of hefty binoculars from my seat near the finishing line.

Liu XiangShortly after 11:30 in the morning, everyone in the Olympic stadium started looking towards the tunnel near the starting line. The athletes taking part in the final heat of the opening round of the 110m hurdles were escorted into the stadium. They were led out by the man in a red China tracksuit drawn in lane two - Liu Xiang. At this point, we all thought he looked fine - if a little subdued. Then, during the warm-up it slowly became clear that something was wrong. Liu Xiang looked like he was limping a bit - but it was hard to tell for sure. A friend of mine, watching on TV, then texted me: "the TV pics show him in huge amounts of pain." But most of us in the crowd still had no idea how badly injured he was.

The runners settled into their blocks. The starter fired the gun - but it was a false start. Liu Xiang hobbled a few steps forward. Then he turned back and quietly took off the race stickers taped to his legs - this was the moment that he quit the Olympic Games.

He walked away from the track, and into the tunnel. Some people have since commented that there was a stunned silence in the stadium - perhaps in some seats there was. But where I was sitting there was just confusion. We looked around at each other - not sure of what we'd just seen. Had Liu Xiang just walked away from the Olympic Games? On the track, the runners took their marks again and they ran the race without him. At this point, it finally became clear to those of us sitting in the crowd - China's Olympics was going ahead without its star attraction.

Boys playing basketball in front of advert of Liu XiangIt's hard to overstate how important Liu Xiang has been to this Olympic Games. In some ways, China has built its entire Olympics around Liu Xiang - and the hope that he would defend the Olympic title he won in Athens. You can barely go more than a few metres in Beijing without seeing a poster of Liu - advertising a selection of ice creams, soft drinks, credit cars, sports shoes, and fast cars. Those adverts may now have to be speedily re-done.

Why was Liu Xiang so important? He was the first Asian man ever to win a gold medal in an Olympic track event (in Athens 2004). "His achievement made us feel that we could achieve anything ourselves as well," said one woman. So, Liu Xiang's expected gold medal in Beijing was about Chinese national confidence - it was about China feeling that it could do anything that any other country could do.

Many people we've spoken to here in Beijing feel deeply sorry for him - and also slightly guilty that so much pressure was placed on one man.

"My heart aches," one small boy said to me. "I'm so sad."

Others are less sympathetic. This is what one person wrote on an internet chatroom: "As a Chinese athlete, if you know you're hurt, you shouldn't join the game, if you joined the game, you shouldn't give up so easily, Liu Xiang you failed us all."

What do you think?

Comments

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  • 1. At 12:39pm on 18 Aug 2008, dahuzi wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 2. At 12:48pm on 18 Aug 2008, MikeFay wrote:

    I don't think he gave up easily. He had a practise run at the hurdles, and it clearly hurt a great deal. The false start made it clearly worse. If this sort of injury wasn't the sort that can end a hurdler's career if you push it, and the hurdles weren't an event where your timing being a bit off makes you hit hurdles rather than just be a bit slower, I suspect he'd have tried anyway.

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  • 3. At 12:49pm on 18 Aug 2008, Toddmt wrote:

    like i wrote in the other blog about liuxiang. as a chinese, i think hes already done enough. he is a great runner and person. This injury is hard to avoid, and people(majority) understand.


    Good luck, Liu xiang, and recover properly and completly! No mater whether ul be here in london 2012, ur still the hero!


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  • 4. At 12:54pm on 18 Aug 2008, sheriffCartman wrote:

    People writing on the internet can be idiots. This blog's no exception really.

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  • 5. At 12:58pm on 18 Aug 2008, zickyyy wrote:

    It was dispointing but we really appreaciate the effort Liu has made. He entered the stadium with pain on his face and he still tried to do the race. I was hugely impressed by how brave he was. Hope he will recover and come back soon.

    Here you just showed how Chinese people are dippointed and how they are sad and not happy. But did you say the support, understanding and comfort that people have given to him? If not, keep your eyes open, you will see more in the coming days as most people will do so.

    But by saying" In some ways, China has built its entire Olympics around Liu Xiang - and the hope that he would defend the Olympic title he won in Athens", you are so ignorant. I dunt know why you like imaging and exaggerating so much.

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  • 6. At 12:59pm on 18 Aug 2008, Belgian_Biscuit wrote:

    There will always be those who write such ignorant comments in chat rooms.

    The fact is that these athletes get to where they are because they are supremely talented and dedicated. Their motivation is absolute. He would not have been standing where he was as reigning Olympic champion if he were a quitter.

    No one would be more gutted that he could not compete than Liu Xiang himself.

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  • 7. At 1:02pm on 18 Aug 2008, Nick wrote:

    I'm British, but my heart goes out to Liu Xiang as it did also to Paula Radcliffe on Sunday. I hope both will compete in 2012.

    A great deal of money has been spent on these olympics, and possibly for valid reasons, but I hope London does not even try and compete on anything approaching this scale.

    A 'back to basics' olympics and one were athletes are not under huge commercial pressures should be a goal for both London and the IOC.
    Liu Xiangs detractors are hardly worth a response.

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  • 8. At 1:03pm on 18 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    This is an unfortunate event. Personally, I don't care about whether or not Liu could win in the first place. But I do feel sorry for him and many who had high hope.

    I think it's the right decision to stop the competition when having a injury. He still has his sporting future ahead and shouldn't continue to break his leg only because it will be a good show of 'Olympians never give up' stuff.

    "In some ways, China has built its entire Olympics around Liu Xiang."

    I don't think so. Liu's performance was a huge break-through. Idolizing him is good for sponsors ads. But I can't say his win is important enough to have "China built its entire Olympics" around it.

    "Liu Xiang's expected gold medal in Beijing was about Chinese national confidence - it was about China feeling that it could do anything that any other country could do."

    Real confidence isn't conditional. We still can "do anthing that any other country could do" with or without Liu.

    I kind of feel that James is putting words in our mouth. I have never heard anyone in China said anything like 'if Liu won, we won the Games'. The expectation was high, for sure. But its impact is strangely overstated.

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  • 9. At 1:03pm on 18 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    Liu Xiang like very sportsmen has their ups and down and unfortunately on this Olympics he was injured but he only represent one, a single gold medal. Last time I check China has won 37 golds and tops the table, some golds they could have won but didnt, others they didnt expect to win but won. Yes it is dissappointing for China Lui didnt compete but with his well reported injury many Chinese doubt he will take gold but the biggest losers here is the marketing company that relies on Lui's advertising.

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  • 10. At 1:07pm on 18 Aug 2008, fairreport wrote:

    Good to see you are writing about Olympics, and the first time not trying to politicise and criticise it. Thank you James.

    I got up early and directly started my computer and went to see how was Liu Qiang. Sadly he had to pull out because of injure, he definitely made a right decision.

    Nobody would be surprised if China take all table tennis gold medals in Olympic. Lu Qiang is special because he has done something that no other Chinese has done before. It was the first time that a non-Black person standed at 110M hurdle Olympic final, and actually won it in 2004.

    All the best to him.

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  • 11. At 1:11pm on 18 Aug 2008, WinnieWu wrote:

    To be honest, I am disappointed, although I can imagine how big the pressure he gets. Maybe it is better than to see he would fail on tracks.

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  • 12. At 1:19pm on 18 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    Hope LiuXiang recover from injury soon.

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  • 13. At 1:26pm on 18 Aug 2008, heyone wrote:

    No doubt this is going to disappoint the whole nation. I pretty much agree James' interpretation on why Liu Xiang has been so special to China (China has no shortage of gold medallists but I don't see anyone else has the same buzz as Liu's).

    The fact that Liu Xiang is the first Asian athlete to win a gold in an Olympic track event is largely in line with China's aspiration to be a superpower that rivals the West's dominance. The same applies to Yao Ming, who proves this by succeeding as a major NBA star.

    But I am shocked to find that some can actually be angered by his withdrawal. Surely even if Liu 'fails', China won't fail as a nation - I guess that's part of the 'angry youth' subculture of the Chinese internet scene.

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  • 14. At 1:26pm on 18 Aug 2008, dubs387 wrote:

    hi, can anyone tell me the music behind clip about Xiang used recently on the bcc which covered his problems and showed his coach breaking down in the PC?

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  • 15. At 1:27pm on 18 Aug 2008, love-xiang wrote:

    No matter if Liu Xiang joined or won this match, he is always the national hero of China. Do not judge a person so easily ! It is not fair. If today Phelps quit the Olympic games, what will you say- encourage him or lambast him? It is an obvious answer. So please treat LiuXiang fairly as a normal person who has been injured .

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  • 16. At 1:39pm on 18 Aug 2008, batdude_uk123 wrote:

    Just like Ronaldo in the 1998 football World Cup, I wonder if his sponsors or the Chinese Government told him he had to show up and compete?

    As there was no way he was going to race with that injury, if he did he would have done some hefty damage to himself.

    The doctors/physio's claim that they didn't detect it until this Saturday, well then once it was detected, he should have been no where near the start line, nevermind actually trying to compete.

    There was just too much pressure on the lad, and some of it I am gues was financial, as by the looks of things, a lot of people had a lot of money invested in him winning.

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  • 17. At 1:46pm on 18 Aug 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    Liu not completing the race and the Chinese people's (not all of them, but many) reaction 'speak' volumes about Chinese culture.

    They admire 'perfection' and failure to come out on top is a point of shame. Liu's 'loss' hit the Chinese so much because he symbolized them and China (not just represented, but symbolized). His supposed shame was a shame on China. And as have stated, they are making way too much of these Olympics than it deserves.

    In the United States, one of the most iconic Olympics moments was in the 1992 Olympics when in the 400m semifinals Derek Redmond pulled a hamstring. He was barely able to limp, much less sprint, and--with the help of his father--he came in last, but HE FINISHED THE RACE. As with the Chinese, the American incident demonstrated team effort, but not in the sense that one brings dishonor on the group, but that the group works together to succeed.

    Americans (and Redmond's family) were proud that he finished, not that he won. While American culture values 'perfection' as much as the next culture, it also values determination as much as, or more than, winning. Chinese culture seems to value only winning, and not-so-much the effort taken to get there.

    As for the Chinese making so much of these Olympics and beating the Americans in gold (and total) medals, the Olympics are a sporting competition. Yes, there are parallels with Cold War Olympic rivalry between the United States and the Soviet Union.

    But that only brings up the fact the the USSR won the medal haul at several Olympics during the Cold War. Yet few would argue that the USSR won the Cold War. Notably, the USSR no longer exists. Especially taking into consideration that some of their wins came as the Soviet Union was about to collapse, that sort of shows ultimately how irrelevant winning the most gold (or total) medals are. A little national pride. In the end, that doesn't count for much.

    Then take into account the [less popular] Winter Olympics where Germany frequently challenges or beats the United States. So, does that automatically make Germany a rival to the USA outside the sports arena? Or the Australian competition in swimming?

    When China's economy surpasses the United States, and when China's military is more powerful than the United States*, and that moment could be coming relatively soon, THEN China will have 'won' against the United States, and not because of winning some medals in an Olympics.

    *Egads for the world and especially East (Northeast and Southeast) Asia if that happens.

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  • 18. At 2:09pm on 18 Aug 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    Another thing, news anchors--and other people--shouldn't be breaking down because a sports athlete has pulled out of a competition.

    And if people have tickets and no longer want to attend because Liu won't be running, they should give or sell their tickets to the many people who would want to see an Olympic sport live.

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  • 19. At 2:16pm on 18 Aug 2008, ddstretch wrote:

    Very sad and unfortunate. But if he is ill and cannot run without aggravating a medical problem, he is better off withdrawing, which is what he did. Let's hope he recovers well and quickly, and that we see him again in other competitions in the future.

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  • 20. At 2:58pm on 18 Aug 2008, totalsxt wrote:

    liuxiang is still a hero.

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  • 21. At 3:03pm on 18 Aug 2008, amazonmothe wrote:

    I feel so sorry for this young athlete - David Beckham has made a very profitable career out of near misses and not actually achieving the medals.

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  • 22. At 3:09pm on 18 Aug 2008, endyjai wrote:

    I've mixed emotions, but he's injured, and that's that really.

    Would have liked for him to attempt the race, even if he were injured, but he would have if it weren't for the false start.

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  • 23. At 3:12pm on 18 Aug 2008, taobo33 wrote:

    I did predict liu might not win but I believe few people will expect him to quit because of injury.

    I hope Liu can take care of his injury and don't attend any competition till it's fully recovered. I know he did his best by still trying to compete with the injury. Actually when I see his expression of pain when he warm up I was repeating the same sentence in front of the TV:

    "Don't force yourself, give up please and don't hurt yourself, it's not worth it"

    He is still a hero.

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  • 24. At 3:13pm on 18 Aug 2008, sonyse2t5 wrote:


    I suspected something was wrong as Liu had not appeared at all since the Olypmics started, he was absent from the opening ceremony and did not have the impeccable role of flag bearer or to light the torch.

    A hamstring injury, how unfortunately, China at 67 medal tally with the US and with more gold than the US,without the need for one man claiming 8 to help out......even more extraordinary....an extra GOLD for China in the 110 hurdleswould have induce the crowd to stratospheric derilum.

    But like Tyson gay it was not meant to be......

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  • 25. At 3:36pm on 18 Aug 2008, fair teh middlin wrote:

    Liu who?

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  • 26. At 3:43pm on 18 Aug 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    He probably should have at least 'walked' to the finish line, that would be a very touching story for this Olympics.

    But, I believe he must have his reasons and I do hope that he can recover soon.

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  • 27. At 3:51pm on 18 Aug 2008, leelau wrote:

    oh of course the under lying message of this typical BBC response it trying to make it seem ominous or something fishy going on. It is laughable what you British journalists try to cook up about China. Fact of the matter is, he really wanted to race, really spent 4 years preparing and in true Chinese character, came out to race but could not do to bone problem that he was born with. China devastated - he is a national hero. It is like your Beckham breaks a leg and can never play again.

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  • 28. At 3:51pm on 18 Aug 2008, hughye wrote:

    there is no wrong if someone just said something bad. the deeply disappointed people has the right to express their feelings and the right to know the exact truth. however, it's kind of good that he cannot win. cause if he win again, even just a silver medal, there would be more bias towards him. and it is definitely not right to imagine 1.3 billion people's future just based on one person.

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  • 29. At 3:52pm on 18 Aug 2008, TaiyuanRen wrote:

    It's a conspiracy! It's our enemies to blame. Usual suspects include: British, they started Opium War; Japanese, everybody knows what they've done; Dalai Lama, he is a wolf in sheep's skin!

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  • 30. At 4:15pm on 18 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To heyone No.13,

    "No doubt this is going to disappoint the whole nation. "

    This is a strange thought. No one can stand for or speak for the whole nation.


    "The fact that Liu Xiang is the first Asian athlete to win a gold in an Olympic track event is largely in line with China's aspiration to be a superpower that rivals the West's dominance."

    I feel that you guys worried too much about your 'superpower' and 'dominance' status being taken away, not the other way around.

    "But I am shocked to find that some can actually be angered by his withdrawal."

    People are different. Some get angry because they paid too much for the tickets, some think Liu's injury might be a fake, some are just too passionate. You name it. This also shows how ridiculous a statement like 'No doubt this is going to disappoint the whole nation' is.

    "I guess that's part of the 'angry youth' subculture of the Chinese internet scene."

    well, we do have an angry youth' subculture. That's true. But a subculture is a subculture. No the whole nation, ok?

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  • 31. At 4:17pm on 18 Aug 2008, objection2it wrote:

    What a baby.

    How many seconds does he have to suffer to do the race?

    Pain is part of the games.

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  • 32. At 4:24pm on 18 Aug 2008, cambridgestuart wrote:

    The international eye has to have played a part in Liu Xiang's downfall. He had so much pressure on him, not just from the Chinese or international public, but from himself. I think in conditions like these its easy for an athlete of Liu Xiang's standard to injure himself or push himself too hard. Personally I always had that little fear that Liu Xiang wouldn't do nearly as well as the world knew he could.

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  • 33. At 4:25pm on 18 Aug 2008, zickyyy wrote:

    Re:

    17: AnonymousCalifornian
    "
    They admire 'perfection' and failure to come out on top is a point of shame. Liu's 'loss' hit the Chinese so much because he symbolized them and China (not just represented, but symbolized). His supposed shame was a shame on China. And as have stated, they are making way too much of these Olympics than it deserves
    "

    You know nothing about Chinese cuture. Just take a look at the comments left here by Chinese.

    Get the facts straight before u speak, ok?

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  • 34. At 4:27pm on 18 Aug 2008, mindMedy wrote:

    I believe it is a brand new experience of ordinary Chinese audience to face the quit of Liu Xiang. I knew him since 2000, which is much earlier than most layman sport fans who had accessed him via overwhelming advertisements and gossips. So it is ok to me, despite the regretfulness I can clearly detect on him and myself. People won't know how bad an injure can be to the athlete unless they seriously practice some sports. To compete is an unwisdom gamble to Liu. So Liu rightly left the stadium. Sports is more than loss and win. Hope the sportsmanship can root in Chinese heart. Good luck to Liu and Beijing Olympics.

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  • 35. At 4:28pm on 18 Aug 2008, koonie1984 wrote:

    The guy is a world class hurdler and on his day it would have been a fantastic contest between him and Robles. No one would have wanted to take gold more - in front of a home crowd - than him. For people to not be able to sympathise with his predicament is frankly disgusting - a man, clearly distraught and in pain, having to go out there for whatever reason, and attempt to race.

    At the end of the day he was right to quit as this is a potentially career-threatening injury and he has to consider his career and life before anything else - after all it's not his fault the Chinese public have put so much pressure on him and put him on so high a pedastal.

    Here's to a speedy recovery Liu and let's hope that in 2012 he can show us the truly great athlete he is and reclaim his Olympic crown!

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  • 36. At 4:37pm on 18 Aug 2008, xbang2003 wrote:

    he is our hero who gave us a big superise four years ago. then we put a huge budern on him to highlight our biggest celebrity. we are disappointed when I know his quit because of injury. however, we have no reason to blame anybody. it is sport, it is competition. bless him recover soon and wish I can see him in london in four years!!!!!

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  • 37. At 4:42pm on 18 Aug 2008, brianchang wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 38. At 4:59pm on 18 Aug 2008, Megaloughton wrote:

    How do I get hold of one of those credit cars you mention?

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  • 39. At 5:26pm on 18 Aug 2008, EDMWer wrote:

    He did not fail us and is still a hero for all Asians.

    His only fault would probably be for trying too hard to please too many people.

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  • 40. At 5:43pm on 18 Aug 2008, RecluseBlake wrote:

    All I can say is that my heart goes to Liu who has my sympathy.He bares on his shoulders too many hopes and expectations that Chinese people have on him.Of course, that's too much, especially when it's all on one man.It'll be a lifelong pity for him for not being able to compete on his motherland's soil even if he could regain his past glory,but still he will be the hero of China.It's quite unfair to lay all the blame on him though it just occured on such a critical moment. Well, it doesn't matter, Liu!Just pick up the pieces and hit the road again! I believe that the eyes of the world will be on you again in 2012.

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  • 41. At 6:04pm on 18 Aug 2008, singapore_chinaman wrote:

    Liu Xiang is a very stressed young man. He has whole of China resting on his poor shoulders. So much pressure on this poor chap is mentally wrecking. Before his race, he looked very unhappy and definitely not in the 'zone'. At one stage, he was seen kicking the wall with his right foot, kind of venting his anger. No good. I wouldn't like to be in his shoes. If he had missed a major athletic meet and false started in another meet this year prior to the Beijing Olympics, this man is in some sort of trouble. Missing these international meets mean that you are not able to hone in your skills and technique leading up to the Olympics. If Liu Xiang knowingly unable to perform or is hampered by persistent injury, someone (his coach) should withdraw him from his pet event and call it a day rather than walking into a frenzy crowd of 90,000, did not start and then walked out. 18 August 2008 will go down as one of China's memorable moments in her sporting history. Go Liu Xiang, you can do it again. You will come back to the Olympics to reclaim your title again. Go China.

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  • 42. At 6:20pm on 18 Aug 2008, Kyonko wrote:

    Well well well. Look what we have here again. Linking Liu to Chinese culture and Chinese characteristics.

    He's a sportsman. He needs a future (I heard Phelps is planning to quit before 2012). He is injured. Competing = the possibility of not having a future. The result? Of course, not to compete. This is the only logical course of action.

    To heyone:

    Angry youth, you say? Have you forgotten about the Hippies? Thank the Lord Almighty the internet is nonexistent at that time, or the President of the US may be dressed in funny bright Tees and shouted "peace all".

    What I see in online posts like this is "Angry McCarthyists" from the 1950s. Thankfully most of them will die off in the next two or three decades.

    If Phelps could not compete in this Olympics, there will be people in the US that says "Phelps J00 PH4i1ed us all." Will it be so pronounced in BBC? I thought not.

    To James:

    China did NOT build the Olympics around Liu. Sure, he's a "symbol", a celebrity, a hero to all of us, but the Olympics is not JUST for him.

    What about the diver Guo?
    What about the basketballer Yao?
    What about the gymnastics girls and guys?
    What about the table tennis team?
    What about the badminton team?
    What about the tennis girls?
    What about the weightlifting athletes
    What about the marksmen and markswomen?
    I could go on and on.

    While some companies may choose to abandon their ad campaign around Liu, it is my belief that he will remain popular - maybe less so, but popular nonetheless - in China as a star.

    On the other hand, he did disappoint me. I was looking forward to the showdown between him and Robles.

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  • 43. At 6:31pm on 18 Aug 2008, soniaj815 wrote:

    Liu Xiang is still a champion. Anyone who's been paying attention knows that he has been plagued by injuries. He shouldn't be competing if he is hurt. I know that limping to the finish is a great show of the Olympic spirit, but I would rather the athlete not hurt himself than make a show of anything. There is no shame in what he did and he has my, and a majority of his Chinese fan's support.

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  • 44. At 6:31pm on 18 Aug 2008, bendirs wrote:

    AnonymousCalifornian - I don't mean to be mean by pointing this out, but Derek Redmond is British.

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  • 45. At 6:35pm on 18 Aug 2008, GGonline2008 wrote:

    It's interesting to read individuals' interpretations of a nation's feelings. After reading the above blog entry I felt it had an extra dose of criticism and bitterness, although cleverly written to seem as an actual report.

    Interestingly, an article on TimesOnline had a much harsher title using the word 'shame' on it, which ended on a more positive note, actually quoting a Chinese official:
    "Feng [China's head coach] was keen to point out that Liu’s withdrawal was no soft option. “When the doctors were then giving him treatment,” he said, “he was shivering due to the great pain. Let me repeat: Liu Xiang would never withdraw unless the pain was intolerable. He is an athlete of durability. He has never pulled out of a competition before."

    He also stressed the hardships that his superstar had faced. “His psychological powers are great,” he said. “He withstands the kind of pressure that no other athlete has.”

    So still a hero, of sorts. At least that was the message." Owen Slot, Beijing
    ------------------------------------
    The AnonymousCalifornian's entry was soooo 'american', overgeneralising and ignorant (btw- I'm not Chinese, so I believe I am objective)- it'd be interesting to find out though if Liu could jump the hurdles if he were helped by a relative (responding to the equivalent cheesy example by the aforementioned comment author): "In the United States, one of the most iconic Olympics moments was in the 1992 Olympics when in the 400m semifinals Derek Redmond pulled a hamstring. He was barely able to limp, much less sprint, and--with the help of his father--he came in last, but HE FINISHED THE RACE."

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  • 46. At 6:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, zantane wrote:

    @ anonymouscalifornian, your comments on how the Chinese reacted to Xiang's injury and the Chinese culture in whole are erroneous and disgusting.

    You obviously do not understand their culture and are using this unfortunate blow to one of their favorite athletes against them.

    China is approaching America in economical development, but this is no means a challenge or a competition. It is a country trying to rise out of decades of strife and turmoil. There is no evidence that they'll use their economics or growing military for any harm as you imply against other parts of Asia. Instead, if you look at the Sichuan Earthquake, the army was immediately sent there to help the residents.

    For you to simply talk in such a way about Chinese culture is ridiculous. Obviously, you know nothing about it. The Chinese public has rallied for Liu Xiang; he is still a hero to them.

    To say he is a shame for China is absolutely erroneous. He was still incredibly brave in trying to run in such obvious pain (from the TV anyway; kudos to James Reynolds for depicting the crowd's confusion). People who looked up to him as China's great track star still think so. They understand that he did his best. Look on any message board and his fans are still rallying for him.

    "Chinese culture seems to value only winning, and not-so-much the effort taken to get there." Yes, Chinese people value winning; this is echoed universally across most cultures, but they really appreciate the effort. Athletes who get hurt are still immensely supported by the Chinese. Case in point, I remember a young female gymnast became paralyzed at an earlier competition; she's since become a national hero for her bravery.

    As for China trying to top the gold medal leaderboard, this is just the country trying to pull itself together. After decades of being less developed, they have the potential and want to burst onto the world stage. It is not entirely a rivalry with the United States (well, which country doesn't want to upset the dominating States?) but rather a chance to show the international community that China's athletes, organizers and fans are ready.

    They sure showed it. Congratulations to Liu Xiang; still a wonderful athlete. Also, good on the Chinese fans for showing such support, even when *some* are using this time and a few limited comments to blast a culture they don't know at all.

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  • 47. At 7:31pm on 18 Aug 2008, aeroarchie wrote:

    james reynolds

    Why should all those Liu Xiang adverts be re-done? Liu Xiang's images were used extensively in Chinese adverts after he won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, not because of what he may achieve in 2008.

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  • 48. At 7:54pm on 18 Aug 2008, MaskedGodot wrote:

    I don't believe this Olympics is like the Soviet-American rivalry, but no more than China's desire to show they can do the best in their own country. By getting the most Olympic Golds they can prove they deserved to host the Olympics. The world ignoring China's ability to host the Olympics for the past millennium has proved wrong due to how many competitive athletes exist in China.

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  • 49. At 7:55pm on 18 Aug 2008, prettyLiPeng wrote:

    FAO zickyyy and lee lau...
    I'm afraid your comments are typical of many Chinese people who post comments on James Reynolds blog. They are further evidence of how hyper-sensitive, blinkered and paranoid Chinese people are, in general. You constantly try to nit-pick and criticise James at every turn, with the recurring phrase seeming to be- "you dont understand China, James." If you agreed with 99.9% of a post by James, your comments would disregard this 99.9% and you would seize on the 0.1%. Chinese peope cant take criticism of their glorious Motherland, because of their patriotism.

    Lets face it, the majority of us outside China have grown up with a free press and are therefore better able to judge whether James does his job well. As far as I see it he is fair, sees both sides of an argument, and honest. I'm sure one of his hopes as a China correspondent is to improve things in China by way of open, honest reporting. Your country would be a better place if it had the BBC instead of CCTV...

    BTW- some Westerners do understand China. Dont discount us all.

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  • 50. At 8:07pm on 18 Aug 2008, dch1950 wrote:

    I'm puzzled,because in the warm up area he's shown kicking three bells out of a door.
    Then we are told he's not running as he hurt his foot!
    No doubt a result of kicking a door too hard.

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  • 51. At 9:14pm on 18 Aug 2008, redtibetan wrote:

    If you remember me, i have predicted this long time back. the irony is that this man has been put under such a pressure and it seems an entire nation is bullyin him to make it to top. after all he is also human and he has a limitation and thats it for him. he has done in athen and now its time for someone. I hope the chinese government take good care of him incase something bad happens... you never know

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  • 52. At 9:27pm on 18 Aug 2008, heyone wrote:

    To londonlurker #30

    "This is a strange thought. No one can stand for or speak for the whole nation."

    There you go: No doubt this is going to disappoint many.

    By saying 'the whole nation' I didn't mean literally everybody in China. But we already have many disappointed (not necessarily angry) people here on this page.


    "I feel that you guys worried too much about your 'superpower' and 'dominance' status being taken away, not the other way around."

    a) What has to happen will happen, I'm not worried.

    b) You can't deny the fact that many Chinese people are self-conscious about this 'superpower' and 'dominance' thing. My interpretation is that to some Liu symbolises China's rise. And of course to some this guy wins a lot of 'face' for the country as well.

    "People are different. Some get angry because they paid too much for the tickets, some think Liu's injury might be a fake, some are just too passionate. You name it. This also shows how ridiculous a statement like 'No doubt this is going to disappoint the whole nation' is."

    "well, we do have an angry youth' subculture. That's true. But a subculture is a subculture. No the whole nation, ok?"

    I was shocked about the 'As a Chinese athlete, if you know you're hurt...Liu Xiang you failed us all.' comment that James read in a chatroom.

    My mention of angry youth refers specifically to this kind of irrational comments on some Chinese internet forums. Here I used the word 'subculture' on purpose -

    1) thankfully it's not the mainstream sentiment yet

    2) you call it a subculture rather than individual occurences because you already have enough people doing it.

    I believe this angry youth problem is a result of excessive nationalism. The government uses this at their convenience but they should be very careful that it could backfire.

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  • 53. At 9:38pm on 18 Aug 2008, nicellcc wrote:

    I feel sorry for LIU xiang to quit the game. Hope he can heal his injury and back soon.
    As mentioned in your blog, "His achievement made us feel that we could achieve anything ourselves as well," said one woman. So you drew your conclusion then " Liu Xiang's expected gold medal in Beijing was about Chinese national confidence" That sounds ridicuous for me. We do not need one event to prove/increase our confidence, although we do wish he can win. Through Olympics opening ceremony, efforts from all volunteers and athelets, I can obviously see/feel confidence around the nation. It is supported by the great achievement of the country in Economy, Politics and Culture, etc. not only based on a person's achievement.
    All the best for Liu Xiang...

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  • 54. At 10:08pm on 18 Aug 2008, chaobai wrote:

    I don't know why James assumes that China build the entire game around Liu Xiang? Where did he even get this idea from?

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  • 55. At 10:57pm on 18 Aug 2008, wangyiwei wrote:

    James,

    I believe Liu Xiang should go through a thorough medical test, possibly take a year off for the recovery overseas. So far, his injury has been proven to be too challenging for the domestic doctors.

    Providing his current condition, I don't think it was human to ask him to start the heat...

    A little typo, though:

    "...Liu - advertising a selection of ice creams, soft drinks, credit cars..." - I believe it should have been "credit cards".

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  • 56. At 11:54pm on 18 Aug 2008, LyndonApGwynfryn wrote:

    AnonymousCalifornian:
    "In the United States, one of the most iconic Olympics moments was in the 1992 Olympics when in the 400m semifinals Derek Redmond pulled a hamstring. He was barely able to limp, much less sprint, and--with the help of his father--he came in last, but HE FINISHED THE RACE. As with the Chinese, the American incident demonstrated team effort, but not in the sense that one brings dishonor on the group, but that the group works together to succeed.

    Americans (and Redmond's family) were proud that he finished, not that he won. While American culture values 'perfection' as much as the next culture, it also values determination as much as, or more than, winning."

    Er..., Derek Redmond is a Brit.

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  • 57. At 11:55pm on 18 Aug 2008, Kitty Antonik Wakfer wrote:

    Since intelligence for human beings is *far* more important than the ability to run fast, (even over hurdles) it is ridiculous for so many Chinese to be devastated that Liu Xiang, who reportedly won the first Olympic gold medal for an Asian in a track event (2004), dropped out of this Olympics because of an injury. It is a poor reflection on those Chinese who are so negatively affected by this occurrence in a physical activity competition, especially when the reputation for high academic achievement by USers of Chinese extraction is well known. I expect that this same high academic achievement is seen by Chinese immigrants and their offspring in other countries too. But then achievement is always individual; even if Liu Xiang had won another gold medal it would have been he who had done the winning - *not* China.

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  • 58. At 01:12am on 19 Aug 2008, lukaigirl wrote:

    To LondonLurker

    Your comments from "Filming me, ... "

    "... Who told you that China has lost Taiwan? Taiwan is not a country, it hasn't declared independence. Most of the countries in the world agrees that Taiwan is part of China. The mainland and the island is divided by politics and meddling of the West."


    Yes, China has lost Taiwan. On May 25, 1895, Taiwanese proclaimed the "Republic of Formosa" to resist impending Japanese rule. In 1871, a Japanese vessel shipwrecked on southern tip of Taiwan and 54 members of crew were beheaded by the Paiwan/lukai aborigines. When Japan complained to the Ching/Manchu government of China, the Chinese court rejected any compensation on the grounds that the unsubjugated savages were outside its jurisdiction. The open renunciation of sovereignty led to the colonization of Formosa in 1895, until Japan lost World War II in 1945. Manchu Dynasty never established Formosa as a province formally applying onto it the political system of China proper. The migration of southern Chinese to Formosa didn't (doesn't) automatically shift the self-determined self-sufficient island to the hands of China.

    On November 12, 1933 the Uyghurs of Xinjing declared an independence state as First East Turkistan Republic, or Republic of Uyghurstan. Further, a Second East Turkistan Republic existed from 1944 - 1949 which is the birthday year of the People's Republic of China led by Mao. China also invaded Xinjing as well as Tibet.

    Tibet was once an independence kingdom, and Tibet in 763 even invaded Tang Dynasty China to occupy the Tang Capital, Chan'an, for 16 days. I think the unforgiving Chinese (Kung-fu was developed as a way to go back to get even with whoever ever brought injury or insult to the Chinese.) is coming back with vengence to get even with Tibet. Ha Ha Ha ! Only a joke. What China really wants is the treasures bury under the footprints of the Tibetan.


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  • 59. At 02:11am on 19 Aug 2008, Mashuaiqi wrote:

    He Liu Xiang,to my way of thinking,the true man.

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  • 60. At 02:12am on 19 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    I have seen some China haters who pretend to be Chinese and they write in the most unreasonable way to mislead people in this forum.

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  • 61. At 03:52am on 19 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    no 29.
    TaiyuanRen wrote:
    It's a conspiracy! It's our enemies to blame. Usual suspects include: British, they started Opium War; Japanese, everybody knows what they've done; Dalai Lama, he is a wolf in sheep's skin


    This poster often cites about human rights abuse in China and oppression about the government but this post really shows his true intention that he is nothing more than a anti Chinese bigot!

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  • 62. At 03:54am on 19 Aug 2008, doctorjimboj wrote:

    Regarding ANONYMOUSCALIFORNIANS post 17:

    "In the United States, one of the most iconic Olympics moments was in the 1992 Olympics when in the 400m semifinals Derek Redmond pulled a hamstring. He was barely able to limp, much less sprint, and--with the help of his father--he came in last, but HE FINISHED THE RACE. As with the Chinese, the American incident demonstrated team effort, but not in the sense that one brings dishonor on the group, but that the group works together to succeed.
    Americans (and Redmond's family) were proud that he finished, not that he won. While American culture values 'perfection' as much as the next culture, it also values determination as much as, or more than, winning"

    Well, I'm sure many Americans may have been proud of his spirit, that would have been very nice of them. However, Derek Redmond was a BRITISH athlete (retired) and this moment you refer to took place in Barcelona, nothing to do with the USA.
    To use your own words: this 'speaks' volumes to your inability to make a credible point.

    I respectfully suggest you do your research properly next time my friend.

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  • 63. At 04:11am on 19 Aug 2008, ding0ding wrote:

    Liu Xiang made a right decision. It came to me as a surprise first. But after learning what happened, I am glad that he made that decision.

    He must be viewed as more of an individual than a symbol of nation. Liu Xiang is Liu Xiang who has done a fantastic job in the past. He brings glory to the nation. But it doesn't mean that he "owes" the nation another one.

    To say"he failed us; he failed China" is way too fanatic. How can one person be responsible for one nation and 1.3 billion people? It's the "us" who failed themselves.

    Liu Xiang pulled out of the game because he was badly injured. It was surprising and to many people disappointing. But we should accept that and move on...

    Game continues.

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  • 64. At 04:18am on 19 Aug 2008, ding0ding wrote:

    and i will believe he will come back some point in future.

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  • 65. At 06:05am on 19 Aug 2008, yellowminshurts wrote:

    SPORTSPERSON SAYS CHINESE HERO HAS PAIN IN HIS HEAD, NOT LEG

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  • 66. At 07:38am on 19 Aug 2008, lawrenceOmagh wrote:

    Personally, I think the Chineses media has been putting too much pressure on Liu. The hughe poster of Liu is larger than that of Chairman Mao and Teng Xiao Peng. It must have weighed too much on him.

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  • 67. At 07:44am on 19 Aug 2008, singxmm wrote:

    "Liu Xiang's expected gold medal in Beijing was about Chinese national confidence - it was about China feeling that it could do anything that any other country could do."

    Err... I really cannot agree. Another misunderstanding by westerners on Chinese.

    Let me tell you what matters more about "National Confidence": your clothes is Made-In-China, your cell phone is Made-In-China, your laptop is Made-In-China, your TV set is Made-In-China, your car is Made-In-China (happening although not very common yet), oh yes, and your news is about China.

    This is what helped us to bulid up our National Confidence. The heros like Liu Xiang surely help enhance the confidence, but his pull-out doesn't hurt it at all.

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  • 68. At 08:28am on 19 Aug 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    The earlier post, #17, probably came out seeming too harsh against Mr. Liu. The point was aimed more at the Chinese people (in general, not every single Chinese) which suspect will basically treat Liu as a disgrace after his 'failure.' Some of the Chinese here have (basically) declared that that will not be the case, and hopefully they are right. But solely judging from the Chinese here and elsewhere on the Internet, Liu has become yesterday's news, at the least. At most, he could end up being treated as a national embarrassment.

    He would have had a pretty difficult time completing the hurdles if he could not jump, so the arguments made by at least one response that he should have crossed the finish line does not hold. And as the presenters here in the United States have stated, the fact that he even showed up was out of respect for his country, so that was sort of a 'Redmond moment.'

    And kudos to the Chinese gold medalists who actually sing their national anthems on the podiums. Seems as though most of the Americans forgot or didn't learn theirs. The United States should tone up the nationalism if America is to have the confidence to challenge China, and China should tone down the nationalism if China is to become the primary superpower impacting the whole world. The world has already seen what hyper-nationalist Europeans have done to the world--and China has more people than Europe, around a fifth of humanity.

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  • 69. At 08:38am on 19 Aug 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    zickyyy,

    Will readily acknowledge that personally happen to not be even remotely an expert on China or Chinese culture. That stated, the attitudes of the Chinese expressed on this blog and on the Internet in general, have only reinforced the suggestion that for Chinese culture there is only win or lose, and too little respect for the effort and motivation of the journey. (Not to mention the extreme nationalism, even racism, which is common on Asian (English language) Internet fora. The Chinese are up there with the Japanese and Koreans in looking down on each other and then even lower at the rest of the world).

    You, and most of the other Chinese posters here (not all), have done squat in terms of destroying these opinions--which you obviously deem to be ignorant--about your country or culture. On the contrary, you only seem to bolster those stereotypes and give them even more validity that they represent the real China.

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  • 70. At 08:47am on 19 Aug 2008, yanmai wrote:

    I was moved by all the people who were willing to show the understanding to liuxiang,and in china,the main majority of people ,also ,more are showing
    their king-hearted.
    We will forever suppoet him with our love and understanding~...

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  • 71. At 09:34am on 19 Aug 2008, Kathleen_K wrote:

    To # 17 "AnonymousCarlifornian" and Mr Reynolds,


    "They admire 'perfection' and failure to come out on top is a point of shame. Liu's 'loss' hit the Chinese so much because he symbolised them and China (not just represented, but symbolised). His supposed shame was a shame on china". Wrong!!

    At least the Chinese people didn't give Liu death threat like the British football fans did to David Beckham after David had got sent out for kicking Simeone in 1998 World Cup. Did you watch the gymnastics the night before? China's Cheng fei failed to deliver herself in the floor exercise. Cheng buried her head and cried afterwards, the Chinese spectators kept on clapping their hands to give her support until she raised her head again. Cheng is a Floor Exercise and Vault specialist. She even has one of the most difficult vaults in gymnastics named after her. Many Chinese had high hopes that Cheng would get a gold medal. She failed, the Chinese felt disappointed but that doesn't mean they don't support her. Same, many Chinese people felt sad that Liu couldn't compete in the race but they still support him. I also followed the news yesterday, a lot of people did show their sympathy and understanding. Mr Reynolds just didn't quote those supportive sayings to give a balanced view. He's selective, as usual.

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  • 72. At 09:44am on 19 Aug 2008, heyone wrote:

    to kyonko #42

    What hippies? Does their existence make 'angry youth' not a problem?

    Nationalism in China is about putting the so-called 'national interest' above all and making unhumane expectations on people for various 'patriotic' reasons. These people get angry easily, with both Chinese and foreigners hurting their 'national pride'. Again, I said this is a worrying subculture among young people. The Chinese government knows this and has diligently deleted many of these angry comments regarding Liu's withdrawal.

    There are various speculations for the 'real' reasons behind Liu's withdrawal. My guess is that the pressure had been so great that even if Liu knew that he wasn't fit for the race, he and his coach wouldn't have a chance to withdraw before it all started (look at what some of the Chinese officials said before all these happened). The injury was so bad that he could do nothing but pull out (he would have still run if it weren't a false start, the result could be even more catastrophic).

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  • 73. At 09:47am on 19 Aug 2008, worldofharmony wrote:

    In case you haven't noticed, Chinese athletes used to be seen fighting back tears whenever the PRC anthem is played at victory ceremonies. As a child, I was under the impression that it was supposed to be a patriotic sign. Nowadays, some of the athletes still do, much to the amusement to expats like a friend of my father's. But I see difference in the two generations of teary athletes: that of nationalistic sentiments and that of national pride and confidence.

    That China has changed means that our national confidence no longer needs helping from performances by individual athletes. It enables the Chinese people to be more forgiving in situations like Liu's.

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  • 74. At 10:24am on 19 Aug 2008, yetingsong wrote:

    to AnonymousCarlifornian,

    Stop spreading lies about China and Chinese people! And don't pretend to sound like you're the expert on the subject because it's utter nonsense to Compare Chinese with Nazi's.

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  • 75. At 11:07am on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To heyone No.53,
    hi, thanks, your reply this time is more reasonale than before.

    About the 'superpower'. China has been trying to avoid such image and said all along that it only wants a 'peaceful development'. We don't send troops everywhere to be the world police, do we? We go to Africa to build roads and railways for fair trading, not liking the west. The 'China threat' theory is a propaganda by the west to limit the opportunities for China to develop. It's a western strategy to maximize your profit everywhere. Can you deny this is not at all true?

    "My interpretation is that to some Liu symbolises China's rise."

    This interpretation is tricky. It really depends on what you mean by 'rise'. If you mean rise from the weak state after the mess of WWII and civil war and culture revoltion, then yes. If you mean rise to a superpower and become an agressive force like US, then no.


    About angry youth problem. I can tell you that it has been a long time since culture revolution. It used to be serious, and excessive nationalism was indeed there. But now it's more like a hangover phase. Most of the current youth generation have parents who grew up in the culture revolution. But they will grow over it when they are older, just like their parents who now know what's the reality. Young people tend to make a lot of noise, angry youth is a bit like hippie culture. It will never become a main stream.

    I feel that quite a lot of people worry about Chinese nationalism. Could it be a post-trauma syndrome after the nazis? Nazis used nationalism to invade others. But we never did. I don't think you need to worry too much about China. China only uses it to defend itself, to protect what it has since the people's republic was founded. Also, as the nation becomes stronger, the nationalism sentiment will be used less and less. If you are an insider, you will know.



    about the angry youth problem. People became 'angry youth' when they are growing up and suddenly find out the reality isn't what has been grew over that

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  • 76. At 11:18am on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To lukaigirl No.58,
    Is that your definition of 'lost'?
    If you refer 'China' as a 5000-year civilization, then yes it has lost many these territories and gained those teritories. But history is history. People's republic of China has never lost and will not allow the losing of any territories. I know you are a deep green from Taiwan. I understand your sentiment. I'm ok with it. But you are mixing up concepts here.

    It's now P.R. China, not Qing dynasty. If you have to set the time back to one century ago to claim that Taiwan and Tibet has been independent once. Then you'd better set the time back further, when there was no US but native american, no Uk but Vikings, celtics, and romans, no France but Gauls and Lorraine,no Spain but Catalan, Basque...

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  • 77. At 11:22am on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To heyone no.42,

    It's a problem, but not a big one. Angry youth is now frawn upon in China. 'Angry youth' is not a name of honor but a bad word to criticize people.

    "There are various speculations for the 'real' reasons behind Liu's withdrawal. My guess is that the pressure had been so great that even if Liu knew that he wasn't fit for the race, he and his coach wouldn't have a chance to withdraw before it all started (look at what some of the Chinese officials said before all these happened)."

    The commonly accepted speculation is that the sponsors (nike, visa,... all western companies) force Liu to withdraw, because they invested too much on ads.

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  • 78. At 11:24am on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    'frawn upon' should be 'frowned upon' for the above comment.

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  • 79. At 11:32am on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    It's a pity that I can't revise my comments... made to many errors but can't go back. anyways, hope you can still understand what I was trying to say.

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  • 80. At 12:27pm on 19 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    I forgot to delete the last paragraph of my comment No.75...


    One more thing to Lukaigirl.

    I think you've mixed up your logic. If you think Chinese have no rights to take back Taiwan because historically Lukai aboriginals were not under the rule of Chinese, then you should really just overthrow your KMT government first. Your support to KMT-ruled Taiwan to become independent, only results in KMT (which is Waisheng Ren) ruling you region more. If you want to play the minority card, then why don't you want the independence of Lukai region in Taiwan? I wonder.

    By the way, the territory claiming by Republic of China is even bigger than what People's Republic claims. It includes mongolia, part of russia and much more. IF KMT were to win the civil war with the support of US, 'China' would be even bigger by now. So, Tibetans should also go to Taiwan to protest that, and protest US who supports KMT.

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  • 81. At 12:40pm on 19 Aug 2008, buaadallas wrote:

    Before this Olympic games, I thought Liu had no chance to win this gold medal. Because Roberts was in his best condition and broke the world record easily.
    So I am not disapointed by his exit. If he felt no way to continue the game, no problem. He is a important athlete in China, but during this Olympic games, there are many other Chinese athletes have very wonderful performances. So I think it can compensate a lot for Chinese. For me, I feel nothing about his fail.

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  • 82. At 12:45pm on 19 Aug 2008, Guo2008 wrote:

    I know why Liu failed... his name "Xiang" means flying in Chinese (even got feather in his name). How could it be possible to fly in a "Bird nest", a nest is resting place not for flying...

    It is the curse of the name of national stadium caused Liu's failure. We got to change the name...

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  • 83. At 12:54pm on 19 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    Well before the Games I predicted China will clean up the pollution problems in Beijing and all credit to China they have. Doom merchant such as the BBC and James Reynold in his blogs were completely and utterly wrong in their predition.

    I hope the BBC do the right thing and be a responsible news broadcaster and apologise for their negativities about the competents of the Chinese people and its government to host a pollution problem free Olympics and all the other bias news reportings you have indulged in these past 6 months.

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  • 84. At 2:19pm on 19 Aug 2008, thhan279 wrote:

    For Chinese all over the world, his withdrawal from this 110m hurdle might be the greatest disappointment, nevertheless, he is the only Chinese that has broken the world record in 110m hurdles. This cannot be denied. No matter Liu Xiang, we Chinese still love you.

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  • 85. At 2:45pm on 19 Aug 2008, Kyonko wrote:

    To lukaigirl:

    Taiwan (no, the Republic of China) had never claimed independence. If the US allowed the ROC to do so, then I think your house would have been bombed to oblivion by PLA rockets (did you know that PLA rocket artillery can cover the entirety of the island? God forbid thousands of rockets land on innocent people!)

    What a joke. Quebec used to be a French colony; it tried to separate from Canada. What did the Canadian gov't do? They spent billions in campaigns. When FLQ terrorists kidnapped officials (NOTE: Tibetan terrorists burnt shops and torched people ALIVE. Uyghur terrorists attacked and KILLED police officers), what did Trudeau do? DECLARE MARTIAL LAW. Yes, you heard that right. When al-Qaeda rammed jets into WTC, what did the US do? START A GLOBAL WAR AND FORCE EVERYONE TO COMPLY. Yes, you heard that right. What's wrong with dealing with terrorists with force?

    To LondonLurker:

    Setting the time back will blow the map (as well as some people's brains) to bits, so I advise against it.

    Then again, there were only 13 states in the US when Tibet was "independent". I'd expect some people to forget about this and only focus on Tibet.

    To Heyone:

    Wait. You're saying, that making national interest an important part of the people's lives is not right? Note that it is not above all else in people's lives. Some people (very few of them) would betray the national interest for money. Most people would value money above everything else, for frankly there is little in their life that has anything to do with national interest, except voicing their support for injured athletes, and condemn those who make unjust judgments on their motherland. Is that dangerous?

    Of course, there are people who are overzealous (ahem, Bush supporters in the US? People who refuse to bring Khadr home?), but you cannot consider them the representation of the majority of Chinese people. Sure, most of them are irritated by the often overly harsh criticisms of the West and the blatant separatist movements in Tibet and Xinjiang; however, because of the virtues of our culture, we will not overtly show our displeasure at ignorant foreigners. We would ignore them and go on with our lives.

    If Western media and HR movements want to be ignored (which they most likely are), they'll have to abandon their hard-line rhetoric and switch to a more moderate view.

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  • 86. At 2:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    James:

    I heard what happen to Liu Xiang, and it is very sad...

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  • 87. At 2:53pm on 19 Aug 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    Liu:

    I hope he recovers from his injury!

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  • 88. At 3:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, thisisacryforhelp wrote:

    glad Liu hasn't gone as mentally disabled as those who confuse sport with national sentiments.

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  • 89. At 3:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, four_lions wrote:

    Good luck Liu Xiang. You did your best for your country.
    In a way you did not loose much. If you had won you would have been the biggest hero in China. But sadly it doesnt even take a second for a hero to be labelled a "traitor" in your country. Just try speaking out about the pressure put by the goverment on you.
    So take rest with peace of mind that you lost almost nothing.

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  • 90. At 3:56pm on 19 Aug 2008, angeliccj wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 91. At 4:30pm on 19 Aug 2008, manpet wrote:

    Too ambitious, too much burden, too greedy sometimes.

    There are a lot of unbearable lightness in the world.

    I hope Liu would realise he is just a normal person, like you and me.

    I hope chinese would also realise that achievement and success are from yourself, not from somebody else.

    Anyway, this is olympic games! Games!

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  • 92. At 4:36pm on 19 Aug 2008, manpet wrote:

    To Heyone:

    If the "nationalism" you mentioned in your numerous post is not your favorite, but I 100% think it is necessary for the current chinese society.

    This is the identity of a nation. Without this identify, the nation is useless.

    Read this week's british media, especially newspace. British is re-establishing this "nationalism".

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  • 93. At 4:56pm on 19 Aug 2008, objection2it wrote:

    hey redtibetan, in #51 you sound like you prayed for bad luck for China.

    Are you and your anti-China buds always praying for bad things to happen in China?

    You better start to pray for good things in China soon, after the Olympics you'll never know what can happen.

    China no more nice, no more kids gloves, no more whimps and no more talk, they are back without a care.

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  • 94. At 6:01pm on 19 Aug 2008, heyone wrote:

    kyonko #85

    Don't go distorting my words. I never said national interest is not important, nobody wants to be a traitor after all.

    It's just that it becomes insane when you put national interest above ALL. What constitute to national interest is also loosely defined and some Chinese people seem to have problem drawing a reasonable line on that.

    One example: some people think showing this innocent 7 year old singer's face in the opening ceremony is against national interest. I am not sure what kind of national interest they are talking about here. Of course you get many people defending the authorities' decision as usual.

    On Taiwan, I just think it's a reality that CCP has lost Taiwan. In fact, they never had it, they never set foot on it and they have no effective control to it. The fact that CCP is ruling China now is only a result of the civil war, in which KMT lost control of the mainland.

    I'm not against one China but you just have to face the reality that the Taiwanese aren't ready for CCP rule and will not accept CCP rule given the current poltical system with which mainland China is run now.

    Unless the Taiwanese is convinced that the CCP system is actually better than the democracy they have now or the mainland starts to have a democracy that's comparable to Taiwan's, I think many Taiwanese are happy with the status quo, 'One China, different representations'. It's not quite the sense of 'one China' that most of the mainland Chinese or CCP would want now but that's not gonna change without a fight I think.

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  • 95. At 7:25pm on 19 Aug 2008, Kyonko wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 96. At 10:12pm on 19 Aug 2008, angeliccj wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 97. At 10:37pm on 19 Aug 2008, redtibetan wrote:

    To objection2it #93
    i am not praying, i have foreseen that long time back and thats reality of the atheletes. they come and go. As you said, i 100% agree with you what will happen after olympic.. thats a huge guess but history has shown, how mighty you are, it will come down no matter what..china has 56 ethnic minorities, 300 million farmers and poor peoples. 150 million migrant workers, 250 million bachelors by 2015, 200 millions baby boomers by 2020, beijing will be further deserted, rivers polluted by poisonous chemicals by unregulated minings, corruption and inflations a major issue.. I foresee the wise military generals who sympathise with common people would oneday coup the CCP and democracy will then start with principles of true chinese cultural heritage of 5000 years. thats begining of new century for china that will florish with teaching of buddha, confucious and taosm. belief me this coming sooner than we thought. mt everest is melting at the fastest phase, natural disasters are at the highest in Chinese history. environment destruction, deforestation, illegal minings are happening today..

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  • 98. At 10:48pm on 19 Aug 2008, Walsh of Wembley wrote:

    #75 "We go to Africa to build roads and railways for fair trading, not like the west".

    I think the term 'fair trading' would be questioned by many observers and inhabitants of African nations here. China's intention in Africa is clearly to obtain a steady stream of national resources for its booming economy. Many projects involving improvements in infrastructure are also designed with the intention of helping China to access these raw materials - obvious examples being pipelines, roads and train lines. The actual benefits to the people of these nations are also questionable. On the contrary, the all too familiar example of Sudan where Chinese investment has helped to fund Bashir's regime of genocide springs to mind.

    Yes, the scramble for African is a stain on western conscience, but I do not believe that China's current stance in Africa is by any means blameless.



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  • 99. At 06:06am on 20 Aug 2008, entropy_rising wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 100. At 07:52am on 20 Aug 2008, Btwestneast wrote:

    Hello: James!
    I usually agree with you. But this time on this issue I would like to say that you have made a small but important omission. You should have written, instead of " what do you think? at the end of your entry, let's leave this issue for now and disscus it when everything is cooled down, especially certain people's blood. :-)

    And I would also like to say that many of the entries on this blog have proven what you, James, wrote is absolutely right, although the bloggers (well, some or most of them) didn't want to admit, interesting, isn't it?

    Let's wait and see what will happen later. he is an adult and experienced athlete. I believe no one can/could be clearer than himself when making that dicision. Leave it for him and those around him. Maybe one day after his retirement from sport, he would write a book or someone will, to reveal what had happened at the very moment and YYYYYYYYYYYYYY.

    Regardless, he has been very, very tired, let him be and leave him alone. Let him be himself for sometime. Maybe he could do some thinking for his next move. Be fair, everyone. Allow him spend some time with his parents as wll. Maybe he could not even remember when was the last time he had dinner with his mother. Poor you, Liu Xiang, 1.5BN people's expectations are way tooooooooooo heavy for your shoulders and I knew one day they would break, although they are stronger than most of ours.

    You take care for yourself and the nation. Go somewhere in Africa, Ethiopia? where there is nothing but natural beauty, for some good 6 months and get refreshed before making any decisions, if you can.

    See you in London, young man! (Hopefully)





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  • 101. At 09:21am on 20 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To heyone No.94

    I dare ask: are you the one to define what is 'reasonable' for Chinese people, while you are even "not sure what kind of national interest they are talking about here"?

    You think "national interest above ALL" is a Chinese invention? Please, go check the speeches by G.W. Bush for Iraq. So it's fine that they use 'national interest' to invade a country half way around the world killing its people, but it's not fine for a Chinese ceremony organizer to decide puting on a better image for a good advertisement for Beijing?

    Not that I support the two-girl thing, it just stikes me that you have so much problem with a little thing done by Chinese, but not the things that actually matters.

    On the other hand, even the "national interest above ALL" sentiment is promoted in China, it doesn't mean many decisions have been made by that sense, nor will everyone actually put 'national interest above ALL'. It can simply be a way of promoting selfishlessness. 'national interest above ALL' is just a phrase that Chinese understand better because of the collectivist tradition. They will think 'selflessness' when that phrase it mentioned. Why can't we use it then? Hasn't someone in this forum talked about Chinese don't care about others? So we shouldn't be selfless to put "national interest above ALL" because you feel uncomfortable, and when some of us are not that selfless, you can blame them being selfish?

    On Taiwan, it DOESN'T matter what you think or Taiwanese think. It is a political reality that Taiwan is part of China. And most of countries in the world support the unification of China.

    Of course Taiwanese may think otherwise and the Chinese leaders need to understand what Taiwanese think in order to move things towards a better situation. But it doesn't give you a reason to distort the reality. Taiwan is part of China. Tibet is part of China. Xinjiang is part of China. Period.

    Don't talk about 'the will of the people' here. There is no such thing on an international political stage. If what people think is decisive. Then tell me why US support Georgia but not south Ossetia, Israel but not Palestine? Just like Taiwan, it's about US wants an ally in the region, not about the people. 'National interest' is about ALL, not just to Chinese.

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  • 102. At 09:24am on 20 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To Senlin No98,

    "I think the term 'fair trading' would be questioned by many observers and inhabitants of African nations here."

    Can I say it is a fairer trade than the west? At least China is welcome in Africa according to many of my African friends in my building.


    "China's intention in Africa is clearly to obtain a steady stream of national resources for its booming economy."

    And the intention of the west is?

    "Yes, the scramble for African is a stain on western conscience, but I do not believe that China's current stance in Africa is by any means blameless."

    So the more blameable comes to judge the less blameable?

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  • 103. At 2:28pm on 20 Aug 2008, Kyonko wrote:

    Yes yes, of course... My post gets deleted by BBC mods. *bleep*nsorship at work.

    Thank you for showing the wonder of freedom of speech.

    This isn't a child's blog... this is an adult forum! People in here are sensible enough not to flame anyone, but engage in active, "constructive" discussion. Yet, mods purposefully allow inflammatory anti-china posts to live while deleting other posts.

    Let's see if this one gets through.

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  • 104. At 7:04pm on 20 Aug 2008, stephanie11w wrote:

    It is Liu Xiang's choice, his and his alone. We just have to respect it. Like I said before, he will go down to history as an amazing athlete. I will stand by that statement. Also, like he said in his open letter, he will compete again and be respected by many).

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  • 105. At 10:01am on 21 Aug 2008, tianxing_1985 wrote:

    I think he is defeated by himself.
    his coach is correct, his biggest enemy is himself, rather tahn any other player.
    He is too lacking in confidence to compete with others.

    when i watch the video, I could not believe my eyes. how a superstar can behave so irresposible.
    On the track, u r representing ur country not urself. he simply forgets each dollar the country spent on him, each minute his coach spent with him and, even worse, each hope from his fellow Chinese.

    In all, he is selfish!!!

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  • 106. At 10:02pm on 22 Aug 2008, anawang wrote:

    "As a Chinese athlete, if you know you're hurt, you shouldn't join the game, if you joined the game, you shouldn't give up so easily, Liu Xiang you failed us all."

    Actually, my point of view is, Liu Xiang has known he couldn't carry on this competition, but how he can make statement in front of people who come faraway to support him, the only one he can do is let the reality to make speech. At this point, he is expecting he might be understood or cause criticism, at least he has shown to people he tried his best.

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  • 107. At 10:04pm on 22 Aug 2008, anawang wrote:

    To understand the reason of the departure of liu Xiang

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  • 108. At 7:42pm on 23 Aug 2008, niceoneworld wrote:

    I was immensely disappointed when I saw Liu Xiang pull out, I admit but I wouldn't I'm angry because it could've been a lot worse if he ran injured.

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  • 109. At 05:50am on 24 Aug 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    Agree with post 104 by stephanie11w.

    I do not believe that atheletes have an "obligation" to compete even when they are seriously injured and not suitable to do so, as suggested by some people who cite Derek Redmond as an example. What Redmond did was heroic, but should not be set as a standard for all atheletes to follow.

    My heart goes to Liu Xiang. I can't imagine how difficult a decision this has been for him, and I support him one hundred percentage. Wish him all the best of luck in his future career and life.

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  • 110. At 08:11am on 25 Aug 2008, darixilee wrote:

    I deeply agree with the comment No.5

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