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« Mao Zedong and the PRC's Olympic Gold Anxiety | Main | Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Dao »

August 08, 2012


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Could somebody give Melektaus a chill pill?

Here comes the tone police.

Wow, nothing says "won argument" like a string of "last" comments. Really proving me wrong about the inferiority complex and general chippiness of your commentary. For a guy who's pretty quick to identify 'tone' that appears to exist only in his head, you're pretty quick to complain when people ask you to calm down.

And yes, 9.79 was astoundingly quick, Johnson was targetted along with other atheletes like Flo-Jo, testing that was even more stringent than that applied to other medal winners. Some got caught, some didn't, and the strong suspicion has to be that some who got caught weren't, anyway, punished.

And yes, I am quite capable of believing that at least the majority of atheletes at the highest level were juicing at the time. I would not at all be surprised to see that a significant portion are juicing now. Even the testing authorities think the figure is likely in the double-figures percentage-wise. That's why I say that I doubt that Ye Shiwen is much more likely to be doping than other atheletes.

If a team engaged in doping as a matter of course, got caught, said they changed their ways, but then had retired team doctors saying they had continued doping afterwards and were likely still doping today, as the Chinese swimming team did, is it any surprise if outstanding performances by team members draw suspicion of doping? Not much.

Anyway, having an argument about reasonable doubt with a guy who believes, based on nothing, that the media of all countries in Europe and the US are engaged in a concerted conspiracy to attack China, is pretty much a waste of time.

Wow M, it's amazing you don't fall down more. Where did I "conclude" that the Chinese girl was juiced? I even said it outright: "officially", she's clean. But you are just like any typical apologist. When push comes to shove, the creative reading comes out. It's genetic among you people.

And I love this one. If everyone is cheating, then why focus on the Chinese girl? Well, she won, so maybe she was cheating to an unfair extent. LOL.

I wonder what basic critical thinking skills allow M to see a conspiracy around every corner, and someone out to get china lurking in every shadow? And I wonder where he learned his unique brand of critical thinking skills?

You can't "blame" someone or "conclude" that someone is cheating based on prior bad acts of their countryman. This goes for Chinese swimmers, or American track and field types like M listed. But it can raise suspicions. So if M wants to get in a lather about the American who finished fourth in the 200 yesterday, he can go nuts with it. Or if a Chinese swimmer does a PB with a sudden huge improvement and finishes first, perhaps...

As for the age thing, the Chinese team was caught in a prior bad act. At the last olympics, was doubt cast upon the whole gymnastics team? Nope, only on the person who had some ambiguous paperwork. As with the current chinese swimmer, suspicion is aroused not only based on the flag and the team's prior bad acts, but in combination with some aspect of the individual in question. It seems M sees red even with suspicion. But like I said earlier, he's gonna have to deal.

Premise: Some Chinese swimmers in the 90s had used anabolic steroids
Conclusion: Ye Shiwen is using PEDs.

I have not made that argument. This is your invention. I have simply said that in light of relevant and related past cases (Dong Fangxiao), which undermined the credibility of the sports authorities of the PRC, raising questions about He Kexin, especially in light of previously published and uncorrected PRC media reports that suggested she was underage, is not unreasonable.

Raising questions is not the same as asserting conclusions. I know this may be difficult for M to grasp but, yes, I do teach my students not to confuse questions and conclusions.

Again this is not my statement: "Because one Chinese athlete had been found to be underage, He Kexin must be guilty as well."

I have never said "He Kexin must be guilty." There is a rather large difference between that statement and "Raising questions about He is not unreasonable under the circumstances." Please attend to such difference.

MFC, the IOC and the FIG are not gods. They are not infallible. We have to take each investigation they undertake on its own terms. They obviously erred by not catching the age problem with Dong Fangxiao earlier. It was only after the questions arose about He that they dug back into the Dong case and discovered the problem. And I am not saying that they are wrong in their final verdict with He. My only point is that it seems that they relied on information provided by PRC sporting officials, who were discovered to have lied in the Dong case and who would have had a rather powerful incentive to lie it the He case. Some independent source of information would be helpful. The evidence appears questionable. Their conclusion might still be true, but the evidence is questionable.

Finally, I agree that, in this day and age of widespread doping, virtually any unusual sporting achievement will raise questions. Lance Armstrong has been questioned. Any baseball fan in the US (of which I am one) wonders about any 50 home run season now. Phelps was questioned about his 2008 performance. And he underwent extensive testing, beyond what is usually required, in a pre-emptive effort to answer those questions. The competitiveness and materialism associated with high-level sporing achievement has created pressures for cheating that are universal. It may be unfortunate, but that is the world we live in. And it is not a giant anti-China conspiracy...

@MFC - Apologies for the harsh tone of my intial response. I'm sometimes a bit quick to assume that people are intentionally misreading my comments. At any rate, I think I might assume to answer this point:

"As a Christian, I hear this all the time: I don't mind that you are a Christian, but keep your religion to your own damn self. But Christianity is a social and political religion, just as Confucianism is a social and political philosophy. The reason I support progressive and left-leaning politics in the US (and oppose in China the sort of 'liberalism' which supports the broadening of the 'reforms' which cause ever-increasing inequality and vagrancy) is because Jesus preached that good treatment of the poor, the orphaned and the wayfarer are paramount. Does it do my own religion any credit if I 'keep that to my own damn self'? Does it do the society any good?"

The problem is not where people arrive at a political viewpoint as a way of achieving a basic goal pointed to by religion. The problem is where a selective reading, or even misreading, of religious texts, is the only support for a particular policy because there is no logical one. We might call one trend the 'Tutu' trend and the other the 'Santorum' trend.

@ Gil:

No problem! Amazing the havoc even small grammatical ambiguities can wreak.

That said, I certainly fall on the 'Tutu' side of that continuum. (Tutu also being an African Anglo-Catholic rather than an American cafeteria Catholic helps quite a bit.) But the Tutu example is instructive in that it illuminates the need for a creative middle ground between laicism on the one hand and out-and-out theocracy on the other. Or, in China's case, a right-liberalism with laicist tendencies on the one hand and an authoritarian government seeking absolute regulative control over religion on the other.

An amicable partnership between church and state with a clear but flexible separation of roles is preferable to a hostile separation, is preferable to the domination of one by the other. But my point stands that a religion such as Christianity (or Islam or Hinduism or Buddhism, for that matter) or a religio-political philosophy like Confucianism needs to be allowed its social dimension; otherwise it irrevocably loses that which makes it distinctive.

@ Sam:

I never said that the IOC / FIG were omniscient or always right. But the fact that they conducted two concurrent investigations, one which proved Dong's info fraudulent and one which failed to prove He's so, should in the absence of any other solid proof be convincing. I am not privy to the information that these bodies used in guiding their decisions, but it would be incredible that their only resources are what the PRC provides them.

The most admirable trait of Anglo-American jurisprudence is the dictum that a defendant is to be 'presumed innocent until proven guilty'. Dong has been proven guilty by the appropriate authorities; He has not. It strikes me as profoundly unfair - and perhaps malicious - that the questions are allowed to linger after such a ruling is made.

I agree with MFC on the age thing. The powers that be conducted an investigation, and laid their reputation on the line in support of the results of said investigation. That's different from having had reasonable grounds for suspicion at the outset. One can have a solid basis for suspicion and be satisfied if the subsequent investigation puts said suspicion to rest. But the age question is somewhat different than the issue of being juiced. Current testing being negative renders someone "officially" clean, but testing always lags behind the chem labs.

That said, presumed innocence doesn't really apply in elite sports anyway. Athletes are tested without probable cause, and they essentially have to prove their innocence with negative tests.

For a long time Westernization and Modernity is synonymous due to the association with Renaissance and Industrializtion. But it is no longer true today so of course China in pursue of Modernity would be selective in choosing which aspects of westernization to adopt, and it would do well in rejecting what it consider deleterious aspects and harmful to her interests.

The pushback against modernity, whether it be Islamic Fundamentalism or Tea Party rebellion will play out in world stage and China in her quest of modernity would do well by pursuing her own path. Democracy as defined by the Liberal establishment are not the answer. Whether Obama wins his re-election I suspect the stalemate in Washington will remain and the decline will continue.

Mao was wrong to try to change human nature, and the slogan of friendship over competition was so artificial and superficial, obvious the chase for Olympic golds may be way overboard, indifference to winning and losing can only be managed by saints like Laotze. I think the attack on Ye was expected, for swimming is the last bastion of white americans as track and field, diving and gynmastics gradually became multi-cultural. It must be painful for them to admit China may be better at chemistry or genetics (manage to evade drug testing) rather than she maybe physically better.


I never accused you of making that argument. If you read the post, it was explicitly directed at skc because it was his argument. But *if* you are defending the accusations against Ye, you are making a version of that argument and thus committing poorly reasoned thinking.

As for He Kaishin, it WAS FOARP who DID claim she was underage. So again, your thinking is misdirected. He simply wasn't "raising questions." He made an explicit claim. Read his posts in this thread again. You have defended these accusations too. SO at some level, uyou are also committing the fallacies in question though at least you have somewhat qualified your statements. The suspicions or "questions" you have managed to "raise" are based on the sparses of "evidence". That because one Chinese athlete is guilty of being underage, He is under suspicion as well. That's ridiculous. How many US athletes have been found guilty of doping opr cheating so far? Do I have the right to "suspect," say, Phelps or any other individual US athlete? I know I would never do it in public. But maybe my moiral standards are different from yours.

This is the degree FOARP has sunk to in his "reasoning"

WHen Johnson improved his time from 9.83 to 9.79, an improvement of 4 hundredth of a second in one year, this constitutes a drastic imporvement worthy of "strong suspicion."

The main point remains. Johnson was found guilty during post race drug testing which was the reason he was disqualified. Not the fact that he had a fast time (which wasn't that fast compared to his previous races and to today's runners as well) while Ye passed all her's and her swim is not as unprecendented as people claim.

WHat else do I need to say?

Need I remind people what the point of the original post is? The contentious issue raised is whether Chinese ire at the coverage of is justified. Whether western criticisms of people like Ye are justified.

But if all you have is innuendo and some past discretions (which country hasn't had them?) then that proves the poing that these are not justified especially in the face of the current evidence of not guilty (from drug testing etc).

The US is still the worst offender in Olympic doping. By Far.

How many times have China been caught? Given this drastic difference, don't the Chinese have a certain justification in their ire at western hypocrisy? It's not just sour grapes which of course it is, it's hyopcrisy.

I didn't make "that argument", which you would realize if you had the capacity to read non-creatively. I'm not sure you do.

There was ample justification to suspect the Chinese swimmer initially, based on prior bad acts of the team, and the nature of her performance compared to her previous track record. Though there is no longer any official reason for suspicion given her test results. If you're bent out of shape because she was suspected initially, that's your problem. If you're bothered by people who still suspect her now, you have a point.

He kaixin was not suspected because of her team's prior bad acts alone. Again, the whole team was not suspected of age violation. She was suspected specifically because she had contradictory documentation in the years before 2008.

So if you want to suspect Americans because of prior bad acts and some unique individual circumstances, fly at'er. Phelps in 2004, perhaps, when he went from one bronze in Sydney to multiple medals in Athens? Go for it. But then he tested clean too, which would put a stop to that. He was favored to beat spitz's record in Beijing, so his performance there, though remarkable, wasn't really unexpected.

You are correct that Johnson failed his post race test. However 4/100 sec is a big drop in the 100 meters. If bolt bettered his WR by that amount a few days ago, he would've been considered to have smashed it. And it's ridiculous to compare Johnson's time to athletes 24 years later and say it wasn't all that remarkable. If he was clean, it would've been the world freaking record at the time. Not sure what else is required to constitute "remarkable".

There actually are two themes to this post. One is the response to "criticism". The other is china's affinity to western ideals (like Olympic ideals) unless those ideals don't suit the ccp ( like rights and freedoms).

One also needs to consider context before flying off the handle. China hasn't been criticized, nor have her athletes been suspected of anything apart from the swimmer in question, and the badminton pair who tanked purposely. To suggest that china has been subjected to widespread criticism on the basis of a couple of instances is bizarre To suggest some sort of conspiracy on that basis is no more than the run-of-the-mill playing of the victim card.

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