Nationalist sentiment rises as China off to strong start at Tokyo Olympics

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By Nectar Gan and Steve George, CNN

The Olympics has agelong been an juncture for celebrating nationalist pride. And for an progressively assured China, the Tokyo Games is seen arsenic the latest accidental to showcase its nationalist strength, arsenic it looks to situation the United States for apical spot connected the medal table.

So far, Team China has got disconnected to a beardown start, to the cheers of millions of fans online.

On Saturday, Chinese societal media exploded successful euphoria erstwhile shooter Yang Qian won the archetypal golden of the Tokyo Games successful the women’s 10-meter aerial rifle. The 21-year-old besides acceptable a caller Olympic grounds with a 251.8 last score.

As of Monday morning, China has bagged six golden medals — 3 successful weightlifting, 1 successful fencing and 1 successful diving successful summation to Yang’s aerial firearm gold. That’s capable to apical the medal table, followed by Japan and the United States.

Many of the aboriginal sports — specified arsenic shooting, diving and weightlifting — are among China’s stronger pursuits, and the Chinese squad is expected to look a greater grade of contention successful the days ahead.

Beijing has agelong regarded Olympic show arsenic a awesome of nationalist strength, with Chinese athletes — galore of whom are selected astatine an highly young property — undergoing physically grueling regimes astatine state-backed institutes.

China has travel a agelong mode successful the Olympic arena. When it went to its archetypal Games successful 1932 successful Los Angeles, its sole athlete, sprinter Liu Changchun, failed to suffice for the men’s 100- and 200-meter finals. Half a period later, successful 1984, it was besides successful Los Angeles that China won its archetypal Olympic gold, successful the men’s 50-meter pistol shooting.

Since the 1990s, China has go 1 of the astir competitory nations successful the Olympics. In 2008, it topped the golden medal array astatine the Beijing Games, surpassing the US for the archetypal time, portion America has since reclaimed apical spot astatine London 2012 and Rio 2016.

Amid increasing governmental and economical rivalry betwixt China and the US, the Tokyo Games volition inevitably beryllium seen by immoderate arsenic different arena successful their large powerfulness competition.

On Weibo, China’s heavy censored mentation of Twitter, the Tokyo Games has been among the apical trending topics since Friday evening. While galore are rightfully arrogant of the Chinese team’s achievements, the nationalist sentiment has astatine times been much aggressive.

“Let the ‘March of the Volunteers’ blast distant successful small Japan!” work the apical remark nether a post from Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily announcing Yang’s win, employing a communal derogatory word for the Japanese (“March of the Volunteers” is China’s nationalist anthem). The remark sections of apical authorities media outlets similar the People’s Daily are among the astir strictly censored corners of Weibo. The information that the remark was allowed to person astir fractional a cardinal “likes” and inhabit apical spot suggests astatine slightest authoritative tolerance, if not encouragement of specified rhetoric.

In different cases, the nationalist sentiment has gone excessively acold adjacent for Chinese censors. On Saturday, Yang was concisely attacked by immoderate online nationalists and told to “get retired of China” for having antecedently shown disconnected her awesome postulation of Nike sneakers connected Weibo.

Nike, on with H&M and different large Western apparel brands faced calls for boycott successful China successful March, owing to their basal against the alleged usage of forced labour to nutrient fabric successful Xinjiang. But Yang’s photos of her Nike postulation were posted successful December past year, months earlier the marque landed itself successful controversy. Other users rapidly came to Yang’s defense, but she deleted her Weibo station anyway.

While the onslaught connected Yang successful nary mode represents mainstream nationalist opinion, it is emblematic of the rising tide of assertive ultra-nationalistic behaviour that has taken implicit Weibo successful caller years. Many nationalist intellectuals, scholars, lawyers and feminist activists person been viciously attacked oregon silenced for comments made past oregon contiguous that are deemed “unpatriotic.”

In Yang’s case, her attackers were swiftly reprimanded. On Sunday, Weibo banned 32 accounts from posting for 90 to 180 days for “malicious idiosyncratic attacks” connected Yang, and deleted their comments, it said successful a statement. An further 33 accounts were besides silenced for “maliciously slandering, insulting and attacking” Chinese Olympic athletes, according to different statement Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Chinese embassy successful Sri Lanka lashed out astatine Reuters connected Twitter Saturday, implicit what it perceived to beryllium an unflattering photograph of Chinese golden medal winning weightlifter Hou Zhihui the bureau had used. The photograph captured Hou’s facial look arsenic she attempted to assistance a barbell doubly her weight.

“Among each the photos of the game, @Reuters has chosen this one, which lone shows however disfigured they are,” the embassy said successful a tweet. “Don’t enactment authorities and ideologies supra sports, and telephone yourself an unbiased media organization. Shameless.”

Some Twitter users were quick to constituent out the state-run China Daily had utilized a akin photo, though it aboriginal replaced the picture.

Photo of the day

When the levee breaks: Emergency workers successful Henan state effort to unafraid a levee connected the Weihe River arsenic flood waters rise. Torrential rains person battered the cardinal Chinese state successful caller weeks, leaving much than 50 dead, and displacing hundreds of thousands. The floods person resulted successful an estimated 1.22 cardinal yuan (about $190 million) successful economical damage, according to provincial authorities.

An ‘imaginary enemy’

The breakdown successful US-China relations is owed to immoderate radical successful the United States treating China arsenic an “imaginary enemy,” Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Feng was quoted arsenic saying during a gathering with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman connected Monday, according to a connection provided by the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Sherman arrived successful the bluish metropolis of Tianjin Sunday for meetings with Xie and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, arsenic portion of what her bureau described arsenic ongoing US efforts to clasp candid exchanges with Chinese officials to “advance US interests and values and to responsibly negociate the relationship.”

The Chinese ministry statement, which came up of Sherman’s gathering with Wang, accused the US of wanting to reignite a “sense of nationalist purpose” by orchestrating a “whole-of-government and whole-of-society” run to demonize and suppress China.

Xie was besides quoted arsenic saying the US was successful “no presumption to lecture China connected ideology and quality rights,” pointing to the US’ historical attraction of Native Americans, and US subject action.

The US broadside has yet to merchandise a connection connected the meeting.

The talks travel much than 3 months aft the countries’ confrontational Alaska gathering successful March, during which apical diplomats from some sides publically exchanged barbs.

In the months since Alaska, the 2 countries person continued to clash crossed a scope of fronts, with the US authorities being highly captious of China’s policies successful Hong Kong and Xinjiang. On Friday, China announced caller sanctions against 7 US officials — including erstwhile Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross — and entities successful effect to US sanctions against respective Hong Kong authorities officials, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Clues connected China mightiness beryllium important for Tesla this week

Tesla — the astir secretive automaker connected the satellite — reports net successful the United States connected Monday. Details connected its income successful China mightiness beryllium cardinal to reassuring investors.

The institution has struggled to flooded a drawstring of atrocious publicity successful China, the world’s largest marketplace for each autos and besides electrical vehicles.

A group of Tesla owners protested astatine the Shanghai car amusement successful April. And astir 300,000 Teslas built astatine its comparatively caller Shanghai works were recalled past month. There person been concerns among investors that Tesla could beryllium facing long-term problems successful China.

“The China maturation stories is the apical of the database for Tesla,” said Dan Ives, tech expert with Wedbush Securities and a Tesla bull. “This is their cardinal market, we judge 40% of their income volition travel from determination adjacent year. I deliberation that’s the linchpin to the banal going up oregon down.”

Although Chinese income of EVs from different automakers are reportedly growing, Tesla’s China income fell 9.2%, according to stats cited by Gordon Johnson of GLJ Research, an expert who is 1 of Tesla’s harshest critics.

“It seems wide Tesla has a China request problem,” helium wrote successful a caller note. “Weak 2nd 4th 2021 China home income apt construe into anemic 2nd 4th net for Tesla.”

— By Chris Isidore

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