Chinese allege conspiracy
If the Olympics are a metaphor for global competition, then some in China believe the rest of the world is ganging up on it.
Several Chinese state-run media outlets alleged Wednesday that a conspiracy against China may be afoot in London following a series of controversies involving Chinese athletes. The latest incident to infuriate the Chinese occurred this week when judges awarded a Brazilian gymnast gold over the largely-favored Chinese competitor Chen Yibing, known in China as the ‘‘King of Rings.’’
‘‘Anger grows over alleged Olympic bias,’’ blared Wednesday’s front page of China’s government-owned Global Times. The People’s Daily blamed such results on a ‘‘hysterical’’ and ‘‘paranoid’’ fear of China.
It may seem like sour grapes to the West, but the conspiracy theories reflect an increasingly common line among Chinese leaders that Western powers are trying to contain China even as its status as a world power rises.
‘‘This is not an overreaction, because those abroad keep saying things about China, so China has a right to say something back,’’ said Tao Wenzhao, a US-China relations expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, who said many foreign commentators, including those in the United States, have been biased against China.
China currently is in second in the Olympic medal count with 77 and trails the US by four. China ultimately could emerge on top — which would make it the first country to beat the United States at the summer Olympics since 1992. But that rising tally has only seemed to feed suspicions among Chinese officials.
The world-against-us mentality among China’s officialdom in many ways echoes its leaders’ reactions to the recent strengthening of ties between the United States and other allies in Asia.
Many within China are criticizing its sports system, he said, because it uses tremendous sums of money, and sometimes cruelly intensive training to churn out its champions.
‘‘When the average life span in China, its medical system, and its people’s overall health overtakes the West, that will be a more powerful proof than any Olympic champion,’’ said Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at Beijing University of Technology.