National crazy for Olympic gold medals encourages privileges for Chinese medalists    (0/29)

 

Chinese medalists, especially those winning gold medals in international sports events, enjoy special privileges endowed by central and local governments, enterprises and social organizations, which is partially encouraged by national crazy for gold medals and the elite sports system of China....More

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The spectacular scene when Yao Ming 姚明, Chinese super star and NBA basketball player, entered the university. It is common that the Chinese medalists, especially those Olympic gold winners, can start university study without any exam, which receives wide criticism among Chinese public. But most universities still favor the athlete stars and regard it as a pride to enrol a medalist, because the universities can increase their popularity and fame in this way, as well as bring about considerable economic benefits for them.
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By Bernd Chang

It is well known in China that Chinese medalists, especially those winning gold medals in international sports events, enjoy special privileges, such as lavishly money bonus, high level position in governments, and pursuit by fans accross the country, and well-paid business endorsement, etc. endowed by central and local governments, enterprises and social organizations. These extraordinary phenomena are partially encouraged by national crazy for gold medals and the state-sponsored sports system of China.

In "old" China (before 1949), Chinese were once called East Asia Sick Man. Since the establishment of PR China in 1949, China has made every effort to get rid of this shameful tag. Since the opening up in late 1970s, the number of medals won by the nation’s athletes is considered an important indicator of “economic and social development”. Under this kind of state thought, Chinese leader unveiled a Gold-medal strategy in late 1980s and employed state-sponsoreded sports system, also called elite sports system, to bring about as many medals especially gold ones as possible in all international sports events. Under this Gold-medal strategy, China infuses huge state resources into the few elite athletes with the only aim to accumulate gold medals in international sports arena, those winning a gold medals are exclaimed as more than a national hero, enshrined like a god, and enjoy numerous, extraordinary privileges including lavishly money bonus, high-ranking government positions, etc.; those has the potential to win a gold, money demand is satisfied at any cost.

Today China is one of the few nations, apart from the likes of North Korea and Cuba, to practise the elite sport management system modeled after the old Soviet-style system, to commit so many state resources to athletics.

Compared to the average lavishly funding on elite athletes, the per-capita spending on public sports facilities lags far behind most of the countries in the world. In one aspect, Chinese athletes won the most gold medals in Beijing Olympic Games for the first time in history, even suppassing the US; in the other aspect, dwellers in big Chinese cities have no free sports ground, not to mention those living in Chinese small cities and the countryside. It is absurd to many people that Chinese athletes won numerous medals in shooting, fencing, but actually ordinary Chinese are deprived of the right to own any kind of guns including hunting guns and air guns, and in some cities, Chinese citizens are required to buy a kitchen knife in real name. Except the military and very few state-kept athletes, not any Chinese has the chance to play a real gun.

Some Chinese call this phenomenon as national crazy for gold medals which encourages privileges for the gold medalists. Good athletes becoming high ranking officials are a common practice in China, which is regarded as recognition of the achievements of the athletes. It is common phenomena that the Chinese medalists, especially those Olympic gold winners, can start university study without any exam. The economic benefits gained by the gold medalists of China are often equal to combined earnings made by tens of thousands ordinary Chinese. Over the last 24 years, state bonus for international sports winners has increased 59 times. The provinces and mulicipanities also provide plenty money awards as much as 1 million RMB for an Olympic gold. Together with other earlings, the income of gold Olympic winners can easly reach 10 million RMB.

Although most Chinese feel proud to know Chinese athletes win gold medals in international sports event, there are many sober Chinese frowning at the gold-medal strategy and the elite sports system of China. For more than a decade, there has been a debate in China's sports circles about whether the pursuit of Olympic medals should be downgraded and more government effort and funding devoted to school sports and popular sports. But so far the state-sponsored sports system is still in firm hold. Chinese leaders are reluctant to relinquish the elite sport management system which brings sense of national pride for ordinary Chinese and successfully diverts public discontent at many social problems.

 

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