China’s Sports Industry Is Allegedly Growing Faster Than the National Economy

August Rick
Forbes
The Chinese National Bureau of Statistics announced official data on the growth of China’s sport’s industry for 2016 on Saturday, showing a total output of 1.9 trillion yuan ($295 billion), and an 11.1% growth that outpaced the recovering national...

China Is out of the 2018 Russia World Cup—but Its Businesses Are Not

Quartz
China is not sending a team to the 2018 Russia World Cup, to the dismay of fans. But the country’s businesses are not going to miss the world’s most popular sports event.

China's Soccer Push Puts a Storied Team under Murky Ownership

SuiI-Lee Wee & Ryan McMorrow &...
New York Times
When the Chinese businessman Li Yonghong bought A.C. Milan, the world-famous Italian soccer club, virtually nobody in Italy had heard of him.

Three UCLA Players Return from China to Calls for Suspensions — and a Twitter Scolding from Trump

Des Bieler and Matt Bonesteel
Washington Post
The three UCLA players who were detained in China for shoplifting returned to the U.S. on Tuesday night, following intervention from, among others, President Trump. As immensely relieved as LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill and Cody Riley must be to have...

Viewpoint

07.31.17

Ping Pong Fury

Ma Tianjie from Chublic Opinion
The match was scheduled for 7:40 p.m. on June 23. Thousands of viewers were eagerly anticipating Chinese Ping Pong superstar Ma Long to face off against his Japanese challenger Yuya Oshima at the China Open, held in the southwestern city of Chengdu...

Germany’s Football Diplomacy Delights Beaming Xi Jinping as Chinese President and Angela Merkel Watch Kids’ Match in Berlin

James Porteous
South China Morning Post
China’s president remains a massive football fan, but it seems clear that youth development and commitment to training, rather than sky-high transfer fees and foreign takeovers, is the way to his heart.

China's Government Tightens Its Grip On Golf, Shuts Down Courses

Rob Schmitz
NPR
By 2004, many of China's hundreds of golf courses were found to be built on valuable farmland through corrupt land deals...

China Imposes 100% Tax on Foreign Star Signings in Bid for World Cup Glory

Katie Stallard
Sky News
The country's President Xi Jinping is hoping the Asian superpower will host - and one day win - the global football tournament...

Depth of Field

05.01.17

From the Inside Looking Out

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
Each March, Beijing hosts the “Two Sessions,” massive meetings of the National People’s Congress and the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference. Members of the two bodies of the nation’s legislature meet for a week in the Great Hall of...

Features

04.03.17

Boxing For Survival in a Chinese Fight Club

Robert Foyle Hunwick
“I was supposed to be fighting some IT guy,” Bo Junhui groaned afterward. Instead, the 18-year-old student was up against someone a year older, ten pounds heavier, and a lot hungrier. Xia Tian has never worked behind a desk; he’d spent the last few...

China, South Korea Meet in World Cup Qualifier Amid Tensions

NBC News
The soccer match whipped up Chinese nationalist sentiment at a time of high political tension over the rollout of a U.S.-made missile defense system in Asia.

Here’s What Happens to the Athletic Wear Industry When China Starts Going to the Gym

Marc Bain
Quartz
If the world’s big sportswear brands could invent a country with just the right mix of ingredients to fuel their businesses for years to come, it would look a lot like present-day China.

China’s Top Football Team Vows to Phase out Foreign Players

Ben Bland
Financial Times
Fans worry beautiful game could lose luster if Guangzhou Evergrande makes good on pledge

The Life of a Football Coach in China

Matt Stanger
Guardian
After impressing in Taiwan and the Philippines, Matt Ward moved to Shanghai Shenxin, where he gained ‘all the experience you need to deal with anything’

China Vows to Curb Record Spending on Football Transfers

Tom Hancock
Financial Times
China’s top sports administrator has vowed to cap spending by football clubs, accusing them of burning money and paying excessive wages to foreign players.

President Xi’s Great Chinese Soccer Dream

Chris Buckley
New York Times
The 48 soccer fields of the vast Evergrande Football School in south China seem barely enough for its 2,800 students. Against a backdrop of school spires that seem modeled on Hogwarts, the young athletes swarm onto the fields nearly every day,...

Mooted $75 Million Oscar Trade Sets Up Record China Soccer Spend

Tariq Panja
Bloomberg
Chinese teams set to continue soccer spending spree in window; Spending comes amid warning from Communist Party newspaper

WWE’s China Hopes Rest on Bin Wang’s Big Shoulders

Jessica Toonkel
Reuters
Wang will be joined by seven other Chinese athletes hand-picked by WWE Inc, in the hope that one of them will become the first Chinese WWE "superstar"...

Michael Jordan Owns Right to His Name in Chinese Characters, Too, Court Rules

Sui-Lee Wee
New York Times
Michael Jordan has pulled out a victory in an arena long known as unfriendly to visitors: the Chinese legal system

Depth of Field

12.06.16

From West Africa, the Czech Republic, and Home

Ye Ming, Yan Cong & more from Yuanjin Photo
In this month’s Depth of Field, Chinese photojournalists explore foreign terrain, both beyond China’s borders and within them. Independent photographer Yuyang Liu traveled the open seas to document the lives of Chinese and African workers who fish...

China, Meet Hockey. Russia, Meet a Huge Untapped Market

Tal Pinchevsky
New York Times
When Beijing was named the host city for the 2022 Winter Olympics, China immediately became hockey’s brave new frontier

What It’s Like Playing Golf in China

Scott Cendrowski
Fortune
As if the land of 1.4 billion people wasn’t already exerting influence on enough global markets, China is now a big part of golf’s future

Anger on Streets in China as Football Team Suffer Shock Defeat by War-Torn Syria

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Disgruntled fans demand that president of football association is sacked as hopes for a football revolution suffer a blow

Forget Those 18 Olympic Medals, Most Chinese Can’t Swim

Hannah Gardner
USA Today
Drowning is now the #1 killer of Chinese children under the age of 14, topping traffic accidents and infectious disease

Peyton Manning is Looking for the Yao Ming of Football in China

Bloomberg
Former quarterback says ‘no-brainer’ for NFL to play in China

Caixin Media

06.30.16

Chinese Investment in Euro Soccer Soars to Meet President’s Goals

Chinese companies are buying soccer teams across Europe, echoing the Beijing government’s ambitious plan to turn the nation into a soccer powerhouse.The powerhouse plan, which has backing from President Xi Jinping, has led to nine deals inked by...

Sinica Podcast

06.13.16

50 Years of Work on U.S.-China Relations

Kaiser Kuo & Jeremy Goldkorn from Sinica Podcast
In this week’s episode of Sinica, we are proud to announce that we’re joining forces with SupChina. We’re also delighted that our first episode with our new partner is a conversation with President Stephen Orlins and Vice President Jan Berris of the...

Caixin Media

05.09.16

Yao Ming’s Biggest Game: Hoops Reform in China

Retired basketball superstar and Shanghai Sharks team owner Yao Ming is finding efforts to reform China’s professional sports environment a lot tougher than a slam dunk.The former Houston Rockets center, who hung up his high tops in 2011, is trying...

Green Space

02.16.16

Gorging on Gadgets

Michael Zhao
Documentary filmmaker Sue Williams is finishing up her latest documentary about our beloved electronic gadgets, Death By Design. I was involved in the project and traveled with Williams to south China’s Guangdong province, to the the town of Guiyu,...

China’s Plan: First Manchester City, Then Hosting And Winning The World Cup

Tom Phillips
Guardian
Chinese consortium thinks involvement will benefit nation’s football.

Hong Kong-China: A Growing Football Rivalry or Just Politics?

Juliana Liu
BBC
Around the world, there are legendary, dynastic rivalries in football.

HK Fined By Fifa For Fans Booing Chinese Anthem

BBC
The Hong Kong Football Association (HKFA) has been fined $40,000 Hong Kong dollars ($5,160; £3,400) by Fifa.

Viewpoint

08.07.15

Here’s What’s Wrong With Most Commentary on the Beijing 2022 Olympics

Taisu Zhang & Paul H. Haagen
Upon hearing that Beijing would be hosting the 2022 Winter Olympics, we wondered what the Chinese government was thinking. The decision seemed counterintuitive, to say the least: For one thing, it barely snows in Beijing, or even in Zhangjiakou, the...

China Gets the 2022 Winter Olympics

Economist
Beijing will stage the winter games in the desert.

Skiing Is the Latest Obsession for China’s Wealthy

Wall Street Journal
Winter sports are catching on as Beijing bids to host the 2022 Winter Olympics.

Environment

02.05.15

Parched Beijing’s Olympics Bid Based on Fake Snow

from chinadialogue
Where better for a Winter Olympic Games than famously arid north China?Drought and a fast growing economy have created water shortages so severe that China’s government has spent more than a decade, and up to U.S.$80 billion, constructing 2,400...

Chinese Sports Authorities Map Out Measures in Fight Against Corruption and Match-fixing

Xinhua
Chinese sports authorities have vowed to stamp out corruption and match-fixing.

Sinica Podcast

11.22.14

Banned but Booming: Golf in China

Kaiser Kuo, Jeremy Goldkorn & more from Sinica Podcast
Despite China's legal moratorium on the development of the golf industry, a policy driven by concerns over illegal farmland seizures and the potential misallocation of agricultural land and water resources, the golf industry has experienced an...

Sinica Podcast

10.03.14

Chinese Martial Arts

Jeremy Goldkorn, David Moser & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, Jeremy Goldkorn and David Moser are pleased to be joined by Sascha Matuszak, a Chengdu-based expert on Chinese martial arts and the producer of a new documentary on Chinese MMA (mixed martial arts), a competitive tournament...

Sport in China: What’s Wrong with Winning?

Kristy Lu Stout
CNN
China has a fixation on training elite champions in select sports and an education system that considers sports a luxury and not a priority.

Dan Washburn on ‘The Forbidden Game’

AUSTIN RAMZY
New York Times
In an interview, Dan Washburn discussed how a nongolfer came to write about the sport, the future prospects of golf in China and how something that is technically banned has been able to expand so quickly.

Books

07.15.14

The Forbidden Game

Dan Washburn
In China, just because something is banned, doesn't mean it can't boom. Statistically, zero percent of the Chinese population plays golf, still known as the "rich man’s game" and considered taboo. Yet China is in the midst of a golf boom—hundreds of new courses have opened in the past decade, despite it being illegal for anyone to build them. Award-winning journalist Dan Washburn charts a vivid path through this contradictory country by following the lives of three men intimately involved in China's bizarre golf scene. We meet Zhou, a peasant turned golf pro who discovered the game when he won a job as a security guard at one of the new, exclusive clubs and who sees himself entering the emerging Chinese middle class as a result; Wang, a lychee farmer whose life is turned upside down when a massive, top-secret golf resort moves in next door to his tiny village; and Martin, a Western executive maneuvering through China’s byzantine and highly political business environment, ever watchful for Beijing's "golf police." The Forbidden Game is a rich and arresting portrait of the world’s newest superpower and three different paths to the new Chinese Dream. —Oneworld Publications {chop}

Millions Love ‘Beautiful Game,’ So Why Does China Struggle With Football?

Zoe Li
CNN
With a population of 1.3 billion, you'd think that there would be 11 people in China who are good enough to put up a fight on the football pitch. But apparently not. Since 2002, the last—and only—time it made it to the World Cup finals, Team...

China’s Complicated Relationship with Golf

Jessica Marksbury and Dan Washburn
Golf
Dan Washburn, managing editor of the Asia Society and author of the new book “The Forbidden Game,” tells Jessica Marksbury that golf in China is both banned and booming.

China and the World Cup

Samuel Chi
Diplomat
Not known for its soccer prowess, China is now beginning to get serious about the sport.

Sinica Podcast

04.21.14

American Football in China

David Moser from Sinica Podcast
This week we’re delighted to be joined by Christopher Beam, author of the passage quoted above, which we unceremoniously filched from his fantastic New Republic essay about his year with the Chongqing Dockers, one of the many new amateur football...

Paddling to Peking

Roderick MacFarquhar from New York Review of Books
For Richard Nixon’s foreign policy, 1971 was the best of years and the worst of years. He revealed his opening to China, but he connived at genocide in East Pakistan. Fortunately for him, the world marveled at the one, but was largely ignorant of...

Books

03.05.14

Sporting Gender

Yunxiang Gao
When China hosted the 2008 Summer Olympics—and amazed international observers with both its pageantry and gold-medal count—it made a very public statement about the country’s surge to global power. Yet, China has a much longer history of using sport to communicate a political message. Sporting Gender is the first book to explore the rise to fame of female athletes in China during its national crisis of 1931-45 brought on by the Japanese invasion. By re-mapping lives and careers of individual female athletes, administrators, and film actors within a wartime context, Gao shows how these women coped with the conflicting demands of nationalist causes, unwanted male attention, and modern fame. While addressing the themes of state control, media influence, fashion, and changes in gender roles, she argues that the athletic female form helped to create a new ideal of modern womanhood in China at time when women’s emancipation and national needs went hand in hand. This book brings vividly to life the histories of these athletes and demonstrates how intertwined they were with the aims of the state and the needs of society. —University of British Columbia Press{chop}  

Media

02.07.14

Why Chinese Media Is Going Soft on Sochi

Ready or not, Putingrad (aka Sochi) is now on prime time. The opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics will take place in the subtropical Russian resort town on February 7. In the Twittersphere, Western journalists and visitors have assailed Sochi’s...

Media

01.28.14

Why China’s Li Na Won’t Thank Her Homeland

After winning the Australian Open on January 25, Li Na set off a media blitz in her native China, where the thirty-one-year-old tennis star made the front page of most major papers. Much discussion surrounded Li’s post-victory speech, where she once...

Li Na Beats Cibulkova to Win Australian Open Title in Her 3rd Appearance in the Final

John Pye
Associated Press
Li Na made beat Dominika Cibulkova 7-6 (3), 6-0 the Australian Open final on January 25 to become the oldest woman to clinch the title in the Open era.

Media

01.10.14

Shaq in China: A Love Story

At seven-foot-one, roughly 350 pounds, and with a smile that’s been featured on everything from cereal boxes to CD album covers, Shaquille O’Neal isn’t particularly hard to recognize. And yet there I stood at the airport arrival gate in Chongqing, a...

Books

12.17.13

Ping-Pong Diplomacy

Nicholas Griffin
The spring of 1971 heralded the greatest geopolitical realignment in a generation. After twenty-two years of antagonism, China and the United States suddenly moved toward a détente—achieved not by politicians but by Ping-Pong players. The Western press delighted in the absurdity of the moment and branded it “Ping-Pong Diplomacy.” But for the Chinese, Ping-Pong was always political, a strategic cog in Mao Zedong’s foreign policy. Nicholas Griffin proves that the organized game, from its first breath, was tied to Communism thanks to its founder, Ivor Montagu, son of a wealthy English baron and spy for the Soviet Union. Ping-Pong Diplomacy traces a crucial inter­section of sports and society. Griffin tells the strange and tragic story of how the game was manipulated at the highest levels; how the Chinese government helped cover up the death of 36 million peasants by holding the World Table Tennis Championships during the Great Famine; how championship players were driven to their deaths during the Cultural Revolution; and, finally, how the survivors were reconvened in 1971 and ordered to reach out to their American counterparts. Through a cast of eccentric characters, from spies to hippies and Ping-Pong-obsessed generals to atom-bomb survivors, Griffin explores how a neglected sport was used to help realign the balance of worldwide power.  —Scribner{chop}

Ex-Champion Takes Solid Lead in Fight for Chess Title

Dylan Loeb McClain
New York Times
China’s Hou Yifan, age 19, is currently playing against Ukraine’s Anna Ushenina, 28, for the title of world female chess champion. Each player earns one point for a victory and a half-point for a draw, and, after four games, Ms. Hou leads 3...

Li Na, China’s Tennis Rebel

Brook Larmer
New York Times
Li Na might prefer that we forget about China and judge her by her character and accomplishments alone. Hers, after all, is the tale of a conflicted working-class girl who rose to become one of the finest, richest and most...

Golf in China Is Younger Than Tiger Woods, but Growing Up Fast

Brook Larmer
New York Times
China is producing some of the world’s best young golfers because wealthy families who have profited from the nation’s market reforms are replicating, in miniature, the formula of the socialist state sports system. 

Excerpts

05.29.13

Every Thousand Years

Dan Washburn
There are no guardrails on the road to Qixin. And there is only one other way to the top of the mountain—a four-hour hike. It was February, and the ice and snow from Guizhou’s winter storms had recently melted, leaving the famously treacherous cliff...