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...

In This Corner Of China, Boxing’s Next Frontier

Greg Bishop
New York Times
Fight promoter Bob Arum insisted that he had seen the future of boxing, and that it was in China and Singapore and would perhaps spread elsewhere in Asia, like the Philippines.  

Li Na On Time Cover, Makes Influential 100 List

China Daily
Chinese tennis player Li Na, the first Asian woman to win a Grand Slam title, was named on Thursday among Time magazine’s most influential people in the world, along with N.B.A. player LeBron James and Italian soccer star mario Malotelli.

Guan Tianlang: China’s Golf Phenom To Tee It Up At The Masters

Clark Boyd
Public Radio International
Spare a moment to consider 14-year-old Guan Tianlang. The Chinese amateur golfing phenom will make history Thursday, becoming the youngest player ever to compete at the Masters. 

Media

02.16.13

NBA Star Debuts on Chinese Social Media, Fans Clamor: #I want to speak to Kobe#

Tea Leaf Nation editor David Wertime spoke on February 15 on Public Radio International’s The World about NBA star Kobe Bryant (@KobeBryant), who has recently opened an account on Sina Weibo, China’s Twitter. Listen to the full two-minute interview...

China, Are You Ready for Some American Football?

Jonathan Landreth
New York Times
The NFL is hoping that American football’s flash could someday give basketball and soccer a run for their money in China.

NBA Plans Basketball Facility in China

The Associated Press
Associated Press
The 120,000-square foot NBA Center in Tianjin port near Beijing will house basketball courts, a fitness center and a restaurant and be part of a mixed-use development with housing for 150,000.

The New Olympics Arms Race

Ian Johnson
New York Review of Books
You can follow the Olympics two ways. First, there’s the right way: you pay attention to the athletes and root for great performances. You see them cry and hug each other in joy or look away in disgust at a bad performance. You empathize with them...

Heavy Burden on Athletes Takes Joy Away From China’s Olympic Success

Andrew Jacobs
New York Times
When Liu Xiang, China’s track and field superstar, crashed to the ground at the London Olympic Games on Tuesday after stumbling over the first hurdle in his 110-meter men’s hurdles heat, an announcer on the state broadcaster openly wept and subway...

The New Olympic Arms Race

Ian Johnson from New York Review of Books
You can follow the Olympics two ways. First, there’s the right way: you pay attention to the athletes and root for great performances. You see them cry and hug each other in joy or look away in disgust at a bad performance. You empathize with them...

Sinica Podcast

08.03.12

Yeah, She Wins—Sinica at the Olympics

Jeremy Goldkorn, William Moss & more from Sinica Podcast
This week on Sinica, we go to the Olympics in recognition of what is unarguably the biggest story coming out of London: the spectacular performance of Chinese swimming sensation Ye Shiwen and the subsequent allegations of doping and anti-competitive...

China, the Olympics and the Swimmer

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
The People’s Daily, the flagship of China’s state-run media empire, tried, in all honesty, to make sense of the opening ceremony at the London Olympics—an event, the paper noted, that cost not only a fraction of the opening ceremony four years ago...

Chinese Olympians Subjected to Routine Doping

John Garnaut
Sydney Morning Herald
Chinese Olympians were subjected to a state-sponsored doping regime which was modelled on eastern Europe, says a retired Chinese Olympic doctor.Steroids and human growth hormones were officially treated as part of ''scientific training...

Caixin Media

07.26.12

Mass Medal Preparedness

China’s Olympic training system demands its athletes give their all—and not expect much in return.It’s a structured, planned, and government-funded system specifically designed to churn out winners.While other countries around the world build...

Caixin Media

07.19.12

More than Medals for China’s Olympic Stars

China’s best athletes have not only broken records but they’ve hauled in increasingly sizeable cash bonuses from central and local governments for their champion, medal-winning performances at Olympic events.Between 1984, when China re-entered the...

Why Chinese Soccer Matters

Evan Osnos
New Yorker
Imagine if David Stern, after his retirement as commissioner of the N.B.A., was led off in leg irons for taking bribes. His predecessor goes with him on a ten-year hitch behind bars. And, for good measure, throw in a couple of members of the...

Caixin Media

05.04.12

Chinese Firms Try Scoring with Spanish Soccer

When NBA journeyman Damon Jones signed a shoe deal with sporting goods maker Li Ning in 2006, he became the first in a long line of American basketball players to win a sponsorship from a Chinese company.Today, China’s Peak Sport Products leads...

Court Favorite

Jonathan Mirsky from New York Review of Books
At seven feet six inches tall and about three hundred pounds, Yao Ming, the basketball superstar who plays for the Houston Rockets, is, for many Americans, the most famous living Chinese. In 2002 he was the number-one overall pick in the National...