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Grave beyond a splash in the Olympic pool

By K.C. Boey - posted Friday, 10 August 2012

It’s no mere splash in the Olympics pool. Ye Qingsong, father of swim prodigy Ye Shiwen, perhaps unwittingly put his finger on the pulse.

“Western media has always been very arrogant, always questioning Chinese people,” Ye the father told the Chinese news portal Tencent from the family home in Hangzhou.

Yet the media is mere mirror of the people of which it is a product, and/or reflection of what it perceives to be the interests and values of the people it purports to serve.


For this, Ye Qingsong is closer to the gravity of the first doping scandal to bedevil London 2012 than he might have realised.

As China, by force of numbers, grows to dominate global affairs, questions about its political development in step with its economic, and its military and strategic designs, have become shrill.

Demands are being made for China to conform to “international norms” patterned on Western models of rule of law.

For good reason — historical, cultural and demographic — the Chinese are treading softly.

In the realms of ideology and financial and commercial management, the global financial crisis of 2008 was a shock to “socialism (over time incorporating capitalism) with Chinese characteristics”. The GFC represented a reversal for the global good.

China has never been colonised — neither has it, incidentally, ever been a coloniser — but events in its long history had set it on a divergent course with wave upon wave of would-be colonisers.


Suspicion of interlopers has historically been mutual. Given past grandeur and civilisational splendor of the Middle Kingdom, the wariness of government and people of prescriptive modeling may be understandable.

With China’s now established economic dominance, fears of its strategic and military expansionism is assuming proportions of paranoia.

Consequently, within China, the sense of containment is profoundly felt. This runs counter to endeavors to induce China’s peaceful engagement with the world. And it does the people no favors for the international community to create an atmosphere where the political elite can manipulate national fervor against a “common foe”. The cause of human rights is hardly served.

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This article first appeared at The Malaysian Insider on 4 August 2012. 

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About the Author

K.C. Boey is a former editor of Malaysian Business and The Malay Mail. He now writes for The Malaysian Insider out of Melbourne.

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