China’s Medal Mill

By Mark Esposito, Guest Blogger

The sign above the gym floor contains one word, “Gold.” It’s a stark, relentless reminder to the children beneath it as to just what their mission requires. China’s obsession with winning Olympic gold has turned gymnasiums into dungeons for its youngest and most promising athletes.  Starting at age five, children are subjected to strenuous training techniques like hanging on rails with their arms extended backwards, swinging on beams, and being given painful lessons on what it takes to beat all comers and particularly Americans.  And the work seems to be paying off at the London games, as 16-year-old Ye Shiwen swam her way to a world record in the 400 meter individual medley beating the old record by almost one second. Her teammate, Sun Yang, won the 400m freestyle. Both attribute their success to “hard work and training.” And in China, that’s no sports cliché.

In a stinging expose, the UK’s Daily Mail parted the curtain of one of China’s most successful training facilities, the Nanning Gymnasium. The photographs speak for themselves.

Here are some pictures taken by the Daily Mail:

79 thoughts on “China’s Medal Mill”

  1. Lk, no one should speak up for its own country? If I do, I am paid? How about I really think they are doing a good job? I can accuse you the same thing. Are u paid to speak up on your government? I have a good job, I can get raises every year, I have 100 percent health coverage and I can retire at age 60 and have a good pension, I am a home owner and I finished paying my mortgage at age 38. I have plenty of things to choose from in supermarket, I can watch olympics, I can send my child oversees to study when they are older, I travel oversees at least once a year with my boyfriend, Just because I live in a prosperous China, and I have to go on Facebook with VPN that I have to say I am miserable?
    Sorry, I am quite happy, and no, please don’t give me what u got.

  2. The fact is, it doesn’t matter what u say about ur administration, the parties are not the real players… They are the puppets. I am not using VPN, and I am engaging in spit war with you. If you read Chinese, I will send u links of what people said on the web criticisming communist party… It’s much much much much free than u think. Your media paint an evil picture of China so that u can have China phobia. It’s really not that bad. In many sense, I do believe Chinese have more information in media comparing to the US. A lot of things I know about how US government paid for trainning camps for bin laden ( now they are called terrist camps), dalai being on CIAs pay roll,etc is unknown to many Americans… Though ur NPR is fairy daring… Ok, try to engage free speech on Internet openingly cricize American government, sympathize and hold fund raising event to support middle eastern countries in fight with the U.S…. Try that, and try NOT to get arrested in 24 hours. I dare you. …… It’s all relative. U can also only speak about what’s been proved by the interest groups, or the top 5 percent who are the ones that hold the collar of American parties, and American people. It’s capitalism! Wake up. I am not saying demarcracy is bad. It’s great when it’s people is educated. It’s great when your vote and what u have to say matters. Demarcracy works better in France, in Canada, and Japan, where the drug makers, car companys profit is controlled by the government. A complete free market is not the answer. A complete free trade is not the answer. Why? Because enterprises has to answer to stock holders, not American government, they have to maximize the profit at whatever the cost maybe UNLESS they are controlled. Many of your citizens takes buses to Canada to buy exact same medicine that is made in the U.S., but cost only half of the prices in Canada. Why? Canadian government says to Pfizer, hey, if u want my market, don’t dream about making more than 100 percent of ur profit. Because Canadian people wants a more socolistic capitalism. The Canadian government is really people’s government, while Americans only stupidly debate year after year like a broken record about gay marriage, abortion… It’s like you are ripped off by your employer and having been paid for years. You hire a lawyer Every two years to represent you, and all ur two lawyers debate in front of you is whether this years fashion should be mini skirt or hot pants… We watch your debate in TV and we laugh our head off. You are fooled one year after another, and yet, you keep falling in this trap, year after year… Obama tries, John Stewart tries, but in the end, they are just too weak to wake up many ignorant Americans to stand up for ur own right.. To tell the employer that u don’t care about mini skirt or hot pants, you want your fuc?en money! Demarcracy works in many countries, so does communist country controlled capitalist China. The only difference is France and Canada are more like socolistic capitalism, and China is more capitalist socialism. They both work… What does not work is capitalistic capitalism. Like in the America.
    Capitalists will never give up ground because they are kind. You have to take the control in ur own hand. The government has to do its job, it’s about time.

  3. See, here’s your problem Xx.

    You’re engaging with someone on the pretext of bad mouthing America to downplay the very serious deficiencies of the Chinese government – in particular their Olympic training programs – and you’re assuming that I don’t loathe both government’s equally. I love the Chinese people though. My minor was in East Asian History and I love your culture – particularly your cooking traditions (the real stuff too, not the Westernized stuff – Sichuan food is off the hook good), scientific traditions (before Mao anyway), your philosophical and religious traditions (especially Taoism and Confucianism, the works of Sun Tzu and Bruce Lee). Your historical propensity for autocratic usually despotic non-democratic forms of government? Not so much. The Chinese have built a great culture despite their forms of governance, not because of it. You continue to do so despite being handicapped by the Communist Party. But your government sucks. So does ours but for different reasons. The difference is ours has fundamental aspects of it that lend to self-correction and democracy – eventually anyway, we wander as a nation but we tend in the long run to find the angels of our better nature in the end – whereas yours is a one-way path to totalitarianism and oppressive oligarchy. You’ve never had a tradition of liberty and freedom and because of that your leaders only wish to downplay the ideas to maintain control. Liberty and freedom are not always perfect and they come at a cost, but the benefits for many far outweigh the desires of totalitarian control in the few. Oppression always ends badly for the oppressor states no matter the particulars of their form of government. History shows this lesson time and again. It shows this lesson many times over in the history of China alone, let alone the world.

  4. Xx, Has the 50 Cent Party gone international, there have been suspicions since 2010? I hope they are paying you well ’cause you are good:

    “50 Cent Party From Wikipedia,

    The 50 Cent Party are Internet commentators (?????, ?????, wanglù pínglùn yuán) hired by the government of the People’s Republic of China (both local and central) or the Communist Party to post comments favorable towards party policies in an attempt to shape and sway public opinion on various Internet message boards.[1][2] The commentators are said to be paid for every post that either steers a discussion away from anti-party or sensitive content on domestic websites, bulletin board systems, and chatrooms,[3] or that advances the Communist party line.[4][5]”

  5. And you don’t (for)get the Emancipation Proclamation and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, but you’re free to shout whatever nonsense you like here as long it doesn’t ruffle your master’s feathers. Also, they aren’t “my black people”. They are free and I have no nor desire to have an ownership interest in them or any other human. Slavery is wrong. Unless of course it’s the wage slavery Chinese factories with the aid of the PRC run government engage in to undercut the prices from foreign competition and steal jobs from foreign markets by selling their de facto slave labor to multinational corporations.

    Slave Labor in China Sparks Outrage

  6. Gene, just as u shout “free Tibet”, may I follow that by “free the black slaves?” don’t for get where ur black people come from.

  7. Did you notice how I was able to say what I wanted about our criminal former administration and the failings of the current administration without being censored? And the Internet is a far broader square to shout across than Times Square. Unless, of course, the state in censoring it.

    How would that sort of criticism play out if you tried that in China?

    Would you just disappear or would they at least let your family know what prison piss-hole they’d locked you in?

  8. You also mistake me for someone who doesn’t think those responsible for the illegal invasion of Iraq should be put on trial for treason and war crimes, Xx. The Bush/Cheney cabal should (and would if Obama and Holder were doing the job they swore to do – protect the Constitution) be on trial here first and then at the ICC for their crimes.

    I don’t give a damn what the government is – the U.S. or China – if it breaks the law and abuses its citizenry? It needs to go.

    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. ”

    And that about sums it up.

  9. Weak. Tibet was a sovereign independent nation from 1912 – when it was freed by China (who had annexed Tibet during the Qing Dynasty) after the Xinhai Revolution – to 1951 when it was invaded by PRC. The “everyone uses puppet states” argument is lame beyond belief too. Wrong is wrong. Again, clean up your own house before lecturing us on how to clean up ours. That is, after all, what you are whining about us doing to you. If you are going to give criticism, you damn well better be able to take it. Oh, that’s right! You can’t threaten or criticize the PRC’s government if you’re a citizen unless you want a boot on your throat. Got to respect that strong government! Especially when it isn’t a democracy.

    “Against a backdrop of rapid socio-economic change and modernization, China continues to be an authoritarian one-party state that imposes sharp curbs on freedom of expression, association, and religion; openly rejects judicial independence and press freedom; and arbitrarily restricts and suppresses human rights defenders and organizations, often through extra-judicial measures.

    The government also censors the internet; maintains highly repressive policies in ethnic minority areas such as Tibet, Xinjiang, and Inner Mongolia; systematically condones—with rare exceptions—abuses of power in the name of “social stability” ; and rejects domestic and international scrutiny of its human rights record as attempts to destabilize and impose “Western values” on the country. The security apparatus—hostile to liberalization and legal reform—seems to have steadily increased its power since the 2008 Beijing Olympics. China’s “social stability maintenance” expenses are now larger than its defense budget.

    At the same time Chinese citizens are increasingly rights-conscious and challenging the authorities over livelihood issues, land seizures, forced evictions, abuses of power by corrupt cadres, discrimination, and economic inequalities. Official and scholarly statistics estimate that 250-500 protests occur per day; participants number from ten to tens of thousands. Internet users and reform-oriented media are aggressively pushing the boundaries of censorship, despite the risks of doing so, by advocating for the rule of law and transparency, exposing official wrong-doing, and calling for reforms.

    Despite their precarious legal status and surveillance by the authorities, civil society groups continue to try to expand their work, and increasingly engage with international NGOs. A small but dedicated network of activists continues to exposes abuses as part of the weiquan (“rights defense”)movement, despite systematic repression ranging from police monitoring to detention, arrest, enforced disappearance, and torture.”

    Read the rest at Human Rights Watch World Report 2012: China .

    Also, I can go to Times Square and say any damn thing I please as long as I don’t incite a riot or threaten people, so you’ll have to try again. Speaking of Free Trade, how about China’s record under state capitalism for abusing workers, hiding the effects of pollution, subsidizing businesses and ignoring international law regarding intellectual property when it helps state owned and run enterprises undercut the foreign competition.

    Get back to me when your beloved China improves their human rights record and starts acting like a fair market competitor instead of protectionist thieves of IP.

  10. China is aiding many African countries with building schools, dams, hospitals, but our government tells the story, we wants their oil… Instead of invading middle east countries, having the same motives, and pretend that you are freeing them… The most anguish thing is, there are still some Americans chanting along with them “supporting the troops, free Iraq” laughable… If I am from Iraq, I much rather to have hospitals, schools and dams than being killed….

  11. Dalai lama was on CIAs payroll for decades. He was given something like 2 million dollars a year from the.50th. Where did that money come from? You, tax payer, to over thrown the Chinese government. Tibet is much better off now. You should go, and ask the locals. It’s not about religion or freedom, it’s about America wants an alliance in Asia. A chess piece in the enemy’s territory. Nothing surprising about this, all government do this, it’s part of the game. Tibet is like Israel in the mid east, Japan in Asia. It’s much easier to influence, watch and control the area if you have one of your alliance in the area. In the worst case, it’s much easier to deploit army into the alliance country when engage in war in the area. Not only US, China does it too, so do most of other countries. Taiwan was on the top of the US list, so is Tibet. The only difference is, it’s openly shared and talked about in news and media, American (as innocent as Americans are) believes its religious freedom issue, shouting “free Tibet” after your government. In many sense, I think we are much clear headed about what’s going on around the world, whats motivation really is behind an issue. But many americans dont see it somehow. Like invading middle east is not to free them, its really going after their supported Tibet is not really about to free them, it’s really about to have better control in Asia. Even Laden was supported financially by US government to fight soviet union. The guy just feel used and pissed after US thrown him out like a piece of old rag, and he did a lot of horrible things as revenge. In that sense, which media is more honest? Demarcracy? Yes, important. One party government is dangerous. But there is always two opposing parties within the party, so the power get balanced out too. The difference is to have everyone in the country (including the ignorant ones) to have a say, the elite is voting among themselves. Bottom line is, the party and the government knows if people are pissed off, they will over thrown it. So they can’t screw up. In a way, it’s almost easier to blame all the failures to the one party government. With demarcracy, since you elected the government, but they are really controlled by the lobbiests, if they screw up, it’s the party’s fault. Well, you just elect a different party. However, no matter what party you elect, the big boys are always the parent behind the scene.
    The one party system is to make the parent (the party, or the one who call the shot) obvious, the demarcracy is to cloud the vision and make the parent ( the big boys, the lobbiest, the super rich) go behind the curtain and have two or more parties put on a puppet show and give a sense of faulse control. The one party system is honest who is in control, the demarcracy system is deceiving of who is really pulling the string… China has lots of problems too. No doubt. But in no party’s congress in the world besides the communist party would spend so much time self criticizing in its meeting report…. We will get there.
    As of population problem, the one child policy is contributing greatly to the world, you can’t just sterilize people, there is human right issue here.
    Many large international enterprises who heavily polutes the environment had been on the watch lists, intellectual property is still an issue. Honestly, I walk by the Sanlitun area where you can buy fake DvDs, more than half of the buyers are foreigners… I am not saying its the right thing to do. As far as freedom of speech, yeah, we have to get on expressVPN to go on face book, etc. but Americans phone lines, internet activities are tabbed too. You know that. Many of my researcher friends get talked to by FBI after they return from research trips to China. His cell phone conversations were recorded by the American government even when his phone was turned off. (by the way, u have to take ur battery out)It’s all about the same. We are more honest about it. You just think you have more freedom of speech. Try to go to Time Square and shout ” communist party is the best party in the world, demarcracy sucks” and see if you are going to walk out intact… You have freedom of speech because you are just attacking the parties, try to attack the parent behind the scene. Try to ask the government to stop Free Trade…

  12. Do not mistake a strong government for an effective government nor a democratic government.

    If China wants to be critical of how we do things, fine, but on the other hand, you lot should get the hell out of Tibet, end the tyrannical domination of the Communist Party, take more responsibility for bad actors in your state capitalistic industries, do something about your growing pollution problem, respect the free speech (and dissent) of your citizens instead of jailing and otherwise oppressing them, start having open and free elections yourself and respect the intellectual property of others.

    See, you don’t get to tell others what to do and not suffer the same criticisms from others.

    That’s the beauty of free speech.

    So if you want to preach at the West about cleaning up our house, do it yourself first.

    Otherwise, accurate observations or not, your admonishments still ring of hypocrisy.

  13. Good point, David. Although I am quite surprised and proud of ur recent improvement with healthcare reform. I don’t think it’s that effective, but I am surprised that American government can push it through facing the fat greedy drug company, insurance company and physician associations… Baby steps…
    When economy is bad, there is also a need to find a victim to blame. The fact is, this is the nature of capitalism. The capitalists will only seek profit, the maximum amount of profit. China is not the enemy. The capital flew in because of huge cheap labor market, abundant natural resources, and most importantly, chances to make the capitalists the most profit… Factories moved out of the U.S. because China is cheaper to do business. But when China becomes more expensive, “made in China” labels will be replaced by “made in India, Vietnam” … That’s why China is moving away from relying on manufacturing only model to innovations and green energy… Capital do not love any particular country or people, it comes, chew you up, pollute ur rivers and land, and then leave for cheaper places… Before China is abandoned, we are getting away from being the victim… U.S. should do the same. Have a strong government, educate skilled workers, invest in research of Green energy… Stop fight expensive wars, pay off your debts, and lead the world into another era of new hope! You did it before, you can certainly do it again! Strong government is a must. Stand up to the lobbiests, and really act like a government. People elect you with trust and hope, don’t let them down…

  14. Xx
    “Yours just cheat you into feeling you have democracy”.

    Deceive is a better choice of word than cheat, although cheat works quite well too.

    There is much truth in what you write. There is much truth the American public close their eyes to.
    Too many American (USA.) brains think only about their wallets.
    Too many American brains are too comfortable with their own ignorance.
    Lazy brains are eager to be deceived, lazy brains are easy to be deceived.

    Democracy is the best form of government, but a democracy of the people, when the people have fat lazy brains, becomes a democracy less and less.
    Keep your eye on us Xx, being outside the box, your perceptions are clearer than 50% (or more) of the US. citizens.

  15. Most Americans are 3 pay check away from live on the street. You know it’s true. It’s your weak governments fault. You elect them, and they speak for the lobbiests, not on your behalf…and no matter which party you elect, it’s the same thing.. It’s a puppet show… Fooling, fooling, fooling.. I love Americans, But i cant stand ignorance…btw, ban all countries that trade with China? That will be 99 percent of the world… Are you hearing what you are saying? And why would those country listen to you? By accepting your money? Wait, sorry, ,you just have debts, debts and debts…

  16. Clh, your ideas of blocking all business with china is child talk. China is not Cuba. If we die, you die along with us. Actually you will die long before us. It’s easy to control a country through economic means, if they are weaker than you. But we are stronger and way bigger than you. Through economic crisis, china started to seek oppotunity else where, which is why when America can’t buy for us anymore, we still achieved 8 percent of GDP growth. you achieved something in red… Like it or not, you depend way more in us than we will ever need you. Yes, you buy stuff from us, but mostly with IOUs… What kind of buying is that? And the more you borrow form us, the less right you have….

  17. Caplitalists always seek the maximal profit, America can’t give the big companies the fattest profit, and Americans will never be united enough to buy goods that are three times more expensive.mthats why when u think u have demarcracy, u really dont… It’s all games that the rich people plays. They make u feel that u have a say, but come on, maybe with small stuff, but important issue, you opinion worth nothing. Meanwhile you are perfectly content with gay issues, abortions, and continue to be involved in war. At least our government is honest, we don’t have a lot of decisions, we know. Yours just cheat you into feeling you have demarcracy…. If you are so rich, why don’t you have government sponsored health care. Poor country can do it, why can’t you rich country do it?? Rich country, give me a break! Demarcracy? Really? Stop kidding yourself!

  18. You can’t block all trade with china because you are capitalist country. Your vote of blocking doesn’t count, it’s the big boys say that count, Walmart, etc. there is no real democracy. In America. The communist party controls china, the lobbiest controls the u.s. government, and the government controls the u.s. you don’t have 50 percent of wealth in the world, the top 5 percent of American controls 95 percent of wealth in the U.S., most of them Jewish. It’s not your country, sweet heart, it’s the big boys… Who murders women and children to control population? You live under a rock… Your blood get boiled before you even get to the real truth. Before you can speak fluent Chinese, at least when your chineses is not as good as my broken English, you have no right to debate with me about any issue in china… Seek truth, then speak. Debate me in Chinese…. before you speak, seek truth. Don’t watch news from media only. We value life just as much as everyone do. Stop live under a rock. If you have been to china several times, you certainly should know about the truth in birth control policy… Either u haven’t been here, or you just spend time getting wasted in Sanlitun.

  19. Xx-

    First, Economic prosperity is not happiness. Just thought I’d mention that. And I’d trade being a millionaire in China to being an average Joe in America in a flat second. Your country is horrid. I know, I’ve been there, a few times.

    And our debt to China is a rather sore point, I’ll agree. But hey, I have an idea. Let’s halt all further trade with China, until our debt to you is paid off. Let’s block all Chinese goods, all Chinese investment, and all Chinese labor from American markets. Feel free to do the same to our goods, of course, it would onlly be fair. Let’s block all resource sales to China. Let’s ban doing business with any nation that does business with China. That would not be interfering in internal Chinese politics, as, after all, it’s only our own policies we are making decisions on. Then when China collapses into a sinkhole of misery and despair, let’s talk about what our debt to you means. You have 1.2 billion people to feed. We have about 50 percent of the world’s wealth. Do the math, dummy. The Chinese are supposed to be quite good at it. Oh, and China has as much to do with it’s twentieth century decline as any outside power does. Sure, it was the dumping ground of the world for quite a while, and there are no excuses for that. But to torture your own children? Your own citizens for simply having a difference of opinion? To murder women and children to control your population? These are unacceptable. Most Americans are too busy downloading crap to their IPads that yall build to notice, but not all of us.
    There is a fundamental difference in morals between our two cultures that is so vast as to eventually become a breaking point. We value life. You do not. We value individual and politcal freedom. You do not. We value kindness, mercy, and compassion. You do not. Truly, there are many things about the Chinese culture I like and respect. Your work ethic is among them. Your dedication to education, and to furthering yourselves. Your dedication to family. But until your government ceases to exist, I shall view China as a threat to the very things that make being human worth while.

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