Changing China

Giant on the move

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It ain’t Confucius’s China any more…



He knew it the second he landed.

Gymnast Yang Wei knew that mathematically, emotionally, historically and rightfully the men’s all-around Olympic title was his – and the overwhelmingly partisan home-town crowd knew it too.

There was no need for Yang or for his supporters to wait the seemingly interminable minutes for the judges to review his performance on the horizontal bar – as the final participant in the sixth and final rotation of the championship, his lead was so strong that it would have taken a disaster to knock him out of first.

And there had been no disaster.

So Yang played to the crowd.

He flexed his bulging muscles. He raised his arms in triumph. He draped himself in China’s flag. He played cheerleader, waving his arms to encourage the crowd’s roars.

And all this well before the judges had announced their decision.

China’s historical sage Confucius might have been appalled.

In XIII:27 of The Analects it is written — “The Master said: The firm, the enduring, the simple, and the modest are near to virtue.”