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Chinese Nationalists Furious Beijing Backed Down Over Celebrating Mao at the Olympics

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Peter Parks/AFP via Getty Images

Two cycling sprint champions, Bao Shanju and Zhong Tianshi, have kicked off a social media civil war in China after wearing badges featuring a silhouette of the country’s founder and former leader Mao Zedong at the podium.

In an uncharacteristic move, the Chinese state media has backtracked fast after initially celebrating the controversial display of pride in the authoritarian whose policies led to the deaths of up to 45 million people. The Olympic team also back down promising it would not happen again, according to International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams as the IOC carried out an investigation into a possible breach of article 50 of the Olympic Charter which prohibits political, religious, or racial propaganda.

But the backtracking has appalled many young people in China, where Mao has seen a recent surge in popularity. They turned on the “weak” authorities, demanding more pride in the country’s history, putting President Xi Jinping on the back foot.

Chinese national newspaper Global Times celebrated the two cyclists’ gesture at first by posting a photo and writing “Look! Chairman Mao is on the chest of champions.” The post soon grabbed the attention of the newspaper’s 30 million Weibo followers. Many social media users were thrilled to see young Chinese athletes paying tribute to China’s leader and history. They also resurfaced a profile picture of another badminton gold medalist featuring Mao’s statue in the background and photos of Mao’s paraphernalia.

“I am so happy to see more and more young people appreciating Chairman Mao these years,” one user wrote. “The badges shine brighter than the gold medals,” another commented.

But six hours and more than 10,000 likes later, Global Times deleted the post and took down a similar tweet it has on Twitter. Online users noted that Weibo’s host site Sina delayed related posts from publishing on the platform. Several official accounts also took down shared content related to the matter.

An Oral History of Mao’s Greatest Crime

China’s national broadcaster CCTV later edited out the badges from the jackets of the two athletes during a replay of the medal ceremony. Many audiences caught the detail and criticized the move as “pathetic.”

“If this is true, it’s a national shame,” said one commenter who expressed disbelief over the Chinese Olympic Committee’s subdued reaction to the IOC probe.

“Are they afraid of the imperialist paper tiger?” an online commentator asked. “The IOC represents capitalistic institutions, always serving the capitalists,” one post read. “Let’s host a Communist International Games,” another agreed.

Chinese Olympians have long believed that the spirit of Mao could bring them luck and tried to channel the controversial figure’s vitality by wearing Mao pins, visiting his hometown,paying respect to his statues prior to the games, and studying his poetry and proverbs.

Badges bearing Mao’s head were worn by hundreds of millions of people during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s. Even though the pins are not as popular nowadays, Mao’s legacy is deeply ingrained in China’s society 40 years after his death. As the founder of modern China and the Chinese Communist Party, Mao remains a central figure in China’s national narrative and the source of legitimacy for the party, despite being responsible for political violence that killed millions in China.

Thanks to President Xi’s efforts, Mao is viewed more favorably now than a decade ago. While some in China take the Western view that Mao was a vicious dictator, others see him as the symbol of equality. In fact, as China’s social structure becomes more rigid and economic growth slows, many leftists and young people have embraced Mao to make sense of their daily struggles and follow his footsteps in changing society. By trying to cultivate a Mao-like charisma without propagating the Communist agenda, Xi has portrayed Mao as the leader who laid the groundwork to make China a rich and influential country on the international stage.

The IOC’s investigation triggered waves of protests on Chinese social media, accusing the organization of targeting China and applying a double standard, especially after it suspended an investigation into U.S. shot-putter Raven Saunders, who crossed her arms into an X shape when collecting a silver medal. Adding to the anger was Chinese officials’ subdued compliance and national media’s change of tone from celebration to silence.

The contrast between a muted official response and the public’s indignation online reflects Chinese government’s dilemma in managing its strained reputation abroad and rampant nationalism at home. In the past decade, China has adopted a “wolf warrior” tactic—named after a Rambo-like nationalistic Chinese film franchise—as Chinese diplomats and government officials aggressively defend the CCP’s policies, most often on Western social media platforms banned in China. Sometimes, screenshots of these combative exchanges circle back inside the Great Fire Wall and receive rounds of applause from Chinese internet users.

The approach has dampened China’s global image. As a result, Chinese president Xi has tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to rein in the country’s “wolf warriors” and dial down aggressive diplomacy. In June, Xii told senior party leaders that they must create a “reliable, admirable, and respectable” country, and should “be open and confident, but also modest and humble.”

However, emboldened by the country’s meteoric rise on the global stage in recent years, much of China’s population may perceive the toning down as sucking up to the West.

“A bunch of weak bones,” one user wrote, referring to the Olympic committees and CCTV. “The bourgeoisie and its media are weak and shameless.”

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India tests nuclear-capable missile amid tensions with China

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NEW DELHI (AP) — India has test-fired a nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missile with a range of 5,000 kilometers (3,125 miles) from an island off its east coast amid rising border tensions with China.

The successful launch on Wednesday was in line with “India’s policy to have credible minimum deterrence that underpins the commitment to no first use,” said a government statement.

The Agni-5 missile splashed down in the Bay of Bengal with “a very high degree of accuracy,” said the statement issued on Wednesday night.

Beijing’s powerful missile arsenal has driven New Delhi to improve its weapons systems in recent years, with the Agni-5 believed to be able to strike nearly all of China.

India is already able to strike anywhere inside neighboring Pakistan, its archrival against whom it has fought three wars since gaining independence from British colonialists in 1947.

India has been developing its medium- and long-range nuclear and missile systems since the 1990s amid increasing strategic competition with China in a major boost to the country’s defense capabilities.

Tension between them flared last year over a long-disputed section of their border in the mountainous Ladakh area. India is also increasingly suspicious of Beijing’s efforts to heighten its influence in the Indian Ocean.

Talks between Indian and Chinese army commanders to disengage troops from key areas along their border ended in a stalemate earlier this month, failing to ease a 17-month standoff that has sometimes led to deadly clashes. India and China fought a bloody war in 1962.



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Friedman, Dodgers facing decisions on FAs, Bauer this winter

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — Andrew Friedman is headed into an offseason filled with crucial decisions involving the Los Angeles Dodgers’ big-name free agents, a rebuild of the starting rotation and Trevor Bauer’s future with the team.

As always, Friedman is guided by the ultimate goal of the monied Dodgers, saying, “The number one objective is to put ourselves in the best position to win in 2022.”

After coming within two wins of reaching the World Series for the fourth time in five years, the Dodgers’ president of baseball operations defined the team’s postseason as “our struggle to consistently score runs.”

“We needed someone to step up and pull an Eddie Rosario,” Friedman said, referring to the Atlanta Braves left fielder who was named MVP of the NL Championship Series.

“After we made the Trea Turner deal, in my opinion, one through eight, it was the deepest and best lineup I’ve been around. But it didn’t quite play like that over those two months. It was a little bumpier than I would’ve expected,” he said Wednesday. “Figuring out the why of that is the hard part.”

The turbulence began well before the postseason.

Reigning NL Cy Young Award winner Bauer went on paid administrative leave in early July under MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy. MLB is conducting its own investigation and has yet to announce any findings. Bauer, through his representatives, has denied any wrongdoing.

Asked if Bauer will pitch for the team again, Friedman said they remain in the same position as before.

“It’s being handled by the league office,” he said. “Whatever they decide, we’ll have to figure out from there what makes the most sense for us.”

If MLB suspends Bauer, it could create a domino effect on the team’s payroll plans.

“The extent of it, I don’t know yet,” Friedman said.

The Dodgers began the season with eight starters and tried to get through the postseason with just Walker Buehler, Max Scherzer and 20-game winner Julio Urías. The lack of depth was exposed by the team’s decisions to use Scherzer in relief in Game 5 of the NL Division Series and Urías out of the bullpen in Game 2 of the NLCS that left both pitchers tired in their later starts.

“We’re got a really good group of young starting pitchers coming,” Friedman said, citing Mitch White, Andre Jackson, Bobby Miller, Ryan Pepiot and Landon Knack. “Gives us a really strong foundation of depth.”

Friedman and the front office have decisions to make on such key veterans as Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw, Corey Seager, Kenley Jansen and Chris Taylor, who will become free agents after the World Series.

“We’ll do everything we can to keep as many of this group together,” Friedman said, “but not standing in the way of a great opportunity and I’m sure there will be for different people.”

Kershaw, the 33-year-old three-time Cy Young Award winner, reinjured his left arm not long after returning from over a two-month absence for the same issue and wasn’t available to pitch in the postseason.

“He just wants to feel good again and get to the point where he’s healthy,” Friedman said.

Kershaw has spent his entire 14-year career in Los Angeles, where he’s been the longtime face of the franchise.

“There’s something nostalgic and great about Kersh playing for one team and winning another championship and having a parade,” Friedman said.

Offseason moves would be impacted if no agreement on a collective bargaining agreement is reached before the current deal expires Dec. 1.

“We need to be prepared accordingly,” Friedman said.

___

More AP MLB: https://apnews.com/hub/MLB and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports





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Senators have heated exchanges with AG Garland over DOJ school board memo

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Senators have heated exchanges with AG Garland over DOJ school board memo



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Drinking Coffee Has Some Super Benefits—Here Are 4 Health Perks of Your Morning Cup

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Nor'easter has New England bracing for floods, power outages

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Trump Jr. Gets A Reality Check After Comparing U.S. To Communist Czechoslovakia

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Donald Trump Jr. was ridiculed this week after he likened shortages of certain products in the U.S. under President Joe Biden to living in communist Czechoslovakia in the 1980s.

Trump Jr. made the remarks during conversation Saturday on Newsmax with Sebastian Gorka, a right-wing media personality and former aide to Donald Trump.

Gorka asked Trump Jr. to discuss the “empty shelves” and backlog of cargo ships in California due to supply-chain issues, given his “perspective” as someone who, “as a child, traveled behind the Iron Curtain and saw real socialism.”

“When conservatives say, ‘They’re socialists. The Democrats have gone radical,’ this isn’t an exaggeration, is it? You’ve seen it, Don,” Gorka added.

Trump Jr.’s mother, Ivana Trump, grew up in Czechoslovakia before moving first to Canada and then the U.S. in the 1970s. He told Gorka his Czech grandparents wanted him to understand the “freedoms and blessings we have here” in the U.S.

“So I traveled with them there every summer, you know, six, eight weeks. I’ve waited in those bread lines,” said Trump Jr., whose father was estimated to be worth more than $1 billion in the 1980s. “We’re starting to see the empty shelves that I experienced then in communist Czechoslovakia in the ’80s in America right now.”

Grocery stores in the U.S. are having problems stocking certain products due to the coronavirus pandemic, a worker shortage and shipping congestion at the Port of Los Angeles.

Some social media users and conservative media personalities have shown images of empty shelves to attack Biden over the supply-chain issues. However, some of these images have turned out to be photos from years ago.

Trump Jr. was slammed on social media for the absurd comparison. A number of people also pointed out that last year, at the peak of the pandemic during the Trump administration, shelves in stores across the country were stripped bare of certain essentials and people lined up for miles in their cars or for blocks on foot to get aid from food banks.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.

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How a pro-Trump “command center” at a hotel near the White House fueled January 6 efforts to block election certification

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How a pro-Trump “command center” at a hotel near the White House fueled January 6 efforts to block election certification



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