Can there be a Jeremy Lin in China?

Let me start by condemning this incredibly offensive photo that was much discussed on the news tonight.

This photo, put out by the network that broadcasts the Knicks’ games, makes a grotesque issue of Lin’s race and I am delighted to see that it was quickly condemned by even right-leaning media. This was outrageous.

Next, let me say that I never thought I’d ever put up a post about basketball. It will be brief.

Even I, who have never had the slightest interest in team sports of any kind, have been impressed by the incredibly rapid and dramatic ascension of Jeremy Lin, unheard of a few days ago and now the most-heard name on television, and everywhere else. It’s not surprising. On top of his pyrotechnics on the court he has other qualities that ensure he will be a media darling, especially his deep Christian faith and the fact that he is Harvard-educated yet modest, soft-spoken and irresistibly charismatic.

I’ve been reading that although he’s already a superhero on China’s social media, the Chinese media’s response to Lin has been muted. He is, after all, an American, a devout Christian, and his success raises questions as to why there is no Lin equivalent in China, i.e., a brilliant young man educated in the country’s finest university who went on to turn himself into a sports sensation.

The best piece I’ve seen on this topic is here (h/t to James Fallows). The reporter, Adam Minter, quotes a Chinese microblogger:

If Jeremy Lin lived on the mainland, he would either be a semi-literate CBA [Chinese Basketball Association, China’s state-run professional league] player or an ordinary undergraduate who likes basketball in his spare time. We admire him not because he is an ethnic Chinese, but because he has proved for a fact that the main reason that Chinese don’t play basketball well is because of the system, and not their physique!

I’ve written before about China’s sports factories that churn out athletes who have no skills outside of their sport, and how those who don’t make it usually end up with limited skills and poor job prospects. So I kept wondering, could China produce a Jeremy Lin? Unfortunately, I don’t think so. Not yet.

I was listening to interviews on NPR this morning with fans in China who insist Lin is Chinese due to the color of his skin and the fact that his roots go back to Zhejiang (and Taiwan). Their hero worship of Lin will continue, as he is all they have. As Minter says in his closing line, “Until there is a Jeremy Lin born and made in China, Jeremy Lin the Chinese-American will almost certainly remain a favorite of native-born Chinese basketball fans.”


Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 89 Comments

I’m not even gonna try and catch up on these comments. But here’s an article in the Economist that supports much of what you’re saying, Richard.

February 20, 2012 @ 3:46 pm | Comment

You know, looking at football, it’s pretty obvious where the problem is. Whilst it would be easy to blame the top-down approach, this is obviously not the ultimate root of China’s footballing problems.

Both the USSR and North Korea had/have a similarly top-down system. The USSR won the 1960 European Cup and was runner-up three times from 1960-1988 – a better record than England during a period when England was a world-bestriding force in football. North Korea’s record is also outstanding for a country of its size – Quarter-finals in ’66 (following a victory over Italy), qualification in 2010, and when they’re not banned (which is often, and due not only to international considerations but also to behaviour of their fans) they usually qualify for the AFC.

Taking a look at the region, you can see that both South Korea and Japan, which share some of the cultural mores of China especially when it comes to denigrating careers in sport, also field decent football teams. Hong-Kong, for its size, and considering the problem of finding anywhere to play in the territory, also has a decent footballing culture and the local teams seem to have fanatical followings.

Turn to Taiwan, however, and you’ll see a place which, despite the reasonably large size of the population, and the abscence of a top-down force driving football there, just simply doesn’t do football. A friend of mine follows the home games of the national team there and has seen only a few goals scored in years. most of the players are picked from those playing at universities, no national squad is maintained.

Basically, Taiwanese do not care about playing football for Taiwan, and it is the same in mainland China. Whilst the women appear to be motivated, there’s no expectation placed on the men’s team, nor do they really care about it. Apathy, encouraged by corruption, is the main reason why the Chinese men’s team never goes anywhere.

This doesn’t mean that I don’t think China can produce good teams and good players. It’s just I don’t think they’re going to flourish in the current Chinese football set-up with its apathy-breeding corruption. In fact, I’m going to make a hostage to fortune and say that some time in the next ten years one of the Chinese players you see bench-warming in various foreign leagues is going to come off the bench and score a devastating hat-trick against tough opposition. Then Chinese football fans will really have something to talk about.

February 20, 2012 @ 10:26 pm | Comment

@FOARP, if not for the heroic Eusebio and some very dubious refereeing, North Korea could’ve gone to the semi in 1966. If you believe in Karma, the bad refereeing Koreans had to endure facing some European teams in 1966, got paid back in 2002. I grew up as a sports nut and knew a lot of quirky sports factoid. For instance, guess which nation had won the most swimming golds in both the 1932 and the 1936 Olympics?

It’ll be a very long discussion on why and how the Chinese football has sunk so low. The “top-down” sports system, or the “Soviet style” sports system, certainly isn’t it. The Chinese football team didn’t get to play WC until 1982. The era of the best performance — nothing to write home about but still far better than today — was when the football system was much more “top-down”. Up until the early 90s, China had a decent head-to-head record against Japan, then had a far better domestic league, in terms of pay and level of play. Even then, you could tell that Japan would be very good soon. In a way, money played an important role in Japan’s football ascendance.

The meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin has brought out a lot of casual sports fans, who at here or many other places have voiced their extremely uninformed opinions. First, Jeremy Lin is an outliner due to a handful of reasons of which bigotry played a role. Had he been black or white, he would’ve been recruited out of HS and had a more normal career. I am not particularly angry about that — it is what it is — you should make the most out of your circumstances at any time instead of bitching about them, which is useless. Especially now Lin has made it, his unique career path and background are such a fantastic selling point. Most Americans don’t realize that the American sports system is not a global norm. Most professional sportspeople outside of the US, tend not go to college and start playing professionally at a much younger age.

February 21, 2012 @ 4:25 am | Comment

@JXie –

“The meteoric rise of Jeremy Lin has brought out a lot of casual sports fans, who at here or many other places have voiced their extremely uninformed opinions.”

One of the joys of sports is that everyone has an opinion – although if you have to put up with a national team that has manager after manager ruined due to fan opposition you’re going to start wishing that they didn’t. I have to admit that up ’till 2006 I was one of those England supporters who managed to magically convince themselves that England had a chance every time a competition came round so I hear where the China fans are coming from.

“If you believe in Karma, the bad refereeing Koreans had to endure facing some European teams in 1966, got paid back in 2002.”

And was still going strong in 2010, apparently.

“It’ll be a very long discussion on why and how the Chinese football has sunk so low. The “top-down” sports system, or the “Soviet style” sports system, certainly isn’t it.”

Yeah, I eventually came to same opinion myself. It might explain a greater concentration on certain sports, but the money and people that go into pistol shooting would not otherwise go into football.

“Most Americans don’t realize that the American sports system is not a global norm. Most professional sportspeople outside of the US, tend not go to college and start playing professionally at a much younger age.”

True that. I grew up near Merseyside during the 80’s, when the Bootroom and its proteges still dominated football, when all the top-flight teams had something similar, before Chelsea ushered in the modern era with all their foreign signings. The US university-driven model only works because the US education system is oriented that way and is pretty much unique to the US. Sure America gets good sportspeople- but the cost is unnecessarily expensive higher education. The US system doesn’t create good footballers because, amongst other things, footballers need to start younger. Only apprenticeships and youth teams can do that – and these do not (or should not, anyway) result in ‘illiterate’ sportspeople.

February 21, 2012 @ 5:20 am | Comment

PS –

“guess which nation had won the most swimming golds in both the 1932 and the 1936 Olympics?”

I’m going to make a totally random guess and say Canada. Here’s where you embarrass me by saying that it was Brazil or something.

February 21, 2012 @ 5:22 am | Comment

The answer: Japan. They won golds in 4 x 200 meter men’s freestyle relay (swimming) twice. 4 x 200 meter freestyle relay is one of those events that really show a nation’s sporting depth. In some events such as 100 meter dash, if there aren’t a lot of West African descents in your nation, your chance of winning is far worse than Lin’s chance of making in NBA. Swimming is something that people of all races having won in the past.

I have been following the times set by the best 5 to 6 200 meter freestyle swimmers in China and in the US in the past year or so, ever since the possibility has come to my attention — there is an ok chance that team China led by Sun Yang, may beat the team led by Michael Phelps and Ryan Lochte in London.

February 21, 2012 @ 6:23 am | Comment

Superb piece on Lin over at the Economist. Snip:

Mr Lin is, put plainly, precisely everything that China’s state sport system cannot possibly produce. If Mr Lin were to have been born and raised in China, his height alone might have denied him entry into China’s sport machine, as Time’s Hannah Beech points out: “Firstly, at a mere 6’3”—relatively short by basketball standards—Lin might not have registered with Chinese basketball scouts, who in their quest for suitable kids to funnel into the state sport system are obsessed with height over any individual passion for hoops.” Even when Mr Lin was still a young boy, one look at his parents, each of unremarkable stature, would have made evaluators sceptical. Ms Beech’s other half happens to be Brook Larmer, the author of the fascinating book “Operation Yao Ming”, which details how Chinese authorities contrived to create China’s most successful basketball star, Mr Yao, the product of tall parents who were themselves Chinese national basketball team players. The machine excels at identifying, processing and churning out physical specimens—and it does so exceedingly well for individual sports, as it will again prove in London this year. But it happens to lack the nuance and creativity necessary for team sport.

Then there is the fact that Mr Lin’s parents probably never would have allowed him anywhere near the Chinese sport system in the first place. This is because to put one’s child (and in China, usually an only child at that) in the sport system is to surrender that child’s upbringing and education to a bureaucracy that cares for little but whether he or she will win medals someday. If Mr Lin were ultimately to be injured or wash out as an athlete, he would have given up his only chance at an elite education, and been separated from his parents for lengthy stretches, for nothing. (One must add to this the problem of endemic corruption in Chinese sport that also scares away parents—Chinese football referee Lu Jun, once heralded as the “golden whistle” for his probity, was sentenced to jail last week as part of a massive match-fixing scandal). Most Chinese parents, understandably, prefer to see their children focus on schooling and exams.

In America, meanwhile, athletic excellence actually can open doors to an elite education, through scholarships and recruitment. Harvard does not provide athletic scholarships, but it does recruit players who also happen to be academic stars. There is no real equivalent in China.

February 21, 2012 @ 9:49 am | Comment
Hopefully this does describe the different systems of the same game…

February 21, 2012 @ 10:24 am | Comment

The only thing superb about the Economist’s piece is its badness. Most of the points it made were plainly wrong. It’s not even if it’s anti-China or not — it is as if it just doesn’t have the faintest clue about the topics in hand.

For instance, on the first point it makes, 6’3″ is not short for a PG. Actually quite possibly, it’s the ideal height internationally for a PG. Among all PGs of the Chinese national teams in the last 2 decades that I can remember, only 2 were taller than Lin and only 1 was significantly taller than him — Sun Yue is 6’8″ but most of the time he actually played a swingman between 2 (SG) and 3 (SF). Liu Wei, the current Chinese starting PG, is 6’2″. There have been quite a few starting PGs in CBA in the last decade shorter than 6′. For instance, Li Qun who was the Guangdong captain and was called up to a few Chinese national teams (Team B or C), was like 5’10” (officially listed as 5’11”). BTW, how Li Qun made it was a good story in itself… The plausible reason to me is that the Economist writer couldn’t tell the differences between Yao’s, Yi’s and Lin’s positions. If Lin was Muggsy Bogues, the point of height might have merit.

February 21, 2012 @ 11:57 am | Comment

The Economist article seems to make many points. On the height issue, there is certainly some ambiguity. Clearly, it’s not just the big men that make it into the “Chinese sports machine”, if for no other point of proof than the fact that they do have smaller players playing the ‘smaller’ positions. But for recreating the successful export of Yao Ming to the NBA, the bigs seem to be where it’s at, albeit with a very small sample size.

To discuss whether China can export a “Jeremy Lin” is actually pointless because it is far too broad a concept. Would the next Jeremy Lin need to be a devout Christian? And how does that contribute to basketball prowess. Does the next Jeremy Lin have to be the middle son with an older and a younger brother? That alone would seem to make it an impossible dream for China (at least for the foreseeable future). In fact, in China, Jeremy Lin wouldn’t have been born.

So what aspects of Jeremy Lin make him a compelling human interest/basketball story? Underdog from an unheralded background with a skill-set quite tailor-made for his position, who achieved success after biding his time and finally being given a chance, playing in a team-oriented system with average-to-good players who can pull their own weight. If that’s the metric, even Yao doesn’t fit, cuz he was a highly sought after big who was expected to do well from day 1(and he actually lived up to his billing, which in itself is a rarity these days; it’s too bad injuries prevented him from accomplishing more).

At this point, asking for another Jeremy Lin is way premature. Forget about an underdog who finds success. China first needs to show a trend towards being able to produce “likely” success stories (like more Yao Mings) before worrying about being able to produce “unlikely” ones. And she certainly hasn’t achieved the former yet.

February 21, 2012 @ 1:25 pm | Comment

The Economist piece is a travesty much like Times one.

@”Mr Lin is, put plainly, precisely everything that China’s state sport system cannot possibly produce”

That’s interesting because Mr. Lin has not receive a college scholarship from Pac-10 universities (Stanford, UCLA) after leading Palo Alto High to a state championship nor has been drafted in NBA after helping Harvard to get in the NCAA Championship under the American system.

The only time that he got his fame is out of desperation from a coach after 1st, 2nd, 3rd options as PG were injured or old.

@“Firstly, at a mere 6’3”—relatively short by basketball standards—Lin might not have registered with Chinese basketball scouts, who in their quest for suitable kids to funnel into the state sport system are obsessed with height over any individual passion for hoops.”

Absolutely ridiculous. Liu Wei, Xirelijiang, and 18 years old and 2012 CBA Rookie’s Challenge MVP Guo Ailun are 6’3″ and are around 200 lbs and has played for the Chinese National Team.

Yao Ming in September 2011, way before Lin’s sudden rise in NYC, wanted Lin to play for the Shanghai Sharks after seeing Lin play for Dongguan Leopards club in 2011 ABA Club Championship (seriously, someone should answer to James Fallows’ piece “How Would Jeremy Lin Fare in a Pickup Game in Beijing?”)

February 21, 2012 @ 2:43 pm | Comment

I’m not going to try to judge if the Economist is right or wrong about Mr. Lin. It’s the only paper I’ve subscribed to. A paper doesn’t need to be right – it needs to contain some decent information (the Economist does), should be fun to read (it is), and a reader needs to be judgmental (whatever he or she reads).

Time on the other hand bores me stiff.

February 21, 2012 @ 4:14 pm | Comment

Have to agree with Jxie and Jason here – the Economist piece takes the wrong tack. Like Li Na, Lin triumphed in spite of the system, not because of it.

February 21, 2012 @ 5:49 pm | Comment

To Jason,
that Lin was previously overlooked is of course part of the story. However, that doesn’t make him any less of a product of the “American” system. Palo Alto High. Harvard. Those sound fairly American to me. It certainly doesn’t contradict the Economist article’s assertion that Lin is something the Chinese state sport system could not have produced. If you want to counter that point, you need to find a player from the Chinese system that has a story like Lin. And as I said in #60, when one speaks of “somebody like Lin”, one needs to be clear about what parameters are being used in making that comparison.

BTW, even if Lin had gone to play for Yao Ming, that would still not make him a product of the Chinese state sport system.

February 21, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Comment


You said, “if you want to counter that point, you need to find a player from the Chinese system that has a story like Lin.” but neither Times’ nor Economists’ parameters are the same as yours.

BTW I got interested in Jeremy Lin when he played in NBA Summer League 2010 when he schooled the #1 draft pick, John Wall. I am sure that Yao did so too, as he invited Jeremy to Taiwan in the same year to play a charity game under Yao’s foundation.

What I said about Yao’s interest in Jeremy to play in the CBA is not making Jeremy as a product of the Chinese state sport system rather they are looking for talent and not pigeon-holed into obsessing with height which Economist claims.

February 21, 2012 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

@SKC – Sorry, but Jaosn appears to have the facts on his side – the CBA does pick 6’3″-ers and under, even if they might favour the taller guys.

Moreover, I really can’t see Lin as a massive success story for the US system by itself, any more than Li Na is a success for the Chinese system. Lin could easily have spent the rest of his NBA career on the bench without being picked – and I guess there are plenty of players (of all colours and creeds) whose NBA careers are exactly like that.

Would Justin Lin have suceeded in the CBA? Well, he’s a good enough player. His religion might get in the way a bit, and I think he would likely be asked not to make a big thing out of it. It’s difficult for someone to pursue university and sports at the same time in China (and in a lot of other countries as well – the US is the only country I know of where universities systematically offer sports scholarships). Impossible? I think that’s far too strong a word.

February 21, 2012 @ 10:29 pm | Comment

@T E Low

US women’s gymnastics is better than China now based on the results from 2011 world champ. They actually has been historically better than china, they only lost the team event because two gymnasts were injured. And an american badminton player named howard bach actually won world championship a few years ago.


well several olympic gold medalist ended up going to peking university upon retirement (any certified athletes get extra points in the entrance exam, and with gold medals it’s pretty much automatic admission into a good univ). and many retired athletes actually went on and started decent businesses. also, the training center actually provide them decent well-rounded education (probably not AP levels but still decent enough to compare to regular US high school classes).

i paid to get trained at the cantonese province team so i had some first hand experiences. though the training for their athletes is tough, i wouldn’t call them slaves. they each have their own PC in their dorm room to go online or play games with, and they’re free to go out until 10 after training. most of the coaches treat the players like family. so i wouldn’t call the system inhumane.

but i have to say, US elite athletes are generally extremely talented such that they developed their ability because of their interest, not because they’re put into a state-owned system.

February 21, 2012 @ 10:55 pm | Comment

personally i find this clip classless

February 22, 2012 @ 12:11 am | Comment


The Economist article seems to make many points.

Check out a HH comment for the rebuttal of other points, if you are interested.

If you want to counter that point, you need to find a player from the Chinese system that has a story like Lin.

Comment #13. Zeng Lingxu.


US women’s gymnastics is better than China now based on the results from 2011 world champ. They actually has been historically better than china, they only lost the team event because two gymnasts were injured. And an american badminton player named howard bach actually won world championship a few years ago.

US men’s gymnastics team has been not too shabby either. In the past several decades, the US men’s team has won fewer golds than Russia and China, but not by that much. The curious thing is the collapse of the Russian men’s program. 2008 was an anomaly with China being the host. My projection is that in London the US and China will win roughly the same numbers of golds in gymnastics (with men’s advantage going to China, and women’s going to the US). Speaking of which, my projection of golds is: China: 42 to 45, the US: 35 to 38. China is an underdog according to the latest betting odds — it’s a raging buy.

Howard Bach was a good story, but his double badminton 2005 World Champion was way overrated — in 2008 he took a beating by a Chinese pair at quarterfinal. It took me a while to figure this out — my picks on Olympic Games prior to 1996 were off by quite a bit, but picks since 2000 have been dead on. Except football (soccer) and tennis, all other sports pivot on Olympics, which are held once every 4 years. The world titles (world championship games, world cups, etc.) mean very little in the year-1 events post an Olympic Game. Immediately after an Olympic Game, it is a good time for the top players to goof off, smoke a few joints (e.g. Phelps), have babies, and for top pairs in double games to split up and regroup. Year-3 events start to mean a lot, but you still have to pay attention to the game-changing players (e.g. again, Phelps) and follow their latest forms.

BTW, once you win a gold for team China, unless you are monumentally stupid, your life is largely set. The hardest is what if you can never quite reach that height? Professional sports are brutal as a career choice. For every heart-warming Jeremy Lin story, there are hundreds if not thousands who can never make it. Even if Lin hadn’t got his chance of lifetime in Knicks, his career would have turned out ok money-wise — he was paid a few hundred Ks already by the Warriors, and if he had to play in CBA, his annual income would still be far better a 8-to-5 job. A lot of foreign golfers from countries like Australia and South Africa want to make a living in the US and start playing in “minor leagues” such as the Nationwide Tour. Many of them sleep in cars, drive from tournament to tournament, and only shower in the clubhouses. Some made it and became another versions of Jeremy Lin story, but many don’t. It’s a hard hard hard choice in life — on average just purely from a monetary standpoint they are better off not having any talents to begin with. Maybe youthful dreams don’t really have a price?

February 22, 2012 @ 1:20 am | Comment

To Jason #65:
“but neither Times’ nor Economists’ parameters are the same as yours.”
—that’s true. As I said, in particular, I found the “religion” angle to be silly. I doubt his Christian faith has any bearing on his ability to run the high screen roll. All I’m saying is that when people talk about finding “someone like Lin”, they should be clear about what aspects of Lin are being used in comparison.

So if you say that China has produced players “like Lin” by virtue of the fact that they have homegrown 6’3″ players running the point on their CBA teams and national team, then OK. But if being “like Lin” means a player of Chinese ethnic descent becoming the starting PG on an NBA team (for instance, and dispensing with the rags-to-riches feel-good aspects which merely add to the degree-of-difficulty in finding a true comparator), then the Chinese sports system indeed hasn’t gotten very far (as compared to, say, exporting bigs like Yao).

I agree insofar as the Economist jumping to conclusions about a height fetish based on the success of Yao. In fact, trying to decide what the Chinese sports system can produce in terms of elite NBA level basketball talent is difficult, since the entire sample is Yao and not much else.

Lin is a success story for the “US system” in the sense that he took whatever talent he had and honed it within that system. But he’s certainly not a success story for the NBA pro scouting system, or NCAA college scouting system.

I agree that impossible is too strong a word. And you can’t prove a negative. But to date, the Chinese sports system has yet to provide proof positive that it is in fact possible to replicate a Lin-style story.

February 22, 2012 @ 1:27 am | Comment

To Jxie,
I don’t do HH but found some interesting stuff on Zeng Lingxu on Google. Thanks for the heads-up.

“…graduating with a bachelors degree from Tsinghua’s school of economics and management.
Now a professional athlete, Zeng’s school background makes him a rather rare case in Chinese sport in which most athletes come up through the state-run sport system.
“They (Lin and Zeng) almost developed the same way; playing while studying in university and then joining the top league as a pro,” said prominent Chinese basketball commentator Zhang Weiping.
“From school to the pros, Lin rode a typical track in the US, but Zeng seems a special case in China because we have a different talent-cultivating system,” said Zhang. ”

That is indeed very similar, right down to their academic majors and going to a good school. Maybe Zeng will start a trend in China. To me, his path is similar enough to Lin (at least from the basketball standpoint) to serve as a counterpoint to the Economist article; the underdog/human interest angle would really be expecting too much.

February 22, 2012 @ 4:07 am | Comment

The Time piece ignores star PRC hurdler Liu Xiang, who was rejected by the Chinese system at an early age, and forged his own career.

February 22, 2012 @ 5:01 am | Comment

Just read the NYT piece by Yardley that Mike linked to at #58. Didn’t seem too controversial to me…or controversial at all. Seemed mostly to be about the business end of things, rather than the athletic aspects, except for some observations by none other than Yao Ming.

February 22, 2012 @ 6:29 am | Comment

I don’t think it was meant to be controversial (though some find controversy in everything). Just an example of the different ways of doing things.

On a related note, I wonder if the sports question is in any way related to the academic question. I work in a scientific environment and pretty much all my research materiel is from the US and Europe. I do have some Japanese papers but from China there’s pretty much nothing. Now, I know Chinese are good scientists – I work with many. Many of the papers I use are filled with Chinese names. So why is the research from China not more prevalent? Oddly, in my field (cancer research) Indian research isn’t too prevalent either, despite, again, the massive number of Indian scientists I know here and in the publications I have from US/EU.

February 22, 2012 @ 7:42 am | Comment

It takes time to establish a base. The scientists themselves probably need experience.

February 22, 2012 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Jeremy Lin is a great athlete and good kid, humble, hardworking, but also intune with American culture and fit in well with his black team mates.

However, to think that somehow Jeremy Lin’s achivement represents some kind of elevation of the status of the Asian man in the US is of the utmost naivety, and underestimates the bestial and ruthless nature of Anglo-Saxon social dynamics.

The Anglo Saxons are at their core brutes – with much stronger animal instincts than the Orientals. To overcome Anglo Saxon dominance for the past 300 years, is to be every more brutish – but only as a means to overpower them so as to allow a permanent Sinic-centered harmonious world to forever persist over the human civilization.

So, what is the way to overcome Anglo Saxon dominance? Simple, to have enough nuclear warheads as to ensure the elimination of 50% of American and Western European population centers. Only when this capability exists can China sit down with the brutes and talk leisurely about such pleasant and gentlemanly issues as human rights, religious freedom, environmental protection, etc.

Leisure and politeness are backed by raw power.

February 22, 2012 @ 8:57 am | Comment

#75 Either a wind-up or more badly digested Thomas Hobbes.
….a permanent Sinic-centered harmonious world to forever persist over the human civilization.

Forget about Western civilisation. This sort of stuff would scare the bejesus out of China’s immediate Asian neighbours. Little wonder Vietnam has let bygones be bygones and formed an implicit relationship with the US. Read up on developing anti-sino sentiment in Mymnar.

Come on Mr King. Fess up. Richard asked you to breathe a bit of life into this thread about a sport which the great majority of global ctizens don’t give a rats about.

February 22, 2012 @ 9:12 am | Comment

So stephenking has once again shown himself to be an equal opportunity racist, comfortable with backwards stereotypes of Chinese and “anglosaxons” alike. At least hes consistent, I suppose. And of course he’s a warmonger as well. I guess that fits the demographic nicely.

February 22, 2012 @ 9:48 am | Comment

To mike,
I don’t think it was meant to be controversial either. But Jason seemed to take exception to it, without saying why.

February 22, 2012 @ 9:50 am | Comment

@StephenKing: Please define “Anglo-saxon” for me. I suspect your answer will confirm that you are an idiot as well as a racist.

February 22, 2012 @ 9:53 am | Comment

Anglo-Saxons? Thought they were beaten by the Normans in 1066….

February 22, 2012 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Stephen King, I am putting you in my moderated comments queue because I think you are looking for trouble. Not banned, but consider yourself warned. That comment was straight out of the Wayne playbook.

February 22, 2012 @ 9:56 am | Comment

Cookie, how much time? Given the scientific diaspora from China, there’s a decent base already set up and it has been there for decades. OK, I’ll give you a few years off for Maoism and all that entailed in the 50s and 60s (and the war from the 30s and 40s) but that’s just to set up the research institutions in China – in all that time there was research being done by Chinese.
I don’t really understand it – the scientists are good, excellent, brilliant but none want to go to China (at least, none that I know). The ones I read about go to China to make money – science seems to be secondary to lucre (though “read” is the pertinent word here…).

February 22, 2012 @ 10:06 am | Comment

Goldthorpe, Mao stopped the college education in the Cultural Revolution. It wasn’t restarted until 1977. Plus China had been practically sealed off from the world for near 20 years then (including the Soviet Union). Well into the 80s, in some majors with more breakthroughs and advancements globally in the decades prior, sometimes textbooks were carbon copies of hand-written ones — fresh off somebody’s manual translated works and/or foreign college school notes. It takes a long time to build the scientific research system and culture. Also if the funding didn’t come from private sources (i.e. immediate payoff), the Chinese government was mostly starving for money until in the 00s. It was hard to resist the temptation of making 10x more overseas for most researchers, which is why you see a lot of Chinese names in research papers but not from China.

In the last several years, The Chinese government has been very aggressive in paying top money for oversea stars to fill the college faculty rosters. In biotech field, there are two people that you may want to follow, Shi Yigong and Rao Yi. It’ll take a while to see the result. Shi has an interesting blog in Chinese.

Sort of FYI. The US became the largest economy in the world in the decade prior to 1900, yet in the first 2 decades of the Nobel Prize history, it had 2 natural science winners, and one of them was not even born in the US.

February 22, 2012 @ 11:21 am | Comment

@S. K. Cheung

I was talking about the Time Magazine piece not the NYT.

@a player of Chinese ethnic descent becoming the starting PG on an NBA team

Liu Wei and Sun Yue has gotten a chance to play for NBA teams yet they are treated the same way as Jeremy Lin before Jeremy got his starting position: miniscue playing time and danger of getting cut (yes even with the NY Knicks)

February 22, 2012 @ 12:33 pm | Comment

To Jason,
you did refer to “Times” in #61 and 65, rather than “Time”. But I’m sorry for misunderstanding. However, I don’t know which Time Magazine article you’re referring to in that case.

Liu Wei never really made it. On the other hand, Sun Yue was actually drafted so he was at one time more highly touted than Jeremy Lin ever was. But he never stuck. So he doesn’t really compare to Lin at this point, nor does he disprove the Economist article’s point. Zeng Lingxu, as Jxie referred to, seems to come the closest at this point, especially with regard to showing that a high-level smaller player can in fact be developed outside of the state sports machine system. If Zeng ever makes it to the NBA, he would be an even stronger counterpoint to the Economist.

February 22, 2012 @ 2:36 pm | Comment

I shall keep an eye out 🙂 Just seems odd for a country that can build cities and transport systems in less time than most other countries can finish discussing the logistics of it all…..well, you get the picture, I hope.

Most US research still isn’t done by American-born Americans, I’ll wager. I dare say most of the groundwork in the labs is done by non-Americans. Bit like here in Auckland Uni, NZ….

February 23, 2012 @ 4:33 am | Comment

Whoever this is, who cares. This is the entertianment district. Sports are just for fun, and for when you are not going into to battle. Arming millions of children with the ideas that allows them to join the military in some form or another. Remember 2001, well that is pretty much it.

About Americans. To the standard American, all East Asianers are one race group. Not two, three, or ten. When this commercial hits, it is not meant for the mass media it is meant for the sports fans who barely even comes into contact with an Asian person. Great look at Jackie Chan crawling on buildings with super Kung Fu powers, hanging out with pigs. America is a failed Canada, and it’s primary resources is policing the world. It’s citizens are just tools for it’s primary people. Those who are seperate but equal. You think that is extinct, think again.

In short, who cares. Because most real East Asian people who do not even know what
“English” is, are probably using a steel plow in some garden right now. While the minority of the brainwashed educated are like “Hey that is commercial” but the truth, in terms of Chinese customs that westerners understand, the fortune cookie stands out. Would you prefer somebody with a Mirror to ward of demons in a 3d commercial using Jeremy Lin as a Good luck charm??? Okay.

Also Asianers who are productive ( and I mean really caniving, cheap productive ) do not care about this because they will probably never even own a television.

February 23, 2012 @ 7:31 pm | Comment

To the standard American, all East Asianers are one race group.

I can feel the irony oozing between my toes.

February 24, 2012 @ 9:26 pm | Comment

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