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Perception (addendum)

And one other media difference with the West: the Olympic medal count. On the Vancouver 2010 website, they list USA as the first place among winning countries, for having 8 total medals, 2 of them gold. Yet, on the TV broadcasts here in China, USA is ranked second place, trailing Switzerland’s (as of today) 3 gold medals.

This goes back to summer 2008. Which country came out on top? China had more gold medals, but USA had more overall. The debate goes on it seems..


Perception is everything

The Vancouver Olympics are broadcast pretty much all day here on Chinese TV Station 5. There’s a lot of coverage for the sports China competes in, like figure skating, speed skating, and curling (which we didn’t even know was a sport). They do show some highlights from other competitions like luge, mogul skiing, and the biathlon.

They tend to replay a lot of the same events, though, over and over again. If you didn’t see that amazing triple lutz by the Chinese skater, you will have a chance to see it again the second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth times during the day. This happened too with the women’s hockey match against USA. All during the day, they showed the Chinese team celebrating after a score on the USA goal, their goalie stopping shots with an amazing glove save, and deflecting countless pucks. We didn’t know the Chinese women had such skills! But there they were on TV, over and over again all day Monday.

Then the full game was broadcast later at night. Final score: USA 12, China 1.

It’s a little funny to us, but culturally it appears to make sense. Saving face is a big part of Chinese society. First, you build the impression that things are in fact going really well. Then a crushing blow doesn’t seem to fall that hard in the aftermath. We all need to focus on the positive, don’t we?

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June 2018
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