China Beat Archive



Date of this Version


Document Type



August 18, 2008 in The China Beat


Copyright August 18, 2008. Used by permission.


Here is an admittedly quirky list of some pieces I’ve come across recently that seem medal-worthy. Not all deal with “big” topics. Isn’t that fitting where the Games are concerned, though, since Olympic athletes don’t just compete in globally popular sports (like soccer) but also in ones that have few practitioners and, shall we say, niche followings (like synchronized diving)?* This list focuses almost exclusively on Western and English language publications, so I hope readers will bring Chinese and other publications into the mix via their comments. And while I’d like to award medals to some China Beat pieces (they clearly deserve them), I won’t. This isn’t, after all, a Self-Promotion Saturday. I will, however, mention one China Beatnik before the list is done.

1. Gold medal for taking on the “collectivist” East versus “individualistic” West cliche: to John Pomfret for his excellent blog post that points out some flaws in, among other things, a recent David Brooks op-ed on the theme.

2. Gold medal for clarifying the different ways that medal counts can be tallied: to Ian Johnson for his article on the subject (and nice to see a title that puns on “Who’s on First” without mentioning the name of China’s President).