Sunday, 8 September 2013

Japan's Win, China's Blunder

Tokyo wins the bid to host the 2020 Olympic Games, but China doesn't seem happy...
We are pleased to see Tokyo was awarded the 2020 Olympic Games, as it gives a huge morale boost to the Japanese who have been depressed by the ongoing leaks at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

The latest is that radiation readings there have spiked to its highest yet at 2,200 millisieverts, according to the Nuclear Regulation Authority. That reading so high in fact that an unprotected person can die within hours.

Meanwhile, water from the contaminated tanks is leaking into the ocean and heading towards the west coast of the United States and Canada. By the time the radiation arrives there in about 10 to 14 days, it is believed the amounts will be low that it won't affect the water supply, but still...

And so Tokyo's winning bid was a much needed psychological boost for Japan, and hopefully this will motivate the country to get things back on track.

However, we have to wonder about the motivations of Chinese state media because Xinhua News Agency wrongly reported that Istanbul won the Olympic bid, while state television ran a headline during a live broadcast saying "Tokyo eliminated".

While both reports were later withdrawn, it was too late to tell China's largest news portals, and of the blunder.

The mistake happened when Xinhua mistook a vote by the International Olympic Committee on whether either Istanbul or Madrid should advance to the next round as the final vote in which Istanbul won.

"Xinhua's blooper, which mistakes Tokyo with Istanbul, is killing newspapers across the nation," moaned Li Wanyin, deputy editor of Changsha Evening News on Sina Weibo.

He claimed the newspaper had already printed the false result and had to urgently retract hundreds of thousands of copies in the early morning and suffered a "severe loss".

"As a news provider, Xinhua owes its clients an explanation and a self-reflection," he added. He later took down this microblog post without an explanation.

Usually state media is the last to report "breaking news", so jumping the gun is amusing.

Nevertheless it's not the only time it's done this.

The latest hilarious blunder was when state media mistook The Onion as a credible news source and reported North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as last year's "Sexiest Man Alive". More recently state media thought spaceship designs on the sci-fi show Battlestar Galactica were aircraft carrier plans.

We are wondering though if China was secretly hoping Tokyo wouldn't win because of its long standing campaign against the Japanese for its wartime atrocities that Japan has never apologized for.

There are young people in China who continue to refuse to buy Japanese cars or eat Japanese food because of how their parents and grandparents were treated. It's an effective campaign, but is it really constructive?

This time though, Japan gets the last laugh... for now...


  1. Re the Chinese state media blunder: can imagine it coming out of wishful thinking on their part.

    Re people in China who refuse to buy Japanese cars, etc.: does this mean they won't buy Hello Kitty items too?

    On a more serious note, I knew people in Malaysia and England who were so anti-Japanese they refused to eat Japanese food and/or buy Japanese products -- but all of them have now passed away. Put another way: they were all so old that they were adults when the second world war took place.

  2. Hi YTSL -- Yeah... I don't think they buy Hello Kitty items! There's a woman our age I worked with who insisted on buying a Ford instead of a Toyota in Beijing. When my friend asked why, she launched into this passionate reason of how her grandparents and parents were treated during the war.

    If you ask younger people they probably don't care, but maybe in front of their family they'd say something different...