OPINION / OBSERVER
CNN’s coverage of China in Tokyo Games unprofessional
Published: Jul 27, 2021 09:53 PM
Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

What is the Olympic Games? 

Richard Pound, a veteran IOC member, described the Olympic Games as "an oasis at which the youth of the world can gather for peaceful competition, free from the tensions" even though "the world as a whole is not working well." 

However, such an "oasis" is being eroded by the "desert" of moves that politicize sports.

Some Western media outlets, represented by CNN, are an important part of such a "desert." After reporting the Tokyo Olympic Games' first gold medal with the headline "Gold for China �?and more Covid-19 cases," CNN on Monday described the Games as "the latest opportunity" for China to "showcase its national strength" and an arena to challenge the US. It also hyped the so-called China's nationalist sentiment during the sports event. 

Be it unprofessionally linking China's first gold medal to COVID-19 or attributing the Chinese people's enthusiasm for the Olympics to nationalist sentiment, CNN's goal is to tarnish China's international image, make China look incompatible with the international community, and try to marginalize China in international public opinion. To some extent, this is in line with the US strategic competition with China.

Portraying China as a nationalistic country is also intended to lay the groundwork for blaming China for more heated divergence and even conflicts between Washington and Beijing in the future. 

"If we take a look around the world, we'll find it is precisely the US that has a strong nationalist complex and extreme nationalism. The nationalist waves incited by former president Donald Trump has even shaken the US' international status and frightened its allies," Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of International Relations of the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

Li noted that the US media have been trying to use their influence to make more countries follow the US in belittling China from the perspective of public opinion through the extreme and politicized description of China's sports practices. Under the influence of the capital behind CNN, the bias of its report cannot be concealed.

For example, when CNN made a report on road race gold medalist Anna Kiesenhofer, its headline is "Anna Kiesenhofer is a math genius who just pulled off one of the biggest shocks in Olympics history." When it comes to an American athlete, the headline is like "Triple jumper and rapper Will Claye on why his music is his 'love language.'" Both headlines showed that CNN was about to properly tell the stories - totally opposite to what it had done to disgust the Chinese people. 

CNN has become a megaphone for Western ideology. It makes great effort to denigrate and vilify China whenever it gets a chance, and thus its China-related reports are full of preconceived prejudice and a sense of superiority. It views China through tinted glasses, so everything it sees is distorted. This is also the case in sports, where CNN forcibly links sports to other political issues in far-fetched ways.

We love to read touching stories about those Western athletes, but the wonderful stories of Chinese athletes also deserve to be told rather than smeared. For example, the experience of Chinese sharpshooter Yang Qian has inspired thousands of Chinese youth. Yang, who won the first gold medal in Tokyo and the ninth gold medal for China during this Olympic Games, is an undergraduate at Tsinghua University, one of China's top universities. But CNN said nothing about her encouraging story, but rather maliciously put her gold medal together with the rise of COVID-19 cases. 

Didn't the CNN reporter know Yang's story? Or was it that they knew it but deliberately ignored it in order to highlight their smear that China fed nationalist sentiment by training athletes at "state-backed institutes" to win gold medals? Either way, it reflects the unprofessionalism of CNN's reporting. 

Is this the true level of CNN, which is called "fake news?"
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