Is China Trying to Cheat Its Way to Olympic Glory?

Commentary The United States’ ice hockey team will face off against China on Feb. 10. On closer inspection, though, they will be facing off against a team called China but composed primarily of Westerners. What’s going on here? How can this be? Isn’t China supposed to have some of the toughest immigration policies on the planet? Perhaps, just perhaps, China—more specifically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—is trying to cheat its way to Olympic glory. As the journalist Justin Olsvik recently noted, Jan. 27 was the finalization of the Chinese men’s ice hockey team roster. Of the 24 players confirmed to represent the country, however, only 9 are Chinese. The other 15 happen to be Canadians, Americans, and Russians. Specifically, 11 Canadians, 3 Americans, and 1 Russian. To say that the Chinese “national team relies on foreign athletes to remain even remotely competitive,” as Olsvik did, is an understatement of epic proportions. In fairness to Olsvik, he followed up the understatement by discussing some rather interesting statistics. In the world of ice hockey, as some readers are no doubt aware, “points” are awarded to players for each goal scored or assist earned. Most readers are familiar with the NHL, or the National Hockey League. However, there also exists something called the KHL, or the Kontinental Hockey League. This professional ice hockey league, very much international in nature, was founded in 2008. Clubs from Belarus, China, Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Russia and, of course, China compete in this league. In 2019, the sports journalist Jon Sorensen noted that KHL officials planned to introduce “smart pucks and chips,” which would be “embedded in each of the players’ jerseys.” Why? “The new sensors and “telematics systems” were introduced to “provide advanced data and analytics on each player and for every team, and deliver the data and information in real time to officials, fans, coaches and broadcasters,” wrote Sorensen. The Chinese, not surprisingly, paid close attention to the stats. And for good reason. As the aforementioned Olsvik noted, last season, “the 24 members of the Chinese Olympic team accumulated a total of 198 points.” Of those points, “99.5 percent were racked up by foreigners,” with only one Chinese player, Rudi Ying, picking up a single point. The top three players—Spencer Foo, Tyler Wong, and Brandon Yip, all of Canadian descent—accounted “for 44 percent of the team’s points.” Olsvik then wonders if enlisting  “athletes from other countries” is inherently unethical. Well, is it? That is up to readers to decide. Now, of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with becoming a naturalized citizen of another country. However, when almost two-thirds of a country’s ice hockey team (and soccer) is composed of naturalized athletes, serious questions need to be asked. Sure, China is not doing anything illegal—but using foreign talent to help boost the Chinese regime’s image appears to be somewhat unethical. One could (and possibly should) say that China is trying to cheat its way to Olympic success. Should we be surprised? Not necessarily. All is fair in love and war, we’re told. And for the CCP, the accumulation of medals—more specifically, the accumulation of gold medals—is very much comparable with warfare, even if Chinese leader Xi Jinping says otherwise. Whatever needs to be done must be done, even if this includes enlisting the services of foreigners and presenting them as “Chinese” athletes. This is true for the men’s ice hockey team, and it’s equally true for the women’s. In March 2018, in an interview with SupChina, Shirley Hon, then a director of international affairs for the Kunlun Red Star Group, a leading Chinese hockey team, was asked about the 2022 Winter Olympics. More specifically, she was asked what the minimum requirements were for both the men’s and the women’s ice hockey teams. Hon, a woman very much in the know, responded, “The goal for the men’s team is to make it to the final eight teams.” For the women’s team, nothing less than a gold medal would please the elites in Beijing. Arena workers prepare the venue for hockey games at the National Indoor Stadium leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, on Jan. 29, 2022. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) In an effort to achieve gold, Digit Murphy, an American and then coach of the women’s national team at the time, was, according to SB Nation, given no shortage of resources: “two brand-new pro teams, a pipeline of players and coaches from the West, and a new arena in Shenzhen.” The pipeline was created to siphon off talent from abroad. One of Murphy’s new recruits was a woman by the name of Kelli Stack, “a surprise cut from the U.S. Olympic team.” Murphy, according to the SB Nation piece, fully embraced Beijing’s calls to do whatever was necessary to ensure gold in 2022. Her idea was to formalize Beijing’s plans, then take them one “step further.” Murphy worked tirelessly to en

Is China Trying to Cheat Its Way to Olympic Glory?

Commentary

The United States’ ice hockey team will face off against China on Feb. 10. On closer inspection, though, they will be facing off against a team called China but composed primarily of Westerners.

What’s going on here? How can this be?

Isn’t China supposed to have some of the toughest immigration policies on the planet? Perhaps, just perhaps, China—more specifically, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP)—is trying to cheat its way to Olympic glory.

As the journalist Justin Olsvik recently noted, Jan. 27 was the finalization of the Chinese men’s ice hockey team roster. Of the 24 players confirmed to represent the country, however, only 9 are Chinese. The other 15 happen to be Canadians, Americans, and Russians. Specifically, 11 Canadians, 3 Americans, and 1 Russian. To say that the Chinese “national team relies on foreign athletes to remain even remotely competitive,” as Olsvik did, is an understatement of epic proportions.

In fairness to Olsvik, he followed up the understatement by discussing some rather interesting statistics. In the world of ice hockey, as some readers are no doubt aware, “points” are awarded to players for each goal scored or assist earned. Most readers are familiar with the NHL, or the National Hockey League. However, there also exists something called the KHL, or the Kontinental Hockey League. This professional ice hockey league, very much international in nature, was founded in 2008. Clubs from Belarus, China, Finland, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Russia and, of course, China compete in this league.

In 2019, the sports journalist Jon Sorensen noted that KHL officials planned to introduce “smart pucks and chips,” which would be “embedded in each of the players’ jerseys.”

Why?

“The new sensors and “telematics systems” were introduced to “provide advanced data and analytics on each player and for every team, and deliver the data and information in real time to officials, fans, coaches and broadcasters,” wrote Sorensen.

The Chinese, not surprisingly, paid close attention to the stats. And for good reason.

As the aforementioned Olsvik noted, last season, “the 24 members of the Chinese Olympic team accumulated a total of 198 points.” Of those points, “99.5 percent were racked up by foreigners,” with only one Chinese player, Rudi Ying, picking up a single point. The top three players—Spencer Foo, Tyler Wong, and Brandon Yip, all of Canadian descent—accounted “for 44 percent of the team’s points.”

Olsvik then wonders if enlisting  “athletes from other countries” is inherently unethical. Well, is it? That is up to readers to decide.

Now, of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with becoming a naturalized citizen of another country. However, when almost two-thirds of a country’s ice hockey team (and soccer) is composed of naturalized athletes, serious questions need to be asked. Sure, China is not doing anything illegal—but using foreign talent to help boost the Chinese regime’s image appears to be somewhat unethical. One could (and possibly should) say that China is trying to cheat its way to Olympic success.

Should we be surprised? Not necessarily. All is fair in love and war, we’re told. And for the CCP, the accumulation of medals—more specifically, the accumulation of gold medals—is very much comparable with warfare, even if Chinese leader Xi Jinping says otherwise. Whatever needs to be done must be done, even if this includes enlisting the services of foreigners and presenting them as “Chinese” athletes.

This is true for the men’s ice hockey team, and it’s equally true for the women’s.

In March 2018, in an interview with SupChina, Shirley Hon, then a director of international affairs for the Kunlun Red Star Group, a leading Chinese hockey team, was asked about the 2022 Winter Olympics. More specifically, she was asked what the minimum requirements were for both the men’s and the women’s ice hockey teams.

Hon, a woman very much in the know, responded, “The goal for the men’s team is to make it to the final eight teams.” For the women’s team, nothing less than a gold medal would please the elites in Beijing.

Epoch Times Photo
Arena workers prepare the venue for hockey games at the National Indoor Stadium leading up to the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games, in Beijing, on Jan. 29, 2022. (Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

In an effort to achieve gold, Digit Murphy, an American and then coach of the women’s national team at the time, was, according to SB Nation, given no shortage of resources: “two brand-new pro teams, a pipeline of players and coaches from the West, and a new arena in Shenzhen.”

The pipeline was created to siphon off talent from abroad. One of Murphy’s new recruits was a woman by the name of Kelli Stack, “a surprise cut from the U.S. Olympic team.”

Murphy, according to the SB Nation piece, fully embraced Beijing’s calls to do whatever was necessary to ensure gold in 2022. Her idea was to formalize Beijing’s plans, then take them one “step further.” Murphy worked tirelessly to enlist what she called “ambassadors.” These were “top Western players imported to China not just to play hockey, but to share and promote the game across a cultural divide.”

Today, with the help of Murphy and other Westerners, China’s women’s ice hockey team is gunning for gold. Will it be successful? If the current world rankings are anything to go by, then probably not. Nevertheless, the willingness of so many foreigners to assist a country responsible for unmentionable crimes against humanity should fill us all with a sense of dismay.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.


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John Mac Ghlionn is a researcher and essayist. His work has been published, among others, by the New York Post, Sydney Morning Herald, Newsweek, National Review, and The Spectator US. He covers psychology and social relations, and has a keen interest in social dysfunction and media manipulation.