When people from Western countries think of China, negative images of a poor human rights record and funding the war in Darfur surface rather quickly. After living in China these things aren’t what immediately come to mind. I think of how warmly I’ve been welcomed in China, my students’ hospitality, and the adventure that each day turns into when living in a foreign country.

I would rather that people thought good things about China, but it’s such a shame when the country does things to perpetuate the stereotypes it has in the West. After reading articles like this (http://www.usatoday.com/sports/columnist/brennan/2008-08-12-gymnastics_N.htm) and this (http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1832312,00.html?imw=Y) that have some pretty convincing evidence, combined with government treatment/cover-up of SARS and the earthquake, I have a hard time being on the side of the Chinese government. It’s true that Chinese kids look younger than their American counterparts, but it’s a little sketchy when the American team is on average 30lbs heavier and 3.5″ taller than Team China. If that’s not enough, 3 of 6 China team members were listed previously in Chinese news articles and in prior competitions as having 1993 and 1994 birth years. In case anyone might be thinking that I would prefer Team USA to win the gold over China, it’s really about abiding by the rules and competing equally. China, I’m disappointed.

You decide. Here are some pictures. Are these kids 16?

Team China, gold medalists

Team USA, silver medalists

My Sr I Class 11 Chinese students, all 15 and 16 years old

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