The last couple of days my feed has been occupied by the Ye Shiwen swimming controversy. Specifically, her gold medal wins in swimming at the London 2012 Olympics.
Photo: REUTERS image from The Telegraph
People are upset, assuming that the only reason Ye Shiwen performed spectacularly in her swimming events was due to doping. It’s not surprising that the public is upset. It’s not like China hasn’t doped in the past. It’s not like the world isn’t horrified with the training practices of the communist regime. Frankly, the public is always a bit wary, and skittish when it comes to China.
The country is huge. They are extremely closed off, and private when it comes to the rest of the world, and there are a lot of people living in China that the world isn’t accustomed to. I’m not saying the fear is unfounded. I’m just saying, sometimes it’s just fear.
What if she didn’t dope? What if all this persecution is mean-spirited? What if she really did suffer, endure the horrendous torture of a communist-government-forced-life, and she did win? What if her parents were forced to give her up as a child? What if seeing her win, is just a piece of salve for all the heartbreak they’ve suffered all these years?
The true tragedy, is that our world only shines a spotlight on communist China’s inhumane treatement of their own people, when it shatters another contestant’s shot at a gold medal. The world won’t get involved to change anything. The world is disinterested, and sadly, self-interested.
It reminds me of this passage in a favorite book of mine. It’s a statement from Jung Chang, the author of Wild Swans, found on page 14:
It was at York that one night the thought of writing a book about my past life came to me. I was invited to talk by a professor who had just been in China. He showed some slides of a school he had visited, where the pupils were having lessons on an obviously freezing winter day, in classrooms with no heating but roundly broken windows. “Are they not cold?” the kindly professor had asked. “No, they are not,” the school had answered.
After the slide show there was a reception, and one woman, perhaps struggling to find something to say to me, began: “You must feel very hot here.” This innocent remark hurt me so badly that I left the room abruptly and had my first cry since I came to Britain. It was not so much a feeling of being insulted, but an overwhelming pain for the people of my native land. We were not treated by our own government as proper human beings, and consequently some outsiders did not regard us as the same kind of humans as themselves. I thought of the old observation that Chinese lives were cheap, and one Englishman’s amazement that his Chinese servant should find a toothache unbearable. I was infuriated once again by the many admiring comments of Westerners who had visited Mao’s China that the Chinese were extraordinary people who seemed to enjoy being criticized, denounced, “reformed” in labor camps — all things that would seem sheer misery to Westerners.
I count myself grateful, and blessed to have been born, live and raise my children in America. My ancestors made sacrifices to immigrate to this country of freedom, choice, and opportunity to live a life guided by our own conscience. Today, I feel pain, and sorrow for my brothers and sisters who live in China. For the children living under the cruel rule of communism. When I see stories like those of Ye Shiwen, and watch as the public tears them apart, my heart breaks, and I hope that despite our incomprehension of what her life must’ve been, and still is, that we can rummage up a bit of empathy, and compassion, for those who don’t have the luxury of choice that we so easily bandy about.