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China Uses Altered Olympic Medal Table to Show Them in First Place

Medios estatales chinos alteran medallero olímpico para quedar «primeros» en Tokio 2020

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Throughout history, authoritarian regimes around the world have used sports as a method of political propaganda. In these Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games there were emblematic cases, for example, the uncomfortable calls of the Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro to the Venezuelan athletes who won Olympic medals. Another similar event was that some Cuban athletes dedicated their triumphs to the late tyrant Fidel Castro.

In the United States, some Western media counted medals erroneously at times making the United States look first (they relied on the overall count and not on the gold medals won). Now, several days after the games were over, the Chinese state-linked media published an Olympic medal tally to show China at the top over the United States, which officially won more gold medals than the rest of the delegations.

The Chinese state media’s move is simple: they eliminated the medals won by Taiwan and Hong Kong and unfairly attributed them to China.

The Olympic Committee is very clear. Taiwan and Hong Kong have independent delegations from China. In the Olympic Games, Taiwan is referred to as Chinese Taipei.

chinese media
China’s Xiaojun Lyuu celebrates on the podium after winning the gold medal and breaking the Olympic record in the men’s 81 kg weightlifting event during the 2020 Olympic Games. (Image: EFE)

“A week after the end of the Olympics, images posted on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform, and China Central Television have circulated which show an altered medal count – with China also claiming medals won by Hong Kong and Taiwa,” the Daily Mail reported.

According to Taiwan News, by the closing ceremony of the games, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV “no longer had a leg to stand on because the U.S. had not only reached the top of the gold medal tally, with 39 golds to China’s 38, but also beat its communist counterpart by every other measure, including 41 silvers to 32, 33 bronzes to 18, and 113 total medals to 88.”

The state broadcaster took advantage of the fake map circulated on networks to show China leading in the medal standings.

The U.S. trailed China for most of the games, but on the final day managed to win three gold medals in women’s basketball, women’s volleyball and track cycling, beating China by one medal.

Chinese state media and Communist Party representatives criticized some American media for allegedly showing an “incomplete” map of China with Taiwan missing and also for “altering the medal tally” by putting the USA at the top of the games based on overall medals.

Finally these officials and media were exposed, as China, in order to get away with it, decided to steal medals from other delegations just to show themselves above the USA.

Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón is a journalist at El American specializing in the areas of American politics and media analysis // Emmanuel Alejandro Rondón es periodista de El American especializado en las áreas de política americana y análisis de medios de comunicación.

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