- Olympics: Chinese athletes’ chances of winning medals
- EU sets standards – against China
- Interview with Adrian Emch on antitrust law
- More Covid cases in Olympics bubble
- BND: Beijing’s failed vaccine diplomacy
- Irish manager allowed to leave China after three years
- Economy with minimal growth
- Profile: Christian Hochfeld of Agora Energiewende
- So To Speak: Tiger, tiger and tiger
The Winter Olympics kick off this week. On Friday evening, the participating nations will march into the Bird’s Nest in Beijing’s north. However, just days before the opening ceremony, more and more new Covid cases are popping up, even in the highly sealed-off Olympic bubble. Officials expect another surge by the end of the week.
Meanwhile, we take a look at the medal hopes of the People’s Republic. China’s athletes have been winning medals in short track and ski freestyle for years. And the odds are once again in their favor in these disciplines, our author Christiane Kuehl analyzes. In cross-country skiing, on the ice track or on the ski ramp, on the other hand, things look less promising for China.
The EU Commission is hoping for success in a different way. With its new standardization strategy, it wants to give Europe an edge over China. The paper is to be presented this week. The direction of the proposals is already clear, writes Till Hoppe: Norms and standards are to be defined more European, more strategically and at the same time more quickly in the future – and also copy some aspects from Beijing in the process.
In today’s interview, Swiss lawyer Adrian Emch explains the trials and tribulations of Chinese antitrust law. Emch is one of the leading experts in China on European and Chinese regulatory law. He is certain: “Antitrust law is one of the most important instruments currently at the disposal of authorities.” The harsh regulatory wave against tech companies hardly surprised him.
Have a pleasant week!
With short track and freestyle to Winter Olympics medals
A few years ago, Chinese athletes suddenly appeared in Norway. Until then, they had trained in other disciplines ranging from trampoline, long-distance running, or kayaking. But now they were learning completely new things: ski jumping, cross-country skiing, or biathlon in the snow. A 2018 video showed giggling teens descending from a children’s ski jump for the first time in their lives, skis crossed and followed by a crash landing on green mats. There are cheers for the first jumper to stick the landing, ex-trampolinist Zhai Yujia.
In 2019, the original group shrank from 22 candidates to 10. “The selection process was maybe more brutal than they expected,” coach Kjetil Strandbraaten said at the time. One of the selection criteria: The group’s first test jumps in the snow. Zhai Yujia was allowed to remain. “I feel much more stable in all aspects and feel good jumping now,” she said afterward. She tells her mother in the video call, “Sitting on top was scarier, but once I jumped I was just fine.” Ex-sprinter Sun Jing was also allowed to stay on the team – even though she broke her arm in a fall in 2018 and had to take a longer break. That’s because the coaches were visibly impressed in the video by Sun’s determination. However, for now, their Olympic dreams have yet to be fulfilled. They are not among the two women and one man who are now competing for China in ski jumping.
China is not a Winter Olympics nation
China needs to replicate its hard efforts in ski jumping in other disciplines as well. The country lacks the expertise to build internationally competitive teams in many disciplines. To this end, China hired a plethora of veteran foreign coaches to train and work with athletes in China. And it has sent hundreds of young people overseas since 2017 to learn cross-country skiing, biathlon, or, indeed, ski jumping at elite facilities with world-class coaches. Most of them came from completely different sports and stood on skis for the first time at the beginning of the program. China has signed such agreements with 15 winter sports countries to train Chinese athletes at their national training centers, including Finland and Austria.