Daily Archives: July 22, 2021

Tokyo’s Joyless Olympics

Sparse crowd at a 1st League Group F between China and Brazil at Miyagi Stadium in Rifu, Miyagi Prefecture on July 21, 2021. Photo: Daisuek Urakami / Yomiuri / The Yomiuri Shimbun via AFP

Thousands of years ago, the Chinese philosopher and mystic Lao Tzu wrote: “Conduct your victory like a funeral.” Perhaps, he was offering sage advice for behavior during warfare, as to avoid provoking enmity, or perhaps he had a premonition of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has said again and again: “Holding the Tokyo 2020 Olympics will show the world that we have been victorious over Covid-19.” In reality, Japan is snatching defeat from the jaws of victory in holding an Olympics roughly only one in three Japanese supports. 

Tokyo is knee-deep in its fourth state of emergency and fifth wave of Covid-19 infections, averaging 1,180 new cases a day for the past week. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics are thus turning out to be a somber affair. Where’s the party? We went looking for it, but mostly all we found were miserable people. 

Contrary to International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach’s earlier promise that there was “zero” risk of athletes in the Olympic Village passing on the virus to fellow residents or Japanese citizens, on July 19 two athletes in the complex tested positive for Covid-19.

The village houses 11,000 Olympic athletes and thousands of support staff. As of July 21, more than 79 Olympic participants had been infected. Meanwhile, NBC News is now posting lists of infected athletes by country – some, of course, who tested positive before leaving for Japan.

Read more at “Tokyo’s joyless and unwanted viral Olympics”

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The Great Sage Dynasty

Once upon a time there was in China a female emperor, Wu Zetian (624–705), the only woman regarded as a legitimate emperor in the history of the country. And once upon a time, but closer to our times, there was another woman who claimed to be the reincarnation of Wu Zetian and founded in 1986 near Anqiu, a county-level city under the jurisdiction of Weifang in the south of Shandong province, a religious movement called the Great Sage Dynasty (大圣王朝). Her name was Chao Zengkun (晁正坤). Her movement was declared a xie jiao (heterodox teaching) by the Chinese Communist Party. Chao was arrested, tried by Weifang Intermediate People’s Court, sentenced to death, and executed in 1990.

Interestingly, while proclaiming that the “Great Sage Dynasty” has been consigned to “the dustbin of history” thanks to the swift reaction by the authorities, in 2021, the 35th anniversary of the foundation of the movement, several Party-controlled Chinese media have published articles on it, as they did in 2020 on the 30th anniversary of Chao’s execution. This in turn generated discussions on Weibo, and several rare photographs of the event emerged.

Read more at “35 Years Ago: The Tragedy of the Great Sage Dynasty”

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