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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

CHINA – WORK IN PROGRESS #456

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Readers of this Column will be aware that its general approach to China is positive. It seeks to correct the numerous distortions that the anti-China lobby is always promoting – whether it originates in the US, the EEU, Australia or Japan.
China is Work-In-Progress moving from being, in 1949, the ‘Sick Man of Asia’ to today where the country has moved 1 billion of its people out of poverty; where it has promoted growth and prosperity that will lead China, within five years to having the largest economy in the world and where, in 2021, 139 million of its population travelled abroad to countries all over the world. China has much to celebrate
But China is not all plain sailing. It is a society moving from feudal and capitalist forms of government to one based on the Marxist ideas of Marx, and Lenin from Europe and Mao Tsetung, Deng Hsiaoping and Xi Jinping from China And, as it acquires the status of a moderately prosperous society, it is inevitable that China will carry for some years ahead – albeit in diminishing volume – the unwelcome marks of the old society. And this is not hidden from view – a regular review of writings on China do highlight the negative features that China seeks to overcome as it replaces the selfishness of the old society with the selflessness of the new society. Much has been written about corruption in the banking sector but the sport of Snooker makes the same point.
On 13 June CNN reported that two professional Chinese snooker players have been banned for life and eight others suspended after being found guilty of match-fixing and other charges, the sport’s governing body has announced. Liang Wenbo and Li Hang were handed lifetime bans for their breaches in conduct regulations, with the remaining eight players pleading guilty and given lengthy suspensions for their involvement, said the World Professional Billiards and Snooker Association (WPBSA). All 10 players have had until June 20 to appeal the decisions. At the time of writing it is not known if the players have exercised their right of appeal.

WPBSA’s chairman Jason Ferguson said – in a statement announcing the punishments, which also included fines for all ten players ranging from $9,300 to $53,000 – “It has been heart-breaking to see some young talented players fall foul of the WPBSA Conduct Regulations through pressure exerted by two senior players. This behaviour has been recognized as wholly unacceptable by the imposition of two lifetime bans from participating in recognized snooker in any way.” In a statement, the Chinese Billiards and Snooker Association acknowledged the “manipulation of match results” by the 10 players involved and reiterated its “zero-tolerance” approach to “unsportsmanlike behaviour such as gambling and match-fixing.”

Friends of China are not naïve. They know there is an ongoing battle being fought within the government to root out corruption, favouritism, bribery and straightforward dishonesty. The fight is led by President Xi Jinping himself and will not be relaxed. This is not an example of factional strife but a root and branch struggle to keep China clean, ethical and moral as it continues to grow.

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