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Term Paper - Laurie Stahle EASC 150g Term Paper The sick...

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Laurie Stahle EASC 150g April 22, 2008 Term Paper The sick man of East Asia’s path to the Olympics The People’s Republic of China has come a long way from the Dynastic rule of the Ming’s and the Qing’s. It is only expected that the culture and the people have changed since that time as well. The first thing that comes to our mind when put sports and China together is martial arts – with Bruce Lee and Jet Li being major icons worldwide as harbingers for it. However, the concept of sport in China has a profound depth to it. Sport and physical education have played an important part in China – enforcing who the Chinese people were and what they are now. From a nation formerly consisting of “the sickmen of East Asia” to a nation prestigious enough to hold the 2008 Summer Olympics, it is truly an amazing transition. Politics and western influence have played important roles in changing the culture of China which in turn influences the sport. Sport has been often a time used as a political tool that manipulates the way the Chinese Communist Party deals with things. For us to analyze the history of sports we have to start from the beginning. Before the term ‘sport’ was coined, the earliest civilization in the world had already started activities that resemble modern day sport. “As in many cultures, such daily activities as fishing, hunting, and swimming that were required for survival and subsistence grew into leisure pursuits for the nobility and privileged classes” 1 . Apart from these different ball games also originated from China and primitive forms of soccer are accredited to China. Even stronger was the influence of military arts as martial art derivatives of wrestling, 1 James Riordan, Sport under Communism (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 1978) 105.
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boxing and other such activities. An ancient empire which was constantly on the brink of war and unrest needed such sorts of activities for the people. These sports were sent to increase longevity and improve health, something citizens valued at that time. Hence, China began with an opulent legacy of sports and later they refined this to what it is now. Confucianism saw the advent of activities that were much less physical and more relaxation and breathing oriented. This would later be refuted, as the people would get influenced by Westerners and other political ideologies. After the opium wars and the defeat by the Japanese in the 19 th century and early 20 th century, China lost a lot of power over its ports and had to open up to the rest of the world, especially the British. This was when the term ‘sick man of East Asia’ was coined, conveying the state Chinese moral was in. With this defeat the British had special privileges in territorial concessions all over China and here they led their normal British lives. In the book Life and Sport in China , Ready writes about his experience in the late 19 th
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This note was uploaded on 05/05/2008 for the course EASC 150g taught by Professor Rosen during the Spring '07 term at USC.

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Term Paper - Laurie Stahle EASC 150g Term Paper The sick...

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