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China Orders Criticism of Soccer Team to Stop

Posted August. 30, 2008 03:26,   


“No more attacks on soccer!”

The Chinese government is seeking to protect the reputation of its men`s soccer team, the International Herald Tribune said yesterday.

The newspaper quoted Chinese journalists as saying the Central Propaganda Department has ordered major news media to stop attacking the Chinese team for its poor Olympic performance.

China held New Zealand in its first group game, 1-1, but then lost to Belgium, 2-0, and to Brazil 3-0.

Soccer is among China`s most popular sports along with basketball and table tennis. Because of its popularity and high expectations, the dismal performance of the soccer team has drawn harsh criticism from Chinese soccer fans.

Beijing`s order to stop the criticism has not calmed angry netizens. China’s largest Web portal Sohu.com has been bombarded with scathing posts against members of the national team. One said, “They gave our country a bad name on home ground.”

The Chinese government’s media intervention didn`t stop here. When track star Liu Xiang dropped out of the men’s 110-meter hurdle due to a leg injury, the government ordered the media to hush about Liu’s condition and not to run negative articles about him.

Government censorship has covered Chinese news media with news stories praising the Beijing Olympics as a success.