The splendor of a great nation, yet ‘Chinese’ at the same time….Hangzhou AG Caiqian! [Kim Dong-young’s Hangzhou Letter
The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games bid farewell on Monday with the Closing Ceremony. It can be summarized in four words: ‘spectacular’. At the same time, the word ‘incomprehensible’ also comes to mind.
The Hangzhou 2022 Asian Games kicked off with the official opening ceremony on September 23, followed by 16 days of fierce competition for a total of 481 gold medals.
South Korea finished third overall with 42 gold, 59 silver, and 89 bronze medals. Japan came in second with 52 gold, 67 silver, and 69 bronze medals. However, South Korea won more medals overall (190) than Japan (188). This is a significant achievement.
China ranks first. No surprise there. The Asian Games is all about ‘overwhelming’. This time, they broke records. They took home 201 gold, 111 silver, and 71 bronze medals. That’s 41.8% of the total gold medals at the Games.
While India’s strong showing (28 gold, 38 silver, 41 bronze) has shed some of the stigma of the ‘trilateral’ Games, the dominance of China at the Games has led to another criticism: ‘China’s Games’.
It was organized by China. They won 199 gold medals at the last Games in Guangzhou in 2010. This time, they surpassed 200 gold medals for the first time ever.
It’s not just about the results. We also played with a lot of determination off the field. What stood out the most was the quantity. Over 40 trillion won ($40 billion) was poured into the city.
Skyscrapers lined the streets, illuminated by colorful lights at night. The venues, including the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, were built with the Games in mind and boasted top-notch facilities.
Transportation capacity was enormous. Dozens and hundreds of buses pounded the streets every day. They transported officials, volunteers, and media nonstop.
Every day, every game, we delivered souvenirs and cheering tools to the fans at the stadium. Spectators were able to enjoy the competition to the fullest. It was enough to dazzle media and spectators from overseas.
The IT technology was also state-of-the-art. Lockers were opened and closed with facial recognition, and Chinese companies were busy sponsoring and setting up writer’s booths to show off their cutting-edge technology.
As for the cars on the road, I saw half of them were electric. As is typical of China, which is doing its best to control air quality, there were plenty of electric cars. There were a few foreign cars, including Teslas, but the majority of EVs were Chinese-made.
Compared to the hardware, the software was a bit disappointing. Behind the glitz and glamor was a strong sense of control.
On September 23, the day of the opening ceremony, the Olympic Sports Center Stadium was completely cordoned off. A radius of several kilometers was barricaded. The same was true for the area around the Main Media Center (MMC), and the streets of downtown Hangzhou were blocked.
Chinese citizens were forced to move around. There were some protesters, but overall, the crowd was compliant.
The closing ceremony was no different. It took place at 8 p.m. local time, but barricades had been popping up all over the streets since morning. In some areas, people were forced to push their way in and remove the barricades. It wasn’t until after the closing ceremony that all the controls were lifted.
Shuttle bus operations and venue-specific traffic management also left something to be desired. In the case of the shuttle bus, the time was often changed abruptly.
If you don’t protest, the buses won’t come, and if you ask the officials on site, they’ll just say, “We have orders from above.”
Instead, it’s different when someone makes an appeal. The stronger the appeal, the faster the response. Buses would appear out of nowhere 메이저사이트.
The same is true for stadium transportation. While there are multiple entrances and exits to the stadium, there were many places where we were restricted to one area. Spectators were also inconvenienced by the long lines to get in.
It took 20-30 minutes to walk from one stadium to another because the entrances and exits were in opposite directions. Even the on-site manager said, “We don’t recommend walking. If you want to go back, take the shuttle.”
Overall, I would call it a success. There was no noise and no problems. It’s a testament to China’s national strength that they were able to organize a competition of this magnitude.
However, it wasn’t perfect. Compared to the past, China has changed a lot, and it’s for the better. Together with the United States, they are called the G2. It’s called a superpower. But there’s still something very Chinese about it, something strangely disorganized and closed. A country of surprises in every sense of the word. The Hangzhou Asian Games reminded us of that.