The biggest sporting event the West has never heard of

Oct 4, 2023
Hangzhou 19th Asian Games.

The last week in September saw the much delayed (due to Covid) opening of the 19th Asian Games. This event which is held on a four-year cycle involves participants from 45 nations, and perhaps unsurprisingly given the enormous populations in this part of the world sees a larger number of athletes taking part than even the Olympics.

Given that this year’s host is the city of Hangzhou, a city renowned for both its history and its high-tech aspirations, it was probably not at all surprising that the opening ceremony was one of these “only in China” events, a fitting salute to the 12,000+ athletes taking part.

Main Stadium, Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center. Image: iStock

Yet, here is the thing, there is an almost total absence of any coverage of this massive event by the western media, it simply isn’t happening. It’s as if the various news organisations in the West got together and said ‘we can’t possibly give any oxygen to a noteworthy event in China’.

A quick tally of some of the more notable western media platforms reveals the following coverage:

BBC                                           3 articles

Sydney Morning Herald        1 article

Melbourne Age                       1 article (actually the same one as the SMH)

New York Times                     0 articles

The Guardian                          3 articles

Washington Post                    0 articles

While this is not a comprehensive list of the western media, and indeed SBS in Australia seems to be providing considerable coverage of many of the actual sporting events, this is still a pretty dismal showing.

And none of these six publications gave any coverage to the spectacular opening ceremony and the world-class facilities constructed for these games.

One can only ask oneself the thinking behind this total white wash?

Perhaps the games are not significant enough? Well, the 45 countries participating in these games account for 23% of the world’s countries and around 55% of the world’s population, so that’s hardly a good reason.

Perhaps there are not enough competitors? Well, with over 12,000 athletes taking part, 20% more than the roughly 10,000 registered for the Paris Olympics, this is pretty big stuff, no good reason there.

Perhaps (more likely) is that any kind of coverage from the modern city of Hangzhou with its ultra modern high tech infrastructure would cut right across the “China is a failing gulag” narrative pumped out by these organisations.

So is this a coordinated stitch up, perhaps a memo from Washington or London, or the ubiquitous “5 Eyes” organisation whose name pops up almost daily?

Or, more likely, is it evidence of a more deep seated insidious malaise that has infected the entire western media, that those in the western media are, willingly or unwillingly now acting as propagandists for “The West”, and that it does not require any kind of central guidance for these supposedly champions of the truth? Caitlin Johnston’s piece in P&I 6 June makes this point and I would suggest that the deafening silence from the western media on this month’s Asia Games is a direct example of the cancer that is spreading across what were previously respected institutions. No journalist would dare put out material that showed China to be anything but the evil empire as characterised by the folks in Washington and London.

Fortunately, there is actually a considerable coverage on the various alternative media sources that these days we have to rely on, Nury Vittachi has been particularly prolific, you can watch here.

The saddest angle on this whole sorry state of affairs is that the efforts of these 12,000 athletes deserve a great deal more recognition than that given by the western media who cannot stop themselves from politicising what should and could be a uniting sports event involving countries representing over half the world’s population. I wonder if these folks have any difficulty sleeping at night.

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