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Mihir Vasavda at Asian Games: ‘Sick man of East Asia’? From Bruce Lee to Chinese athletes, Hangzhou 2023 to deliver political and sporting answers

Asian Games 2023: Hangzhou China preview Hangzhou 2022 – Opening Ceremony – Hangzhou Olympic Sports Center Stadium, Hangzhou, China – September 23, 2023 The China flag is being hoisted at the Opening Ceremony. (REUTERS)

In this ancient city where dynasties have ruled and bitten the dust, where modern-day empires have risen and continue to rise, it doesn’t take much for old wounds to resurface.

Unabashedly displayed here in abundance is Chinese ingenuity and resilience, with the lens firmly focused on the sports fields. And its roots can be traced to a century-old taunt.

“China was mocked as the sick man of East Asia,” says Fan Hong, the co-editor of the Routledge Handbook of Sport in China. “It is now a sporting superpower.” The next two weeks will be an unapologetic exhibition of just that. It’s a throwback to the action star Bruce Lee’s 1972 blockbuster Fist of Fury where he thrashes a group of Japanese Judo fighters and yells, ‘Chinese are not the sick man of East Asia”. These days, Chinese athletes do it without yelling or hitting. (READ MORE)

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