Wednesday’s Asian Cup draw paired China with Uzbekistan, Saudi Arabia and North Korea. Given those countries’ reputations, expect global headlines about a literal Group of Death:
- China – estimated to execute far more people than the rest of the world combined
- Saudi Arabia – no. 4 in the global list with 79 executions in 2013
- Uzbekistan – has what the IHF called a “wide-scale violation of virtually all basic human rights”, with the current government blamed for massacring hundreds in 2005. Continue reading China’s Group Of Death
Xi Jinping likes his soccer. So much so, in fact, that the game put him out of action for two weeks last year while he was playing with his staff, sparking rumors of a mysterious disappearance, according to the South China Morning Post. He also likes to talk about the beautiful game: way before his “Chinese Dream” became de rigeur, he had a soccer dream – that China would first qualify for, then host, and finally win, the World Cup.
A round-up of what’s been happening this week (Beckham stuff at the end!):
The NBA announced eight international preseason games for next season. For Asian fans that means Pacers vs Rockets, Manila, Oct 10; Pacers vs Rockets, Taipei, Oct 13; Lakers vs Warriors, Beijing, Oct 15; and Lakers vs Warrior, Shanghai, Oct 18.
China’s Zhang Jilong seeking permanent AFC role
May 2 could be a significant day in the Chinese football calendar. The Asian Football Confederation, or AFC, will elect a full-time president, and current interim boss, China’s Zhang Jilong, is among the favorites. Zhang has been head of the AFC since Mohamed Bin Hamann was suspended by FIFA in May 2011.