New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has long been a fan of sports diplomacy, having taken international rugby and cricket players with him on previous trips around the Asia-Pacific region. On his current trip to China, rugby was once again at the fore.
The far northeastern province of Heilongjiang came into China’s National Games with 43 medals already in the bank. Yes, you read that right. 17 gold medals were “won” before the official start of the Games, and only one of those was due to an event being scheduled ahead of the opening ceremony. That’s because some bright spark had the idea of converting medals from previous events into medals that actually count at the National Games:
With all the negative press that Chinese telecoms firm Huawei has been receiving in recent days – that it “spies for the Chinese government“, or that the Brits are investigating Huawei’s involvement in a cyber security base in the UK – you would think it might take more than a little gentle sports PR to turn things around.