The Difference Between China and the United States
There’s a lot of space between the United State and China both geographically and culturally. Here’s one story that emphasizes the cultural differences between the Communist Chinese and the United States:
Chinese diver Wu Minxia’s celebrations at winning a third Olympic gold medal were cut short after her family revealed the details of a devastating secret they had kept for several years.
Wu’s parents decided to withhold news of both the death of her grandparents and of her mother’s long battle with breast cancer until after she won the 3-meter springboard in London so as to not interfere with her diving career.
“It was essential to tell this white lie,” said her father Wu Yuming.
In China, athletes are often taken away from their families at a young age and placed in specialist training schools where they practice for hours every day. Wu began training daily at a diving camp at the age of 6. By the time she was 16, she had left home to be installed in a government aquatic sports institute.
She has become one of her sport’s all-time greats, but her father says the success has come at a high price to her personal life.
“We accepted a long time ago that she doesn’t belong entirely to us,” Wu Yuming told the Shanghai Morning Post. “I don’t even dare to think about things like enjoying family happiness.”
No, Wu Minxia belongs to the government. And the father is OK with that.
In the United States, which will win more gold medals and total medals than China, we would be appalled at this kind of behavior. Not so much the “white lie” of stalling the news of a family member’s death (which to me, is still very disturbing), but ripping a child from her home to stuff her in a government facility to dive every day until she’s too old to be off any use. Then what will she do?
American divers and athletes may not have beat her out for the gold this time around, but at least they have family other than government. And that’s more valuable than any gold medal.
I just hope Wu Minxia at least enjoys diving.