China a few decades late for the Cold War ?

Well recently China sent the first chinese into space and now they are leading in the Gold Medal count in the Athens Olympics.

I had this Deja Vu sensation… like when a few decades ago several countries were competing in a space race and using the olympics as a showcase of their national prowess.

This all smells cold war-like too me... is China arriving a "bit" late for the Cold War ? Is it the same mentality ? Or is my imagination too fertile ?   :)   

(Does China in fact invest heavily in high level sports in order to show off ?)

There was such a thing as national pride *before * the Cold War, too, Rashak. Technology development and the imperatives for it existed too (and technologically, the Shenzhou program is pretty cautious - they’re largely copying the Soviet program of 40 years ago). As for the Olympic medal count, the surprising thing would be that the largest nation on earth had such a *low * one for so long, and that it’s still low on a per capita basis.

Yeah, you’re reading too much into a situation that could more readily be described as the emergence and development of a stable, prosperous, and overwhelmingly populous nation.

I think people are itching for a cold war but won’t get one. I’ve heard some outrageous claims; for example when china launched a man into space last year, the Straight Times in Singapore said, “China has caught up to the United States”. Within a year, an American entrepreneur became the first private astronaut in space. What are the chances of the Private sector in china coming up with something like that? Clearly, China is decades behind in many respects.

However, even when China does “catch up”, the differences between China and the US are nowhere near as stark as the USSR and the US. China has embraced western-style capitalism, there’s a new Taco Bell and KFC popping up in china every day. I think China will be the greatest thing to ever happen to the US, they buoy the american-led international system rather than oppose it.

I do not think that’s the whole story, though.
Watching the Olympic diving last night, commentators mentioned several times that the Chinese were so dominant because they trained 365 day a year, 6 hours a day. The country’s space mission was, it is widely agreed, mostly undertaken for prestige reasons.
Both these suggest that an inferiority complex, or at least a need to prove themselves, exists, perhaps as it did for the Iron Curtain countries in days gone by.

China still has State sponsored atheltic/olympic programs. Chinese are watching the Olympics religiously (including my wife who was up until 4:30 am watching for China to win the Gold in diving).

Maybe in a few years China will get jaded with the Olympics, but right now it’s like a kid at Christmas

Strictly speaking in economic terms sending a man to space and state sponsoring athletes aren’t beneficial.

There is one aspect of China that seems like "prosperity first or at any cost"... and a lingering communist about "strong state and national pride". How these work out is a question for the future... strong posturing makes for bad business... helping business might weaken strategic might.

 As for chinese athletes from what I've read in the past they are picked out very early according to physical biotypes that are best for their sports and trained heavily. That sounds cold warish to me. Still the results are remarkable for a non-developed country.

Ever seen those ten year old girls who have been working on their gymnastics 40 hours a week for the last six years?

We’ve got it here, too…


Where, exactly, is “here”?

I always assumed that this was essentially true for all athletes of international/olympic level. Not that I know much about this topic. Just an assumption.

Yes, but that was also the reason for the original russian and american space programms. In the case of China, I’m not convinced it’s a bad move. It shows to the world at large that China has become a powerful and modern nation, even if the specialists aren’t impressed by the technology used. It seems to me to be a good PR trick, for both internal and foreign consumption.

One of the things we shouldn’t forget in regards to the Chinese manned flight into space is that China is one of the leaders in commercial satellite launches. Sending a man in space is a great way to advertiseto potential custommers how serious and reliable their space programme is.