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在线翻译:
szdaily -> Opinion
Well-meant reforms should be executed well
    2017-July-4  08:53    Shenzhen Daily

Wu Guangqiang

jw368@163.com

IT’s known to all that well begun is half done. It may also be logically stated that poorly begun is half ruined.

It’s true of almost everything, including well-meant reforms.

A successful reform should involve such elements as the purpose of benefiting the interests of the nation and the people, a process characterized with openness, transparency and legitimacy, and most importantly, popular support.

On June 26, the 36th meeting of the Central Leading Group for Deepening Overall Reform, headed by President Xi Jinping, was held in Beijing, with the following principles reiterated: practices and results are the only criteria for the success of reforms; success should not only manifest in a certain area, but be beneficial in an all-around manner as well. The meeting stressed that effective measures should be taken to promote reform wherever it lags behind and correct it when reform is off its due course.

True reforms have never been easy. Wang Anshi, a Chinese economist, statesman, chancellor and poet of the Song Dynasty, launched massive political, economic and social reforms, but failed in the end. The Reform Movements led by Liang Qichao and other reformers in the Qing Dynasty also failed. Mikhail Gorbachev’s “glasnost and perestroika” was a fiasco that led to the disintegration of the Soviet Union.

Causes of failure vary from case to case, but the lack of one or all the above-mentioned elements must be the case.

A recent eye-catching event may be examined as a case study.

On June 20, when Xinhua News Agency reported that Liu Guoliang had been removed from his top coaching job to take up the position of vice president of the Chinese Table Tennis Association, millions felt dumbstruck.

The bombshell fell at the wrong time, in the wrong way and with a devastating consequence.

Liu enjoys tremendous popularity among the Chinese people, for he not only excelled as one of the most successful players in Chinese ping-pong history, with the honor of a former Grand Slam champion, but also shone as a resourceful and stringent coach. Under his leadership, Chinese national teams, both men’s and women’s, have dominated the world for nearly two decades, which greatly enhanced the people’s sense of pride.

Yet, all of a sudden, Liu was “promoted” to an honorary post, at extremely bad timing: right before the 2017 China Open was about to kick off in Chengdu, without any necessary briefing on the changes.

Given the background that Japanese teams are gearing up to overtake China as the new leader on the world stage of ping-pong, the abrupt change of the commander before a cut-throat battle has infuriated the public, which is understandable.

All factors seemed to conspire to impress the public that the unexpected move was aimed at undercutting morale, though I believe it was a link to the overall reform underway to restructure the Chinese sports sector.

Public worries soon proved well-grounded. On June 23, the world’s top three men’s ping-pong players — Ma Long, Fan Zhendong and Xu Xin — failed to show up for their matches. The fourth member of the men’s team, Zhang Jike, had been forced out of the competition one day earlier due to a hip injury.

The mystery was soon cleared up after the three players wrote identical posts on their Weibo accounts later that day, reading, “At this moment we are not in the mood to play anymore, because we miss you, Liu Guoliang.”

The move also sparked widespread criticism online. A lawyer has filed an administrative lawsuit against Gou Zhongwen, China’s sports chief, challenging the legitimacy of his decision. The lawyer pointed out that before the expiration of Liu’s contract as the head coach of China’s national table tennis team, the termination of the contract without proper cause is illegal.

The State General Administration of Sports did not respond to public concerns, instead, it issued a strongly worded statement to condemn the players’ match strike.

Under no circumstance should players representing the nation behave so selfishly and irresponsibly! After all, it is the nation that invests heavily to train them, not merely an individual coach.

But if a well-meant reform is carried out in such a bureaucratic and arbitrary way that few would support it, it can hardly succeed.

(The author is an English tutor and freelance writer.)

 

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Shenzhen Daily E-mail:szdaily@szszd.com.cn