For the record: I still don’t really care whether China cheated in the “women’s” gymnastic events by falsifying their ages. But I do find it fascinating that the Chinese (and the IOC) see the Chinese government’s say-so as conclusive.
There seems to be a basic disconnect here between the Chinese authoritarian mentality and ours. We don’t trust our own government, much less the government of China. The disconnect seems to leave them unable to form actual arguments, leaving them to fall back to statements like:
“Surely it’s not possible that these documents are still not sufficient proof of her birthdate?” [Chinese coach Lu Shanzan] asked. “The passports were issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The identity card was issued by China’s Ministry of Public Security. . .”
“The Chinese government and the Chinese athletes must be respected,” he added.
The Chinese government would have us believe that obedience to authority is a fundamental aspect of Chinese culture, and not just the training of its totalitarian regime. Is it true? I don’t think so; just look at Taiwan, and at Chinese expatriates throughout the world. But I suppose China would argue that those others have abandoned Chinese culture.