A Side Competition in Beijing: Island vs. Mainland

The New York Times reports on a new competition between mainland China and Taiwan – over a ping-pong table:

Outside, the tropical heat of southern Taiwan seems to wither even the palm trees, while inside, the players break into a sweat at the mere thought of this: trading serves with the team from mainland China in the Olympic Games next month.

“No matter how good China is, we hope to get a medal from the Olympics,” a player named Chang Yen-shu said after watching his teammates practice one morning. “They’re hosting the competition and they know everything well. They’re the best players in the world. Until now, no one has been able to beat them.”

Call it Ping-Pong diplomacy across the Taiwan Strait: mainland China lobs balls instead of missiles at the islanders, and the Taiwanese get to fight back.

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