I think this excellent bit of blogging settles what are now looking like shoddy accusations against Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen over her recent victory. There have certainly been doping scandals in Chinese athletics in the past, as there have been in UK, US, Australian and European athletics. What's missing is the general assumption that an exceptional victory must be down to drugs.
While other athletes are individuated by audiences and commentators, you get a general sense that Team China is regarded as a kind of multi-sport borg: an agglomeration of pure power with arms to throw things and legs to run with. I noticed during the diving yesterday that 'The Chinese' was a trending term on twitter: Messrs Daley and Waterfield weren't beaten by Cao Yuan and Zhang Yuanquan; they were overcome by an entity known as 'the Chinese' - not the indivuduals, not the country or its citizens but the entire ethnic group. We know Ye Shiwen's name mainly because she broke a world record and had allegations made against her. Maybe the thinking here was that a bit of the tentacle broke off and that it should be subjected to scientific analysis.
Perhaps this is partly down to the fact that China stresses its athletes representative capacity more than other nations; that it takes them away from their parents at a young age and sequestors them in camps. Nonetheless, individual athletes are as famous in China as they are here. Indeed, some, like the tennis player Li Na, are famous for bucking the system. Anyway, that's no reason for us to be doubling down on the yellow hordes meme. Sometimes I think people are vaguely hoping that the entire Chinese team will suddenly keel over and die from the common cold, like the aliens in war of the worlds.