Nationalist China at the Berlin Olympics (1936)

Overseas Chinese in Berlin welcome the Chinese delegation to the 1936 Olympic Games

(Research and Translation by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

General Chiang Kai-Shek was a ‘Nationalist’ in the rightwing sense of the term. At his orders, he had all the Communist supporters within the Kuomintang (KMT) rounded-up and executed en masse. Known as the ‘April 12th Incident’, around 5000 Communist members of the KMT were killed – with many ‘beheaded’ in a football stadium in Shanghai in 1927. This brutal act of fascist aggression began the so-called ‘Chinese Civil War’. Chiang Kai-Shek was not acting alone, however, but was doing the bidding of the imperialist West. The police forces in the ‘Western Concessions’ (areas of Shanghai ‘stolen’ by the Western powers), actively participated in this ‘purge’ by rounding-up all known or suspected Communists and handing them over to the Nationalists for execution. The murder of Chinese workers began with Chiang Kai-Shek ‘banning’ all Unions, and expelling all Soviet advisers out of the country. A year later, Chiang Kai-Shek would initiate his notorious ‘Northern Expedition’ which would kill thousands in North China, and see the destruction of the famous Shaolin Temple in Henan (all in the name of a pro-Western ‘anti-Communist’ purge). This mass murderer has been seen as the ‘preferred’ leader of China by the US, which has also historically privileged the small rightwing colony Chiang Kai-Shek established on the island of Taiwan.

Chinese martial arts team at 1936 Berlin Olympic Games

Imperial Japan was an ally of Nazi Germany and fascist Italy. As a consequence, and despite being an ‘Asian’ country, the Japanese government had adopted and modified certain Eurocentric racist attitudes, which were then projected upon the people of China. Japan had been militarily agitating in north-east China since 1931, but this became all-out war and invasion in 1937. Despite Nationalist China’s rightwing agenda, the Imperial Japanese viewed the Chinese people as racially inferior and suitable for eradication and colonisation. Nazi Germany held the Berlin Olympics in 1936 as a show-piece for what they thought the fascist organisation of society could achieve. However, Nazi Germany was also funding and materially supporting fascist movements around the world – including the Imperialist Japanese invasion of China, General Franco’s annexation of Spain, and fascist Italy’s invasion of Africa, etc. Nazi Germany was also supporting fascist movements in the UK and USA, as well as elsewhere in Europe. As a consequence, and as an act of ‘Solidarity’ with all the oppressed people of the world, the Soviet Union boycotted the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games, justified on the grounds that it would not support in any way, a fascist regime which had openly expressed an intention to militarily destroy the USSR, and exterminate any and all racially impure opposition.000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000

Master Zhang Huai Xian (郑怀贤) [1897-1982]

Of course, none of these concerns mattered to Chiang Kai-Shek who wanted to be accepted by the West. He decided to co-operate with the forces of international fascism, and ordered that a Nationalist China Olympic Team be established to participate in the 11th ‘Berlin’ Olympic Games. Including observers and assistants, 130 people were assembled to travel to Nazi Germany, which included a core team of 69 athletes. For the first time in its history, Chinese ‘Olympic’ athletes participated in football, weightlifting, basketball, running and tennis, etc, and a special team of martial arts experts (including Zhang Huai Xian) gave martial ars displays (some being witnessed by Adolf Hitler himself). A Finnish boxer and British boxer took exception to this Chinese martial presence and issued ‘challenges’ – which were accepted. Finland, of course, had a rightwing government sympathetic to Nazi Germany, and in 1936 there was middle class support for Adolf Hitler even in the UK (despite substantial working class opposition). It is speculated that Eurocentric racism motivated these challenges – probably orchestrated by the Nazi German regime in an attempt to prove Europeans ‘superior’ to Chinese people. The Finnish boxer approached the Chinese Team first – stating that Western Boxing was ‘superior’ to the nonsense he saw the Chinese martial artists practising. It seems that the Nazi Germans expected their Finnish ally to easily win and so enhance the reputation of Europeans living within fascist regimes. The Finnish boxer took particular exception to Chinese martial arts Master Kou Yun Xing (寇运兴), and publicly issued a challenge. The Finnish Team stated that the Chinese Team should have posters printed and distributed that admitted their racial and cultural inferiority. Of course, Master Kou Yun Xing accepted the challenge on behalf of the honour of China and a referee was chosen to administer the fight (in public). Master Kou Yun Xing applied ‘internal’ (内 – Nei) footwork that baffled his flat-footed and one-dimensional opponent. By quickly stepping ‘inside’ his opponent’s stance, the Finnish boxer was immediately imbalanced and unable to move properly, or throw any powerful counter-techniques. Then, with a flurry of lightning fast punches, the Finnish boxer was knocked to the floor by Master Kou Yun Xing, and was unable to continue. The referee then declared ‘China’ the winner. Master Kou Yun Xing ‘moved first’ and the Finnish boxer was forced to move second. As a consequence, Master Kou Yun Xing took the initiative away, and the Finnish boxer was unable to regain it. When the Finnish boxer tried to ‘step’ – Master Kou Yun Xing ‘stepped first’. When the Finnish boxer tried to ‘punch’ – Master Kou Yun Xing ‘punched first’. A combination of ‘hard’ and ‘piercing’ punches landed in quick succession disrupted the nervous-system of the Finnish boxer, and he was unable to continue. Much happened in this short fight that only the advanced practitioners of martial arts could see or understand.

However, it was soon announced that the Finnish boxer had said that he had been beaten because the Chinese fighter had not followed the rules of boxing – but he immediately declined a re-match (with the result of the Chinese victory being annulled by the Nazi German Authorities). Two days later, the British boxer approached the Chinese Team and said he wanted to avenge his fellow European (who had just been beaten). The British boxer was fierce-looking and built like a ‘strongman’. He was unafraid, highly aggressive and much more skilled than his Finnish counter-part. Master Kou Yun Xing had to fight a number of rounds using fast and elusive foot-work and applying fast counters to the very strong punches thrown by the British boxer. In the 20th round, Master Kou Yun Xing adopted the tactic of feigning an ‘opening’ in his own defence. This encouraged the British boxer (who was breathing heavily, but who remained strong and dangerous), to throw a right-hook with abandonment (thinking that he was about to ‘win’). Master Kou Yun Xing relaxed and instantly counter-struck the mastoid process pressure-points (just below both ears) with extended finger-tips (仙人指路 – Xian Ren Zhi Lu). Suddenly, the British fighter cried out ‘ouch’ (哎哟 – Ai Yo) and dropped semi-conscious to the floor (like a wall falling-down), obviously in great pain. Western doctors came over but after examining his body they could not find any wounds, and could not understand why the British boxer could not move. The British boxer was revived by Master Kou Yun Xing (who gently touched his temples) and sat-up, but when he tried to stand, his mind was still not functioning clearly and he fell-off the stage (too much laughter). The Chinese people in attendance applauded and cheered! Following these two demonstrations of Chinese martial prowess, the challenges from fascist individuals ceased.

Chinese Language Sources:

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s