Chinese State Media Falsify Beijing's Olympic Medal Count

Propagandists include Taiwan's and Hong Kong's wins in Beijing's tally

Members of China's delegation parade during the opening ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at the Olympic Stadium, in Tokyo, on July 23, 2021. / Getty Images
August 9, 2021

Chinese state media are claiming that Olympic medals won by Taiwan and Hong Kong belong to China in an attempt to boost Beijing's final medal count over the United States.

China Central Television, a Chinese state-controlled media outlet, posted a picture on Instagram Monday of a final medal count in which China is ahead of the United States. Although China only tallied 38 gold medals—one fewer than the United States—the graphic includes Olympic medals won by Taiwan and Hong Kong, which competed independently at the Tokyo Olympics, as part of China's final count. The false tally, which is an apparent attempt to boost Beijing's gold medal count above the United States, also circulated on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform.

The falsification of Beijing's Olympic results comes after Chinese propagandists attempted to downplay the United States' achievements in the Tokyo Olympics, which concluded Sunday. Chen Weihua, China Daily's European Union correspondent, tweeted out a photo last week of a tally showing the United States ahead in the overall medal count—but behind China in gold medals—and said "U.S. media always finds a way to put [the United States] on top."

The International Olympic Committee requires Taiwan, an independent country that the Chinese Communist Party claims is part of China, to compete in the Olympics as "Chinese Taipei." Announcers also referred to the country as "Chinese Taipei" throughout the Olympics to appease Beijing.