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People & Points
Print Edition> People & Points
UPDATED: March 5, 2010 NO. 10 MARCH 11, 2010

Maker of Champions

Li Yan (right) (MA DAN)

Li Yan

's name will go down in history as one the greatest short track speed skating coaches of all time. She led Chinese athletes to win all four gold medals in the women's events at the Vancouver Winter Olympic Games. No other country has ever achieved such a success in Winter Olympics history.

Li, 41, began to serve as head coach of the Chinese team in May 2006 after most star skaters of the team had retired. Before that, she coached the U.S. team and helped Apolo Anton Ohno win an Olympic title in the men's 500-meter event in Turin, Italy, in 2006.

Li brought new concepts to the Chinese team in training method, technique, game tactics and other areas. Though her athletes, including Olympic champion Wang Meng, complained a lot about the changes, Li gradually convinced them through the effects of her work.

Since the 2008-09 season, China's women skaters have established an edge in the sport. Wang's performance at the Vancouver games in clinching three gold medals, including one in the 3,000-meter relay event that had been monopolized by the South Korean team for 18 years, also showed Li's achievements.

Before starting her coaching career, Li was one of the most prominent skaters of her time. She won a gold and two silver medals at the Calgary Winter Olympics in 1988 when speed skating was a demonstration sport. Four years later, she became China's first Winter Olympics medallist in Albertville, France, taking silver in the 500-meter event. Li retired in 1995.

New Ambassadors

Liu Xiaoming (AN ZHIPING)

Cheng Yonghua (LU BINGHUI)


China's new top diplomats in Britain, Liu Xiaoming, and Japan, Cheng Yonghua, have assumed office, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They succeeded Fu Ying and Cui Tiankai who were appointed vice foreign ministers in January.

Liu, 54, was former Chinese ambassador to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea in 2006-09. He joined the Chinese foreign service in 1974 and earned a Master's degree in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, the United States, in 1983. He also served as ambassador to Egypt in 2001-03 and minister (deputy chief of mission) at the Chinese Embassy in the United States in 1998-2001.

Cheng, 55, was relocated from the ambassadorial post in the Republic of Korea that he had held since 2008. He studied at Soka University in Tokyo between 1975 and 1977, and had worked at the Chinese embassy in Japan for 16 years, including an assignment as deputy chief of mission from 2003 to 2006. He had also served as ambassador to Malaysia in 2006-08.

Film Maker Honored


Wang Xiaoshuai became the third Chinese movie director to receive the French Order of Arts and Letters on February 24.

The order is a top honor given by the French Ministry of Culture to recognize outstanding contributions to the fields of arts and literature.

Wang, 44, is a prominent member of China's sixth-generation moviemakers who entered filmdom at the turn of the 1990s. His first work, The Days (1993), is the only Chinese-language movie to make the BBC-compiled list of the top 100 greatest-ever films.

Wang's international honors also include two Silver Bear awards at the Berlin Film Festival for Beijing Bicycle (2001) and In Love We Trust (2008) and a Prix du Jury award at the Cannes Film Festival for Shanghai Dreams (2005).

"It is the responsibility of the government to make the 'cake of social wealth' big, and it is the conscience of the government to properly divide the 'cake'."

Wen Jiabao, Chinese Premier, during an online chat with Internet users

"It's quite possible that a renminbi adjustment on a large scale would either lead to lower wages and faster productivity growth in China or higher wages and lower productivity growth in the West."

Stephen King, chief economist at the HSBC bank, criticizing efforts to blame China's currency policy for trade surplus

"The enthusiasm with which our politicians and pundits manufacture Chinese straw men points more to unease at home than to success inside the Great Wall."

Steven Mufson and John Pomfret, reporters of The Washington Post, in their article "There's a New Red Scare. But Is China Really So Scary?" in the U.S. newspaper

"We face a catastrophe of such unthinkable magnitude."

Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, after an 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit the country on February 27, killing hundreds and displacing as many as 2 million people

"The challenge, therefore, is not that there is no progress; the real challenge lies in the fact that progress is uneven across regions and within countries."

Sha Zukang, UN Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, on the uneven progress across the globe for gender equality and women's empowerment, particularly in economic and social policies

"We are doing our very best. Please understand. Please look at this thing in a more objective manner."

Salaman Bashir, Foreign Secretary of Pakistan, rejecting allegations that Pakistan is an "epicenter" for terrorism

"Israel is pushing the Palestinians to carry out more violent actions in order to justify using force against them."

Ali al-Khalili, a West Bank-based political analyst, on the Israeli Government's declaration to include two religious shrines in the West Bank in the list of Jewish heritage sites

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