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joshuawbb

Chinese Bridge - bias and unfairness

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fanglu

judging and outcomes were highly unfair, occasionally bordering on ridiculous

Now you know how people who go to court in China feel

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WestTexas

It's common knowledge most of these academic contests in China are rigged.

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Hugh

Yep, our university (海洋大学) tried to get us to enter this, I refused in the end, partly due to fears it would be exactly like this. Really interesting to read your account of it (also gratify after my repeated refusals to join), thanks for sharing.

Minor note, I think you've got a 再 where there should be 在?

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Lu

Never took part myself, but I heard they like to make sure there are at least a few non-Asian-looking final contestants. So a Japanese/Korean/Chinese-Indonesian with pretty good Chinese might loose against a blonde American with passable Chinese. (The elimination of the black candidate doesn't fit in that explanation, but well, not like China isn't racist.)

I don't think these competitions are rigged to the point that they already know who will win, but there probably is a certain direction they want the competition to take, certain things they like to see (Chinese songs, Chinese traditional instruments, and apparently belly-dancing) and certain things they don't like to see (a girl club dancing), and the person who wins is whoever fits the profile best while speaking good Chinese. It's more like reality tv than like the Olympics, I suppose.

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anonymoose

I know someone who took part in a similar competition a few years ago (not sure which one it was) and came second place. The winner was a native-speaking Westerner (a westerner who had grown up in China). There are so many Westerners (not to mention foreigners from other parts of the world) who are growing up in China now, that fluent-speaking Westerners are no longer a rarity.

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hiten
-Lastly, and more on the you-knew-it-would-happen side of things, a Korean woman who made a very good introduction and sang a Chinese song absolutely beautifully slipped up fatally when asked what her impression of Taiwan was. She unfortunately made a distinction between "China" and "Taiwan" in front of the very mainland judges, following on by remarking that traffic and sanitation is better in Taiwan. I think we all saw it coming - she was rejected with two reds and a green I suppose for courtesy.

Yeah, poor girl. I was totally shocked when she answered it like that. Doesn't she know that some Chinese are so sensitive about Taiwan?

She would have qualified if she didn't mention anything about Taiwan :(

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WestTexas

Maybe the contests for foreigners are not rigged, but ask any honest Chinese person about the English contests for Chinese people. Whoever's daddy hands the judges the biggest hongbao will win.

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jiasen

I took part in this show, and went to Changsha for filming and all that. Look there is no doubt that, at each knockout stage of the competition, there is an unspoken quota based on nationality and skin colour. The most apt contestants are generally from an Asian background, yet every year the final twelve turn out to be mostly white. That said, good looks and charm will also get you far, regardless of your background.

It's still a very challenging competition though. Overall I found it really worthwhile. I wouldn't discourage people from applying, as long as you take it as a bit of fun, or alternatively as an intensive Chinese course. People can get a little too intense - as if this show will be their breakout to becoming a Chinese pop star.

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carlo
Her passport nationality is Chinese. [...]

The winner was a native-speaking Westerner (a westerner who had grown up in China)

On 汉语桥's website I found this:

参赛条件

1、非中国国籍

2、年龄30岁以下

3、非中国高校在校大学生

4、在中国以外国家和地区出生、成长

5、母语非汉语

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siledouyaoai

I participated in the 2010 and 2011 China bridge competitions. I went to Beijing last year, and while I have to say it was a really interesting experience, I turned down the chance of doing it again, because there are no set criteria for judging contestants. The way it works in Kunming is that each university is allocated a certain number of places, depending on which school is hosting the competition, and what their guanxi is like with the other universities. I suspect this is how works all over the country. I didn't get through to Beijing in 2010 because of this, but as my university was hosting it last year, I had a better chance of getting through to the finals.

I heard that 蜂谷诚, the winner of the 2010 competition is half Chinese. His Chinese is incredible, and from speaking to him in English, I don't think that's just down to outstanding linguistic ability. A guy with Chinese heritage went through from our university this year, everyone knows, but no one seems to bother about it.

I found that in the Beijing finals last year, the judges just gave marks according to who they liked. That meant the competition came down to who acts the best on stage, makes the funniest jokes, or chats up the judges. If I didn't know beforehand, I'd have a hard time believing this was a competition supported by Hanban.

The director said something to me last year, which I think was pretty spot on. To win the competition of course requires you to have good Chinese, but more important is stamina and luck. If you get a nasty question which you can't answer, you'll probably get knocked out, so luck is really important. The way the competition is filmed means you are on the stage every day and rehearsing the next days performance at night, so if you're not one for 熬夜 then you probably won't get that far.

It's not for everyone, but can be fun if you don't take the end result too much to heart.

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Murray

Doesn't seem very fair to me either. Maybe they let him slide because of his Japanese citizenship...?

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liuzhou

Welcome to China.

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xiaocai

Just look it as the Chinese language competition version of programs like 中国达人秀 (or whatever similar program you have in your country), of which fairness might be the last thing comes to the mind of its producer (How many asians have you seen in those "Idols" shows?). The whole thing is more for entertainment purposes than for any kind of serious academic recognition. Hopefully it will make you feel better now. Don't take the outcome too seriously, well, at least in China.

And even I have never watched it, the Korean girl, I have to say, made a very unfortunate mistake. Of course we all hope the judges can be completely impartial and objective, but if you are a Korean and in anyway have suggested that Taiwan is part of China in a Taiwanese variety show, you probably will get more than just two red lights...

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roddy
If I didn't know beforehand, I'd have a hard time believing this was a competition supported by Hanban.

That sounds EXACTLY like the kind of thing Hanban would support.

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Matt Mateo

Definitely sounds like the Chinese Bridge contest I know and partook in! It's a fun experience but you really shouldn't take it to heart or too seriously.

I can't really complain about it. I got a free trip to China for 2 weeks and got to meet a lot of really cool people. It was very intense at times but I had fun.

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hali_bote

I heard that judges had already decided the winner. The favoured contestant will be given simpler tasks and vice-versa to the other contestants. Sometimes, there are some politics behind the competition.

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