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And smile, smile, smile
William Johnson
June 04, 1973
Perhaps it was the kind of occasion that would become ordinary in the future, but last week it was still an odd experience for an average man and a downright shocking one for any devout apostle of the doctrines of doomsday fears that have dominated Sino-American relations for these past 25 years. For there they were, an assembly of gymnasts from the People's Republic of China in Madison Square Garden, perhaps the most American bastion of them all, and everybody was happy.
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June 04, 1973

And Smile, Smile, Smile

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So it would go for another two weeks for the gymnasts and, one hopes, so it will be for years to come for ever-growing numbers of visiting Chinese (about 175 have arrived since the table-tennis team's trip last year). One question rises out of their presence here: How soon before the People's Republic will enter real international competition—specifically the Olympic Games? Chinese delegates to the General Assembly of I international Federations meeting in Oklahoma City last week had an immediate answer. Not very soon. They flatly refused to seek affiliation with any organization, including the International Olympic Committee. The problem remains Taiwan. "We do not wish to be impolite," said one, but as long as "the Chiang Kai-shek clique" is involved "we are not in a position to have relationships."

Too bad. Despite the sweetness and light cast upon the land by a friendly troupe of traveling gymnasts, one is reminded that the world is not really perfect after all—at least not yet.

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