VeronicaGreen ProfessorE 11/24/17 Finalpaper UCLA Basketball Team Shoplifting caseOn November 8th, three freshmen basketballplayers from the UCLA Men’s Basketball team were arrested in China forshoplifting at three different high-end stores. Not soon after the arrest bailhad been made and the three boys were placed in holding in their hotel room.The three freshman players are LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley. Thereason for the UCLA basketball teams visit to China was so that they could takepart in their season opening basketball game against Georgia Tech in Shanghai.An interesting factor related to this case is that the day after theshoplifting incident occurred, President Donald Trump was set to arrive inChina for one of his stops on his 12-day Asia Tour.
Before arrivingin China, President Trump was unaware that the three players were beingdetained for shoplifting (Mather, 2017). In a meeting between President Trump and President Xi Jinpinof China, he had asked if President Xi was aware that the American basketballplayers were being held in China (Reuters, 2017). President Xi had denied anyknowledge of what was occurring with the players. However, once informed,President Xi sent out one of his staff to assess the situation (Erickson,2017). In their troubling situation, and facing potential jail time, the threeUCLA players had asked President Trump for assistance in getting them released.After a short period of time, President Trump was successful in getting themreleased, and also had the ability to get the charges taken down to amisdemeanor. The players were then sent back to California. On November15, 2017 at a press conference in Los Angeles, LiAngelo Ball, Jalen Hill, andCody Riley had in fact thanked President Trump for his involvement in gettingthem released from China then further apologized saying they know the actionsthey had previously committed were wrong.
The three boys had also thankedPresident Xi for allowing them to leave and for dismissing the charges againstthem. However, they also were indefinitely suspended from the team, and theteam is unaware of when they will return to workouts, or practices. UCLA’sathletic director Dan Guerrero, said “we will come to resolution in shortorder” (Harris, 2017). Thanks to the digression of President Xi and thepositive relationship shared by The United States and China, the situation wasable to be resolved peacefully. Although this situation takes place in modern times, it ispossible to relate the outcome of this situation to past historical eventsbetween the two nations.
It is well known that through history the UnitedStates and China have been in conflict with one another numerous times. Theconflicts had begun in the earlier years of China from 221 BC to AD 1912(Smith, 1996). During this duration of time China saw their country to be theMiddle Kingdom, and the source of all civilization, and saw themselves asbetter than any other nation (Smith, 1996). Due to this, they believed that allother civilizations were barbaric, and had nothing of significance to offerChina or it’s people (Smith,1996). Another attribute that showed China’sdistaste for the West was during the reign of Qianlong, he had denied GreatBritain’s request for more trade. That was a daring move made by China,since during that time Great Britain had the strongest military (Smith, 1996).Another major conflict was during the Opium Wars, which is when China had cutoff all trade with the West besides the Dutch because the opium trade wasdestroying China’s economy (Ebrey, pg 317). In the early years the majorconflicts that arose portrayed the West negatively to China, so China chose touninvolve themselves with the West.
Once China refused to trade with GreatBritain, the British retaliated and shut down major ports of Ningbo and Tianjin(Ebrey, pg 317). After a while, the Qing government had no choice but to agreeto terms with the British. The government had then signed The Treaty of Nanjing(Ebrey, pg 317). The problem with this treaty is it had provided many benefits toChina, but none to China, which made the treaty unequal. A major problem wasthat British citizens could only answer to the British government, even indisputes with the Chinese (Ebrey, pg 317). This is a prime example of why Chinahad wanted to avoid association with the West, because they found them greedyand vicious. However, at the end of the second Opium War, you can see thechange in the opinion about the West in China.
In 1861 with the new rulerPrince Gong, and his mother Empress Dowager Cixi acting as regents, a new idealbegan to take place (Ebrey, pg 322). This is when a scholar by the name of FengGuifen had written essays stating that all though China was much larger thanWestern nations, the West was still surpassing them in school, militarypower, among other aspects (Ebrey, pg 322). From those letters a newmovement arose, known as the Self-Strengthening movement. Because of thischange in opinion, China had begun to focus more on the West and actually,adopted some of their ideals, to try and make China a greater power. In theend, China had failed to reform, and did not successfully modernize themselves.
In 1911 the New Cultural Movement set forth again tried to properly modernizeChina (Ebrey, pg 420). Then later with the Industrial Development China beganto see success with a new modern economy (Ebrey, pg 422). The positive outcomesthat came from China being able to modernize itself, showed a better relationwith the West. Although China was looking to the West for ways to better modernizethe nation, they still had never been on the same side of a military conflict.This can be seen through the major wars the United States and China have takenpart in WWI, WWII, the Korean war, and the Vietnam war. Since the conflictsended the two nations have collectively been at peace with one another, andhave been in great relations with each other. Previously in history much ofChina’s conflicts were with all Western countries, then migrated more towardsthe United States when it became a super power.
However, China was able to seethat although they had once seen the West as inferior, they soon learned thatit was very important to adapt to Western ways. With the new-found peacebetween China and the U.S., the most notable diplomacy during this period wasThe Ping Pong Diplomacy. Why this was so historically important is because itwas the first time a group of Americans had been invited to China since theCommunist takeover in 1949 (Devoss, 2002). The Ping Pong Diplomacy set forththe known knowledge that the relations between the United States and China werefinally on good terms. It is also known that China as a nation enjoys sports,and therefore it makes sense that China used sports to show they were at peacewith the United States. From the colorful past between China and the West, and thenew-found respect that China and the U.
S. have, situations such as the UCLAshoplifting case it allows for faster results and the ability to come to acompromise. However, shoplifting in China has historically been considered amajor crime, where there is a potential to serve anywhere from 5 to 10 years inprison (Trump, 2017); whereas in the United States shoplifting is consideredpetty theft and you only have to pay a fine, depending on the amount stolen.But because of the strong respect now held between the U.S. and China, thismatter was able to be resolved quickly. So, although the crime that LiAngeloBall, Jalen Hill, and Cody Riley committed is punishable by years in jail,Trump was able to get the charges knocked down to a misdemeanor and had theboys sent back to California. The historical context leading up to this mattershows that through conflict can come resolution.
Although, you can still tiethis into the Treaty of Nanjing, and say that essentially the U.S. basketballplayers were not answering to China, they were only answering to the UnitedStates, being unequal to China. Even though China previously despised the West,with their ability to learn from Western nations and through conflict allowedfor this situation to not be seen as a major foreign crisis. Along with thegood political relationship that is held by both President Trump and PresidentXi. Because of the past, the two nations were able to meet and come to anagreement and not allow the situation to affect the peace.
The outcome of thesituation involving the basketball players was able to be linked to historicalcontext, as well as historical contextual readings, and shows the positiverelationship that is currently shared by the West and China. Work CitedDevoss, D.(2002, April 01). Ping-Pong Diplomacy. Retrieved December 08, 2017, from http://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ping-pong-diplomacy-60307544/ Ebrey, P. B.
,Walthall, A., & James, P. (2009). Modern East Asia from 1600.Brantford, Ont.: W.
Ross MacDonald School Resource Services Library. Erickson, A.(2017, November 22). Trump says the shoplifting UCLA players faced 10 years injail. That’s wrong.
Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/worldviews/wp/2017/11/22/trump-says-the-shoplifting-ucla-players-faced-10-years-in-jail-thats-wrong/?utm_term=.af79a561997b Hannon, E.(2017, November 19). Trump Tweets “I Should Have Left Them in Jail” About UCLABasketball Players Arrested in China. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://www.slate.
com/blogs/the_slatest/2017/11/19/trump_tweets_about_ucla_players_in_china_no_love_from_lavar_ball.html Harris?|?AP,B. (2017, November 15). 3 UCLA basketball players suspended after theft inChina. Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.
washingtonpost.com/sports/colleges/3-ucla-basketball-players-apologize-for-shoplifting-in-china/2017/11/15/3d8ef990-ca3c-11e7-b506-8a10ed11ecf5_story.html?utm_term=.c25b59cf0855 Mather, V.
(2017, November 15). U.C.L.A. Suspends 3 Players; They Admitted to Shopliftingin China.
Retrieved November 24, 2017, from https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/15/sports/ucla-liangelo-ball-suspended.
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Chinese maps: images of “All under Heaven”. Oxford:Oxford Univ. Press.
Stracqualursi,V. (n.d.). Some experts say Trump’s tweets on LaVar Ball could be raciallycoded. Retrieved December 06, 2017, from http://abcnews.
go.com/Politics/trump-slams-ucla-players-dad-lavar-ball-ungrateful/story?id=51320968 Trump, D. J.(2017, November 22). It wasn’t the White House, it wasn’t the State Department,it wasn’t father LaVar’s so-called people on the ground in China that got hisson out of a long term prison sentence – IT WAS ME.
Too bad! LaVar is just apoor man’s version of Don King, but without the hair. Just think.. RetrievedNovember 24, 2017 UCLABasketball Players Arrested in China a Day Before Trump Arrives. (n.d.).Retrieved November 24, 2017, from http://fortune.com/2017/11/08/trump-asia-china-ucla-basketball/