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The USA’s ABC News reports how China has used the World Cup to score diplomatic points over rivals Taiwan. The Chinese involvement in building various stadia in the Caribbean has been well documented, but it appears the knock-on effect has been more wide reaching:
China gave Antigua a $55 million grant to build the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium. It gave $30 million to Jamaica for a new Trelawny stadium. St. Lucia has both a cricket and a football stadium courtesy of Beijing. The 70,000 people of Dominica have received the aid equivalent of $1,600 per person in the form of a cricket grounds, new drains for the capital and better roads.
The immediate reason for this largesse is Beijing's determination to diplomatically isolate Taiwan. Says Harry Sung of the Taiwan Economic and Cultural Representative Office in Washington, D.C.: "Their top priority is to isolate Taiwan. Most of the remaining countries that recognize Taiwan are located in the Caribbean and Latin America."
China's cricket diplomacy led to two West Indian countries, Grenada and Dominica, derecognizing Taiwan as an independent country. Of the remaining 24 countries that recognize Taiwan, four are in the Caribbean and two of these play cricket.
Martin Williamson is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo and managing editor of ESPN Digital Media in Europe, the Middle East and AfricaFeeds: Martin Williamson
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Executive editor Martin Williamson joined the Wisden website in its planning stages in 2001 after failing to make his millions in the internet boom when managing editor of Sportal. Before that he was in charge of Sky Sports Online and helped launch and run Sky News Online. With a preference for all things old (except his wife and children), he has recently confounded colleagues by displaying an uncharacteristic fondness for Twenty20 cricket. His enthusiasm for the game is sadly not matched by his ability, but he remains convinced that he might be a late developer and perseveres in the hope of an England call-up with his middle-order batting and non-spinning offbreaks. He is now managing editor of ESPN EMEA Digital Group as well as his Cricinfo responsibilities.