Team USA dominated the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, winning both the overall medal count and gold medal tally, but Chinese state media has altered those figures in a way to assert itself as the gold medal leader.
Images from the Chinese social media platform, Weibo, and China Central Television have circulated on Twitter this week showing an altered medal count that includes hardware taken home by Hong Kong and Taiwan, according to multiple reports.
The deceptive ploy improved China’s tally from 38 gold, 32 silver, and 18 bronze medals (88 overall) to 41, 37, and 27, respectively, for an overall count of 106 medals.
By comparison, the U.S. earned 39 gold, 41 silver, and 33 bronze for an overall medal count of 113.
Under the International Olympic Committee rules Hong Kong and Taiwan, referred to as Chinese Taipei, compete independently as National Olympic Committees (NOC).
According to The Taiwan News, some graphics even showed China leading with 42 gold medals by including a third territory Macau – despite it not being recognized by the IOC as a NOC.
China led the count 38-36 going into the final day of the Olympics but the Team USA added three more to finish on top.
The Chinese government has taken aim at western media several times during the Olympics. Following the opening ceremony, the Chinese consulate in New York issued a statement that the decision by NBC not to include Taiwan or the South China Sea in the map displayed during the parade of athletes, "hurt the dignity and emotions of the Chinese people."
"Attempts to use the Olympic Games to play political ‘tricks’ and self-promotion to achieve ulterior motives will never succeed."
Then the Chinese embassy in Sri Lanka took aim at Reuters news agency for using an "ugly" photo of gold medalist Hou Zhihui in its Olympic coverage because of "politics and ideologies."