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SBD Global/February 11, 2013/People and Pop Culture

Pingpong Diplomacy Legend Zhuang Zedong, Who Also Ran China's Sports Authority, Dies

Former Chinese table tennis player ZHUANG ZEDONG, most known "for his participation in the historic" Sino-U.S. pingpong diplomacy in the '70s, died at the age of 73 on Sunday, according to XINHUA. Zhuang "became one of the world's best" pingpong players in the '60s. During a championship game held in Japan in '71, U.S. pingpong player GLENN COWAN "rode on the Chinese team's bus and came to know Zhuang after chatting with him." Later, the Chinese government invited the U.S. pingpong team to visit China, which became known as pingpong diplomacy. It "paved the way for a visit" by then U.S. President RICHARD NIXON to China in '72 and eventually the establishment of Sino-U.S. diplomatic ties in '79. Two months after Nixon's visit, Zhuang led a Chinese pingpong delegation to the U.S. "and served as head of China's national sports authority" until '77 (XINHUA, 2/11).
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