If China makes it back atop the Olympic medal table, it would be the first country to defeat the United States at the Summer Olympics since 1992. But its rising tally has only seemed to feed suspicions among Chinese officials.

Because of China’s growing worldwide dominance, their theory goes, other countries are forced to resort to unfair tactics to knock the country down a peg.

Last week, after Chinese women’s track cyclists Guo Shuang and Gong Jinjie dominated the team sprint, setting two world records in an hour, they were hit with a disqualification and relegated to silver medals. Afterward, the team’s coach told reporters: “They robbed us of the gold medal. A gold medal which was really important for the Chinese people because they are still looking for their first gold in cycling. They would have made history.”…

The world-against-us mentality voiced by Chinese officialdom in many ways echoes the leadership’s reactions to the recent strengthening of ties between the United States and other allies in Asia. Chinese officials have repeatedly decried U.S. plans to expand America’s military and economic presence in Asia as an attempt to encircle and contain China.