Games of the Olympics

The 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing are being billed by the ruling Communist Party of China as China’s entrance onto the world stage.  The Chinese leadership has spared no opportunity to let the world know that this is China’s finest hour.  The reality of the situation, however, is far from inspiring.

When Beijing won the right to host the 2008 games in July of 2001, and in its followup Olympic Action Plan (released in 2002), the Chinese government made several promises to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to “be open in every aspect,” including to improve the human rights situation, to allow freedom of the press during the games, to improve the environment.

Clearly the ruling party has failed to live up to its promises, and this is why I’ve decided to avoid the games in every way possible.

I’m a fan of China, and I am very optimistic about China’s outlook for the future, both economically and socially, but we as civilized people cannot turn a blind eye to the kind of outrages that are occurring in China today.  China fears loss of face as much as anything, so I say let the face losing begin, because things have got to change.

Let’s look at some of the reasons we should give Beijing 2008 the finger:

1.  Some of the fireworks of the opening ceremony were computer generated to fool the public.
2.  The singing scandal is enough to break anyone’s heart.
3.  Applicants to be ushers at the opening ceremony forced to strip naked as part of the interview process.
4.  They had to shut down factories and forbid half the cars in Beijing from using the roads for weeks in order to give the appearance of a clean environment.
4b.  When the drastic measures taken aren’t working as successfully as hoped, an official actually has the chutzpah to say “that’s not smog – it’s just a funny mist
5.  Despite promises of free speech and of protest zones, NOT ONE application for protest has been approved until now.
6.  Freedom of access to the media (which was promised) did not materialize.  Amnesty International has an interesting report available about this and more of Beijing’s broken promises.
7.  It is widely agreed that the Chinese team is fielding underage girls on their gymnastics team in order to gain unfair advantage (also known as cheating).
8. This one’s not really a big deal, but still indicative of the underlying pathology that afflicts the government:  They’ve covered a whole building in downtown Beijing to make it appear finished.
9.  An official has admitted that the 56 children intended to showcase national harmony were not from the 56 ethnic groups as originally claimed. They were actually all Han Chinese.
10.  More of the same depressing information here.
11.  I’m a hater of The Mouse, and of the Walt Disney Company, but let’s face it – anyone who says “They have square holes in their ears. They are not copies.” with a straight face is delusional.  The copies were made to celebrate the games.
12.  A tragic ceremony rehearsal accident that left Liu Yan, the country’s best classical dancer, a paraplegic, was denied then falsely watered down to the Western media as a broken leg.

Wake up!

The whole thing is a sham, and it is your duty to turn your back on this kind of behavior.

To Beijing I say:  “A finger in your eye.”

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