Elliot Wilson really sees the Communist Party for what it is. Yes, let it rain--a good hard rain can be cleansing!
Spectator.co UK: ...Tax officials apart, the destruction of old Beijing continues to fill the pockets of construction tycoons and a sprinkling of extremely rich, supremely well-connected landlords now lauded by the very party that once had them tortured and executed. Auto-makers and dealerships are benefiting from the new roads, while leading consumeroriented multinationals are set to cash in too — no new Beijing office building is complete without a Starbucks, a KFC and a Japanese noodle shop. As a result the city now has an odd, hollowed-out feel, with vast new expressways and avenues only detracting from the old, cosy, understated ambience.
The ultimate aim of all of this destruction and reinvention is simple — to allow China to throw the greatest, most expensive Games the world has ever seen. For the ruling Communist party, these Games aren’t about sport, or even about bringing the nations of the world together, but about demonstrating China’s size and power.
Before a single ping-pong ball is struck China will have maxed out its credit card on the event, and when historians judge the success of next year’s Games, Beijing wants them to be thinking only of records broken, gold medals won, public adoration secured. It’s all about being biggest and best. Take the torch relay, historically the dullest part of any Olympic Games: Beijing in 2005 decreed that its version of the relay event would cover more ground than any other in Olympic history, involving more people in more cities and countries, including both Taiwan and North Korea. Overall, more athletes will participate in more events with more medals than ever before, and Chinese viewers, in the stadia and at home, will have been primed by propaganda to expect gold in every contest.
Then there are the ubiquitous corporate sponsors — the inevitable gaudy sideshow of any modern sporting gala. If the Beijing Games are about anything other than power, they are about making money — and proving that communism and capitalism can happily cohabit. Twenty-two of the world’s biggest corporations, including global brands such as Adidas and Coca-Cola and local giants such as Bank of China and the computer maker Lenovo, have stumped up $2.1 billion between them — another Olympic record, naturally — to plaster their logos over hoardings, T-shirts and baseball caps. Their aim, which rather chimes with that of the party, is to insert their branding messages into the hearts and minds of 1.3 billion impressionable consumers, particularly the 300 million Chinese under the age of 25. (more)