Thursday, August 28, 2008

Closing Ceremony to Wash Off a Century of National Disgrace?

Chen Po-kong
Radio Free Asia via Epoch Times Aug 27, 2008
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As fireworks light up the sky next to the National Stadium, the ever present image of a totalitarian state is evident.
As fireworks light up the sky next to the National Stadium, the ever present image of a totalitarian state is evident. (Chen Po-kong/Radio Free Asia)
2008 Olympics: Coverage Behind the Scenes

On August 24, the 2008 Olympics came to an end. According to General Director Zhang Yi-Mou, the closing ceremony was to create a “grand celebration for humanity.” However, that night, China did not have a celebration, nor did Beijing or Tiananmen Square. Beijing was still under military control and the atmosphere was reserved. Civilians were isolated far from the Bird’s Nest Stadium and central Beijing. The luxurious, bustling, and well-lit Bird’s Nest was like the Titanic sitting in the dark, waiting for everything to end.

A “harmonious society” and “harmonious world” are political slogans of Chinese leader Hu Jintao. Hence, Zhang had a giant Chinese character of “harmony” at the opening ceremony to fulfill the political mission given by the Chinese Communist regime. However, this “harmony” is only a façade for foreigners. The regime invited heavyweight political figures from 80 countries to attend the Games but ordered the locals to stay home and not hold public gatherings, parties or protests. The regime plans to reach harmony with foreign countries by signing gross trade contracts or trading off its territory, but will never loose its iron grip on its people to reach internal harmony. “One world, one dream” is for foreigners and power politics is for locals.

The foreign political figures had witnessed Beijing’s powerful governance—all dissidents in Beijing were imprisoned or expelled; those who wanted to use the protest zones were warned or sent to forced labor camps. Beijing would rather have empty stands in the Bird’s Nest than giving any group a chance to show up; numerous soldiers and police occupied every corner of the city.

Now, Hu held up his cup in the banquet and said, in effect, to foreign leaders, we would like to be at peace with you. No matter how totalitarian and tyrannical we are, that is our business. We close our doors to straighten our people, please don’t ask why. As long as you mind your own business, you will benefit. Everything China has will be used to please you, since we control everything in China…

Beijing’s voice to Chinese people ran a different tone. It has been Beijing’s magical tool to blame foreigners for the misfortunes in modern China. Beijing claimed to use the Olympics as a way to wash off a century-long national disgrace and sorrow, and to give the Chinese the dream of the century—in order to win the people’s heart.

However, in the last century, the Chinese Communist Party has ruled China for 59 years and most of the catastrophes and misfortunes have happened during that time. From 1949 to 1978, during Mao’s era, China’s economy collapsed, its culture was ruined, elites suffered, and tens of millions of people starved to death.

Celebration and harmony are empty promises. It takes balance to create harmony. Most countries in the world are democratic and in their government meetings voices from different parties, groups and interests are heard. The Democratic National Convention had its opening ceremony the day after the Olympics closing ceremony. In the Pepsi Center, the only voice is against the Republican Party and the only goal is to replace it. Different voices in a society show the political and social balance. The U.S., instead of sinking into chaos, flourished and became a superpower because of it. Social balance is the base for social harmony. It will probably take China another century to be like the U.S. and perhaps by then the Chinese people could wash off another century-long national disgrace and sorrow.

No matter what happens, Beijing will celebrate the “success” of the Olympics for sure. The Chinese Communist regime will believe this is a success of dictatorship. And hence, after the Olympics, Beijing is going to hold on and strengthen its one-party ruling and listen to nothing.

The Olympics, looking at it from another angle, is a game between the professional players from totalitarian countries and amateur players from democratic countries. China gained the most gold medals by applying the Russian-style state system to train its athletes. From now on, Beijing will budget more for the “gold medal project.” It is an extremely heavy economical burden on the Chinese people’s shoulders.

The Beijing Olympics pushed extravagance and wastefulness to the extreme. It shows a sense of national inferiority instead of confidence. However, this inferiority came from the Communist regime, not the people. The most expensive Olympics in history presented the brightest contrast to the numerous people living in extreme poverty in China.

When the Mayor of London Boris Johnson took over the Olympics Torch at the closing ceremony, he said one thing that should make the Communist regime, which held the most expensive and unprecedented Olympics, feel ashamed, “Without wasting tax payers' money, I am convinced that we can do just as well in 2012.”

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

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