Beijing: the ugly games.

I have a confession to make.

I like the Olympics, at least, I like some aspects of the competition.

The outright commercialism, the cover-ups, the political spin and rhetoric I don’t much care for, but the actual competition itself, the fact that such a large portion of the world’s population is both represented and interested, I find truly magical.

I’ve followed the Olympics since I was a kid and it has been a source of some truly wonderful memories.

Sadly, now some truly awful ones as well.

I can’t remember another Olympics where a totalitarian regime has played such a central role.

The sight of the Olympic flag being handed over to goose-stepping military personnel during the opening ceremony made me cringe.

Perhaps it was more symbolic than a lot of people realised.

Even the Olympic motto “one world, one dream” smacks of “Ein reich, ein volk, ein Deutchland”

Before the games even commenced we have seen international media’s Internet access censored, the establishment of no-go-zones around the finish line of the men’s cycling road race so dozing communist party officials could take the seats of friends and relatives, many of whom had travelled halfway around the world to be there, the brutal murder of an American tourist associated with the men’s volleyball team, the unabashed hatred vented at peaceful pro-Tibetan Independence protesters in Tianamen Square just to name a few.

We aren’t even a week into the games.

I think there is a lesson for the IOC here, no matter how flashy the promises of a bidding nation, if they can’t treat their own citizens respectfully, what possible hope does the broader international community have to be treated well?

There may be an argument to keep sports above politics, but human rights?

It’s a dark time for the Olympic movement.

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About alburywodongaonline

Hi I'm Jack Stone (a pseudonym), I'm a long-time Albury resident and I think it's a great place to live and work. I have a strong interest in local events and media and I started this site because I think a different perspective is often needed when reporting local news. I take a keen interest in local politics, as well as what's going on at the state and federal level, I'm also a supporter of social justice issues, the envirionment and the need for people to have a say in the events that effect their lives. I'm a fan of the Border Bandits and I'd love to see both teams take the flag this year, and next year, and maybe the one after that too.
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16 Responses to Beijing: the ugly games.

  1. raydixon says:

    Everything you say is right, but I think it’s also obvious to most of us and I don’t see how China is benefitting from hosting the games. In fact it could be argued that all they’ve achieved is to highlight their own deficiencies – especially their pollution!

  2. Greg Naylor says:

    I think it is of great benefit for the rest of the world to be able to focus on China – in unison – and develop up to date opinions about all aspects of life in that country and how that might influence the rest of the world.

  3. Ray I think China has a different perspective, they have used the games to “showcase” how modern they are, they seem completely oblivious to the fact that their human rights record, their appaling xenophobia, their pollution and commitment to environmental destruction (like the “three gorges” dam) actually reveals how backwards they are.

    Greg, I agree it is probably a good thing for the light of scrutiny to be shone on China, somehow I suspect it won’t make a great deal of difference to the way things are done behind the “bamboo curtain”.

    If China is arrogant enough to portray psudo-historian Gavin Menzies’ theory about China’s great age of exploration during the Ming dynasty without a shred of proof to support it as fact and even include it in their opening ceremony, it speaks volumes to me at least.

  4. jr says:

    I think you might have something there, Jack.

    It has been announced that Chinese government, 12 months ago, passed special legislation to make the weather in China a state secret, and consequently, anyone caught documenting it in any shape or form can be dealt with under their state secret act.

    TV announcers are shit scared to describe smog conditions for fear of official repercussions.

    So paranoid were the authorities regarding the atmospheric conditions for the opening ceremony, that the fireworks segment from the forbidden city to the main stadium was produced over a 12 month period, as a CG clip and thus displayed on video screens for the seated VIPs.

  5. raydixon says:

    There’s no doubt the Chinese Govt sees the Olympics as an opportunity to present themselves as a modern society. But they’re not fooling anyone except themselves. It won’t do them any good because in the end the Olympics is about the athletes not the host.

    The gold medal performances of Liesel and others wil be remembered long after China’s pathetic propaganda exercise. It’s really no big deal. (Although I agree they should not have got it – I’d have given it to Sth Africa, who have genuinely made progress in human rights).

  6. don’t you just love the idea that they can just march in some rehearsed cheer squads to put back the lack of “atmosphere” their heavy handed security measures have destroyed.

    Australian Olympic officials are notoriously tight lipped with their criticism of host nations, for there to be any criticism at that level about the “atmosphere” or lack thereof (Beijing’s heinous smog notwithstanding) speaks volumes to me.

    I hope the IOC is never so foolish as to hand the games to a totalitarian reigime again.

    You’d think they would have learned their lesson back in 1936 wouldn’t you?

  7. raydixon says:

    London in 2012 might return some normality to the Olympics. I’m looking forward to the opening ceremony already as they role out the nearly 70 year olds Mick Jagger & Keith Richards to “Start me up”. Old man Eric Clapton should get a gig too. Let’s hope they’re still alive by then.

  8. they may need a set of cardiac defibrilation paddles on hand for Mick just in case they really do need to “start him up”.

    I wonder will Ron Wood be out of rehab by then?

    Perhaps Kieth Richards will adopt a more clean living approach to life and forget how to play guitar.

  9. raydixon says:

    Just as long as they DO NOT roll out Cliff (“I’m not gay”) Richards by mistake.

  10. He’s not gay, he’s “celibate”…a born again Christian euphamism for gay unless I’m much mistaken.

    You almost feel sorry for someone with such self loathing don’t you?

  11. raydixon says:

    London will surely breathe some normality back into the games after China’s “oh look we’re just as western as you are” white-wash.

    Have you noticed (assuming you’ve been watching) how you hardly ever see any Chineses people apart from officials and the odd (well dressed & westernised) spectator?

    I get the impression China doesn’t have a high regard for their own, unless they’re one of the hand-picked ‘lucky ones’ chosen to excel at swimming, weight lifting, gymnastics, etc.

    It’s just a hunch but maybe that impression is the right one.

  12. Well Ray, most of the Chinese spectators were deigned “not pretty enough” to be seen representing their country.

    The fiasco around the little girl who was (or wasn’t as the case may be) singing in the opening ceremony of the games has got to be the absolute low point of Olympic history has it not?

    We’re used to the games showcasing the best of the human spirit, but this has got to be the lowest Olympic moment on record, I hope the IOC remember it (and all the other broken promises by China to lift it’s game on human rights) and never again sully the Olympic name with a totalitarian reigime.

  13. raydixon says:

    Well, like I said from the outset here, it hasn’t worked for them. China has only reinforced that they are NOT about freedom & liberty.

  14. perhaps the IOC should make supression of human rights an Olympic event, China would be a shoe in!!

  15. raydixon says:

    Well they’ve got shooting, so why not? It’s just a matter of changing the targets to real people. Helps control the disidents and population growth in one fell swoop.

    While they’re at it, how about an event featuring tanks crushing protestors? Each contestant gets 5 minutes to mow down as many malcontents as they can. Most dead bodies wins gold.

  16. Oh shooting bless it, when you think about all the attrocities which have been commited with guns over the years and all the furter attrocities which have been commited with the aid of guns is it any wonder shooting takes it’s rightful place among the most inspiring and spirit lifting of human endeavours?

    Myopic Olympic planning at it’s lobby-group-dictated best I would suggest Ray.

    Some wife-bashing red-neck scumbag wins a gold medal in it and Australia’s all behind it as a “legitimate sport”.

    Sheep, bloody sheep.

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