Is China ready to host the Games?

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Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Flavour of the week for opinion pieces and articles around the globe is the question:
is China ready to host the Olympics?

Already, various government officials in China, and the vice-deputy mayor of Beijing have declared that China is ready. So had Sebastian Coe.

The evil Western media, however, is seeing holes in that statement. But then, we never expected those Greeks to get their shit together for the last Games did we?

The Chinese are printing a new bank note (damn, there goes my plans to get printing some knock-off 100 yuan notes), they are fighting the locusts and the algae,


1. From Pressdemocrat.com - whoever they are . . .

China running uphill as it prepares for Games
Locusts, algae, government bureaucracy among current hurdles

By CRAIG SIMONS
COX NEWS SERVICE

Published: Monday, July 7, 2008 at 6:40 p.m.

BEIJING - For a nation that desperately wants to get the Olympics right, many things are going wrong.

With a month to go before the Aug. 8 opening ceremony for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, tens of thousands of Chinese are battling a plague of locusts and a spreading bloom of bright green algae covering the Olympic sailing course.

In Beijing, hoteliers are worried that tight visa restrictions have discouraged tourism, and profits during the Games could be far below an expected windfall.

The problems - some seemingly Biblical, some clearly man-made - have distracted from gargantuan efforts by Beijing to host a spectacular Games. China has spent a record $37 billion to prepare for the Olympics, an amount four times more than Athens spent on the 2004 Summer Olympics. The money has gone for new subway lines, an airport terminal and more than three dozen new and refurbished sports venues.

Hundreds of laborers are scrambling to finish work at the Olympic Green, a mile-long strip that will be the Games' epicenter.

The only major structure still under construction - a 525-foot-tall broadcasting tower wedged between China's National Stadium and National Aquatics Center - will be finished by July 15, said Wang Guanghai, a security manager at the site.

Speakers mounted on palm tree-shaped light poles play recorded announcements, including one that says in English, "Ladies and gentlemen, good evening and welcome to your hometown arena."

Nearby, laborers are planting flowers around a square built to resemble traditional Beijing architecture and working on buildings that will house Olympic sponsors including Coca-Cola, Kodak and Adidas.

Just how big are the Games here? Goodbye, Mao.

China's central bank is introducing a new banknote today that will replace the image of the country's founding communist leader, Mao Zedong, with an illustration of the National Stadium, known as the "bird's nest." The back of the new 10-yuan note (worth about $1.45) features the picture of a statue of a Greek discus-thrower.

Qi Dan, a university student visiting Beijing from central China, peered through a security fence at the major venues and said "every Chinese person is excited that we are hosting the Olympics."

"It means we have really become part of the world," she said.

Acts of God, and man

But if the Games will highlight China's growing global prominence, they will also throw a harsh spotlight on problems caused by the nation's rapid development and slow political opening.

The 154-square-mile algae bloom off the coast of Qingdao, a city on the Yellow Sea southeast of Beijing, and a plague of millions of locusts in northern China have underscored how the country's environment has suffered from pollution and overuse.

While at least one Chinese official has called the algae outbreak a "natural disaster," scientists said it was almost certainly caused by pollution, which can trigger sudden ecological shifts.

A biologist at Shanghai Fisheries University said the algae had multiplied because pollution from nearby factories and many fish farms along the coast had "destroyed the natural balance." He asked to remain anonymous because he could be punished for contradicting Chinese officials.

Long swaths of the algae, which sailors have taken to calling fairways and blobs, have been thick enough that sailboats have become stuck in them, according to a blog by U.S. sailor Andrew Campbell.

"Sometimes hundreds of yards long and up to a hundred yards wide, the blobs creep the water in massive waves of weed spoiling any racecourse in their path," Campbell, who is training in Qingdao, wrote.

Wu Jichuan, a retired entomologist at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing, said that the locust infestation - which Beijing is battling with 33,000 exterminators and 200 tons of pesticide, according to state media - is linked to China's deteriorating environment because locusts breed more rapidly in dry areas with little natural vegetation. Grasslands in Inner Mongolia, the center of the outbreak, have been heavily damaged in recent years by farmers overgrazing their livestock.

Government restrictions

The Games have also highlighted Beijing's strict social controls.

China has tightened visa restrictions, including limiting multiple-entry visas and requiring applicants to show hotel bookings and return plane tickets. And an unknown number of foreigners have been forced to leave Beijing and other cities hosting Olympic events. Some people working for activist groups have been denied visas for the Games, said Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based researcher for Human Rights Watch, the international monitoring organization.

The stricter laws have deterred some tourists from traveling to Beijing. Chinese officials have said they expect 1.5 million visitors to the city during the Games. But Beijing's Tourism Bureau said in May that only 77 percent of five-star hotel rooms and less than half of four-star hotel rooms had been booked for the Games, which end on Aug. 24.

Wang Rui, a saleswoman at the five-star Yuyang Hotel in downtown Beijing, said on Friday that between 40 and 50 percent of the hotel's rooms had been booked for the Olympics, a rate that was significantly below expectations.

Visitors who do travel to Beijing can expect increased scrutiny.

A guide the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee posted on its Web site last month warns visitors against bringing printed materials "critical of China," displaying "religious, political or racial banners at sports venues" or holding "a public gathering, parade or protest" without prior police approval, the China Daily, the mouthpiece newspaper of the Chinese government, reported.

"Those doing so otherwise face administrative punishments and/or criminal prosecution," the English-language paper added.

Beijing will deploy 80,000 police, soldiers and guards to enforce security during the Games and has mobilized hundreds of thousands of citizens to monitor people considered security risks, including Chinese dissidents, former prisoners, mental health patients, petitioners and beggars, Bequelin said.

"There is a very, very large surveillance network (in Beijing)," Bequelin said. "If there is a protest it will be stopped within minutes if not seconds."

Tight restrictions

Some Beijing residents have chafed under other government restrictions. The city will force many factories to close during the Olympics. And to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution, half of all private cars will be banned from July 20 until Sept. 20, three days after the closing ceremony of the Paralympic Games, which will follow the Olympic Games from Sept. 6-17..

"The government wants to make things easier for visitors, but their restrictions are too severe," a taxi driver surnamed Wang said as he drove through a street packed with pedestrians, cars and cyclists this week.

Like most Chinese, however, Wang welcomed the Olympics as an opportunity for Beijing to engage with the world.

"Everyone will be able to learn more about China," he said.

http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20080707/SPORTS/483768814/1010&title=OLYMPICS__Locusts__algae_among_China_s_hurdles

2. Washington Observer


Is China ready for 2008 Olympic Games?

Is Beijing ready to host the 2008 Olympic Games? Some say they are more than ready. One such person is two-time Olympic track gold medalist, Sebastian Coe.

During a recent visit to China, Coe told Reuters news service: "The Olympic Games is a great catalyst for change, maybe not obvious today, but it will be very clear in the next decade." Coe made his comments on an official visit to Beijing as head of London's 2012 host committee. Coe, after completing his illustrious running career became a member of parliament in the United Kingdom and single handedly (with some help from Tony Blair) grabbed the London Olympic bid away from Paris. Today, he is arguably the most powerful man in UK sports.

"Every country has a unique history," Coe told Reuters "but one thing that is for sure is that Olympic events fundamentally change the way a country is perceived externally -- and often the way they conduct business day to day internally."

Coe went on to say that he thought the International Olympic Committee (IOC) was "right in ignoring critics of China's human rights record in awarding the bid to Beijing in 2001." He illustrated this point by using the examples of Seoul in 1988, Moscow, 1980, and Mexico City in 1968.

As a longtime Olympic observer, author, and psychologist who has worked with a number of international sport federations, I am critical of some of Mr. Coe's remarks to the media while in Beijing. He is absolutely correct in saying that the "Olympic Games do change communities and even governments," but sometimes the politics of the IOC and other organizations force change or moderation in the host country's political structure.

Case in point: The Beijing bid was initially proposed in 1993, seven years in advance of the Sydney, 2000 Olympics. The IOC was concerned -- as were many people -- that the human rights issues and violations were out of control in China. Major players on the IOC felt the timing was not right to award the $$$billion dollar bid and prestige of the Games to China in 1993. In fact, Human Rights Watch, a well known international organization that monitors governments worldwide, lobbied vigorously against the bid -- citing numerous issues of human rights violations. An op-ed piece in The New York Times highlighted some of these issues in early 1993. The vote by the IOC, in a secret ballot session, went down to the wire. One vote separated the outcome and Sydney, Australia outbid China and they were awarded the Games in 1993 and subsequently performed well in 2000.

Shortly thereafter, in 2001, the Beijing bid committee did prevail and the IOC awarded China its first games to be played in summer of 2008. And according to experts like Seb Coe, "China is a working model of change, their bid has now transitioned into a reality and serious change is underway."

Jim Fanell of the Hoover Institution at Stanford University is another expert that echoes these sentiments. "China's hosting of the 2008 Olympics is the culmination of 60 years of effort to wipe out the shame they experienced from Japanese occupation," noted Fanell. "China is hypersensitive to the views of the media and the outside world as to how they conduct their affairs," Fanell told me in a recent interview.

Fanell, a national security affairs fellow and expert on China at Stanford commented that the Chinese have already spent billions in infrastructure getting ready for the Olympic Games and indeed, "many people in the city, and local communities have already felt an improvement in their standard of living as a result of the Olympic preparations." Fanell notes that the 1989 Tiananmen Square event was a pivotal moment in shifting the paradigm, followed by the acceptance of the World Trade Organization; and then the Beijing bid; all of which has forced China to adapt to a new internal political situation.

Fanell also notes that unlike the pre-1979 "open door policy" of Deng Xiaoping, money and trade will flow into China during and after the Olympics and will filter down to more of the "common people" than if this international event took place during Mao's reign. "Local schools, community centers, athletic clubs and regular folks, already are reaping the benefits from the Olympic infrastructure," Fanell said. On his recent trip to Quindao, site of the sailing venues, Fanell noted that educational campaigns are underway to teach more English to cab drivers and to curb the cultural norm of public spitting.

Other Olympic experts concur, Beijing is ready and China is opening its door in ways never imagined. According to colleagues of mine at the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA)?an independent agency that monitors drug testing and education, China is performing more independent, random and un-announced drug tests, than ever before. After a recent scandal that involved some elite swimmers, China has vowed to crack down on steroid use and drug cheaters so they can be perceived as a clean athletic community. All of these measures to ensure a clean, ethical, and drug free sporting event, are seen by some as a public relations effort. Others note that China must set an example for the world order of anti-doping efforts while at the same time, winning many gold medals. According to Fanell, "China will want to be the number one gold medal contender on their home turf, as well as a clean athletic machine. This will give them their standing and perception in the world as proof of athletic and cultural superiority." According to Coe, the national pride of China is already swelling as the construction projects are ahead of schedule.

Finally, what happens after the Klieg lights dim and the world press and spectators go home from the Beijing 2008 summer games? Some believe that Hu Jintao is a major reformer and the media will be more open and accessible, publishing will shift from government monitored to free enterprise and that nationalism will take hold and shift the political infrastructure.

As Sebastian Coe, the former athlete turned politician noted during his visit to Beijing this week: "China is more likely to change fundamentally in the decade after the 2008 Beijing Games."

We shall wait and see.

Steven Ungerleider, Washington Observer weekly - Issue No. 173, April 19, 2006

3. Honk Kong's South China Morning Post

Is China really ready to host the Olympics?

SCMP
July 08,2008

Beijing has declared itself ready for the Olympic Games and the International Olympic Committee starts making its final checks today. The 37 sporting venues have been completed, new transport systems are operating and anti-pollution measures implemented. For all the preparations that the capital and other host cities have made, though, the question nonetheless has to be asked: "Is China really ready?"

So far, the answer is, at best, a qualified yes. China has made the Olympics to be more than just a celebration of sport; state leaders have made it clear that hosting the world's most prestigious event will also herald the nation's international arrival. They have made a host of promises, among them a more open society, improved human rights, access to every nook and cranny of the nation for foreign journalists and clean air for the capital. But whether Beijing - and the nation as a whole - is ready for the Olympics is not just about the air pollution or the venues. It is also about the mentality.

What has been forthcoming in this regard has, regrettably, fallen short of expectations. The mainland is only a little more open to the outside world now than it was seven years ago when it won the right to host the Olympics. Nor does it yet have the full confidence to own up to shortcomings and confront them. Instead, authorities are resorting to the same old tactics of media and security clampdowns and sweeping difficulties under the carpet.

Beijing's handling of the torch relay is telling. The event was organised in the spirit of the "one world, one dream" slogan. What organisers missed, though, was that while many people around the world want to wish China well with its hosting of the Games, there are also those with grievances. These may not be justifiable from a Chinese point of view, but Beijing has to understand that its opinion is not the only one. Shutting out such views through tight security, selective media coverage and, in the wake of the Sichuan earthquake, altering schedules of the domestic torch relay without prior notice has not been in the spirit of the pledges made. Hong Kong legislator Leung Kwok-hung being denied entry to the mainland last week for an official trip to areas hit by the earthquake showed a lack of tolerance for differing views. Intolerance was also displayed with a reporter for the Apple Daily newspaper being refused entry to Beijing to lay the groundwork for covering the Olympics. Tougher visa rules being imposed on foreigners are out of proportion to the need to ensure the security of the Games, and they are causing incalculable losses to legitimate travellers, many of whom are friends of China.

Beijing is capable of changing its decades-old ways. Its allowing of unfettered media coverage of the quake is commendable and enlightening. This has been in marked contrast to the refusal to allow journalists into Tibet to report on the riots there. Mainland officials need to realise that providing security should not also mean restricting access or denying openness. Foreign journalists should be allowed to go where they want, as promised. The rights of all Chinese should be granted and respected, as authorities have pledged. These must not be special waivers given for the Olympics; they must continue after the last athletes and spectators have gone home.

The buildings, infrastructure and policies have been readied for the Olympics. Beijing has said that it is ready to stage what some call "the greatest show on Earth". But being ready is about more than the hardware; it also requires that mainland authorities can take criticism and deal with it confidently.

http://olympics.scmp.com/Article.aspx?id=1033

4.
China Daily - with 50 days to go

With just 50 days to go, Beijing says the city is ready to host the 2008 Summer Olympics. Finishing touches are being added to Olympic venues, and most of the infrastructure is already in place.

With just 50 days to go, Beijing says the city is ready to host the 2008 Summer Olympics.

The opening of one of the greatest events in the history of modern China is getting closer.

The main venues for the Beijing Olympics have been completed, with many already hosting test events.

But workers are still fine tuning everything in order to present Summer Games that will impress the entire world.

On Thursday, the solar energy system in the Athletes' Village began operating. All of the infrastructure in the village is now fully functioning. Media organizations also tested out the International Broadcasting Center.

Sun Weide, Deputy Media Director, BOCOG, said, "I would say I think we are basically ready to host a successful Olympic Games. Of course as we are getting closer to it, we have to put the final touches and maybe a number of refining and final tunings."

No expense has been spared making improvements to public transportation.

The capital's international airport recently opened a third terminal to accommodate expected large numbers of foreign visitors.

Beijing's subway system has also been expanded. A system that only had two lines just a few years ago will have eight lines by the opening of the Games, including an airport express.

Behind the scenes, monitoring and coordination of the city's traffic and security has been increased.

The 2008 Summer Olympic Games kick off on August 8 at 8:08PM local time.

http://www.china.org.cn/olympics/pics/2008-06/20/content_15862234_2.htm


5. Some writer at the National Post

Marni Soupcoff on more proof China's not ready for the Olympics
Posted: June 05, 2008, 8:18 PM by Marni Soupcoff
Marni Soupcoff

Two stories I read today solidified my opinion that China is not ready to host the Olympics.

1) As this BBC News story explains (along with a helpful diagram) Beijing Olympic chiefs have instituted an "official cheer" for Chinese spectators to use so that they will "cheer for their favourite athletes in a smooth, civilized manner." The robotic four-part sequence (basically, clap, clap, thumbs up, clap, clap, arms form a Y, all while chanting "Olympics...Let's Go...China...") is being taught to school children in special training sessions. Anyone having Cultural Revolution flashbacks?

2) As the New York Times Olympics blog points out, the Chinese government is not permitting the broadcast of the NBA finals on state-run television (and in China, all television is state-run television) because the games have been deemed "too entertaining." The ostensible rationale is that it would be wrong to air something so fun and diverting after last month's devastating earthquake, which is a weird enough reason in itself. (Why not let people take a break from suffering and mourning with a little entertainment?)

The more probable reason for not airing the Lakers/Celtics games is that China is still angry about the letter L.A. Laker Ira Newble released back when he was still playing for Cleveland. It criticized China for its policy on Darfur, and was signed by most of Newble's fellow Cavaliers. Here's the Time's description of the missive:

The letter reads in part, "We, as basketball players in the N.B.A. and as potential athletes in the 2008 Summer Olympic Games in Beijing, cannot look on with indifference to the massive human suffering and destruction that continue in the Darfur region of Sudan." It concludes with a plea to the Chinese government "to use all available diplomatic resources and economic pressure to end the agony of Darfur, and to secure access for U.N. peace support personnel."

Needless to say, the Chinese are probably rooting for the Celtics.

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fullcomment/archive/2008/06/05/marni-soupcoff-on-more-proof-china-s-not-ready-for-the-olympics.aspx

6. A Reuters blog from March this year

Is China ready for the Olympics?

Posted by: Wei Gu

Hardly anyone questions whether Beijing will be ready to host the Olympics Games in August. China is determined to put on a good show, the thinking goes, so that is what the world will get.

No expense has been spared cleaning up the sky, removing traffic jams, building state-of-the-art stadia and teaching every Beijing taxi driver to speak some English.

Which is why the audience at a recent Olympics conference hosted by Hong Kong University was caught off guard by Yu Bu, deputy chief of the Beijing organising committee's broadcasting coordination division.

"I don't think China is ready for Beijing 2008 yet," he said. "There is still so much work to be done."

An Olympics veteran, Yu knows what "not ready" meant, having spotted mud in the main stadium in Athens, host of the 2004 Olympics. But he was not referring to that kind of problem.

"No one will have any doubt that Beijing's stadia will be ready, but mentally will Beijing be ready?" Yu explained. "The hardware will be no problem. I am concerned about the software."Beijing Taxi

Chinese often say that the country has world-class "hardware" -bridges and buildings, but needs to improve "software" - services and efficiency. Yu has pointed out a few weaknesses, including Beijing's prickliness in the face of foreign criticism, its obsession with gold medals and its lack of media freedom.

Beijing wants to use the Olympics to showcase half a century of development, but in the run-up to the games it has been assailed by critics over its policies towards Darfur and now its handling of Tibetan protests.

China accuses others of politicising the Olympics. Perhaps that is so, but it's nothing new. Think back to the Cold War tit-for-tat boycotts of the Moscow and Los Angeles Games and the politics that have dogged hosts for decades

"Every Olympics is politicised because every Olympics is a political event," said Yale University professor William Kelly.

Some argue that China is as much to blame for politicising its Games, bragging about the number of heads of state who have agreed to attend the opening ceremony and putting a top Communist leader, a vice-president no less, in charge of preparations.

Yu thinks China is perhaps over-sensitive because the country still suffers a little from psychological inferiority despite its meteoric economic rise in recent years. Some people take criticism less seriously.

"The pollution in Los Angeles is very bad but if you ask Arnold about it," he said, trying to imitate the voice of California Governor and former "Terminator" star Arnold Schwarzenegger. "He would say 'okay, I am responsible for it and I will do that'."

As wikipedia puts it, the Terminator "feels no pain, has no emotions and will stop at nothing to accomplish its mission".


And the comments the story aroused:
17 comments so far
March 29th, 2008
5:19 am GMT


yes! we are definetly ready for the game in our home! despite all the troubles from outside world!
- Posted by tony
March 31st, 2008
6:31 am GMT


Wake up Chinese people, 80 milion Chinese people have teh evil Ccop murdered in the last 60 years and everyday the list grows.

Is there a regime more ghastly than that of the People's Republic of China?

Is there any other government that so systematically suppresses all religious liberty, erecting religious bureaucracies to which believers are required to belong in order to worship?

Is there any other regime that still imprisons and kills bishops, priests and monks who fail to swear loyalty to the state?

Is there any other country where the entire population is subject to child-bearing control, with forced sterilization and abortions for those who decline to submit to state rules on family size?

Is there any other regime that executes thousands of its citizens annually, the majority for the crime of challenging the ruling party?

Is there any other country accused (by credible sources) of executing the Falun Gong and harvesting their organs and selling them? Is there any other regime more dependable in its support of the worst kind of evil around the world (Darfur)?

Even the vile regimes in Saudi Arabia, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe do not compare to China across the breadth of its human rights violations.

The Ccp will fall, it's terminally ill and in its death throws. Check out this site for validation of the above.
http://ninecommentaries.com/
- Posted by Jana
March 31st, 2008
1:34 pm GMT


Even though "Journey of Harmony" is the theme of the 2008 torch relay; the Olympic Games have already been far from harmonious. With the world watching, the true face of China is being unveiled.

Tibet has struggled for decades to gain its independence from its domineering neighbor. It has suffered oppression, watched as its ancient monasteries were burned to the ground, endured forced political re-education of their spiritual leaders and youth and witnessed the unraveling of a centuries-old culture of peace, justice and love.

China's aggression towards Tibet proves yet again that the communist government continues to deny human and religious rights to its people. Buddhists in Tibet are experiencing what many Christians throughout China have felt for the past 60 years.

Leadership in China needs to grant its citizens basic freedoms and human rights to attain the positive world recognition that it craves. As Christians, our response to this crisis is vital.

We are in sympathy with the Tibetan people; we will continue to support their efforts to attain basic human rights which we in the West are so accustomed to. Together we believe that we can make a difference in the fight against the injustices of our world.
- Posted by Open Doors USA
April 2nd, 2008
11:52 pm GMT


Reporters Sans Frontieres, which launched call for the boycott to the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic Games, is a defender for the freedom of press in Westerners' eyes. However, its Chinese web site reveal its true face: At the end of the page of "Who We Are (In Chinese, I translate it into English)", it writes "This web site can be accomplished thanking to the help of the corporation person, Taiwan Foundation For Democracy (In Chinese, I translate it into English word by word)", even with the logo of the Foundation. The page almost becomes an advertisement of this Foundation.
Taiwan Foundation For Democracy has relations with anti-China political forces in Taiwan. How can Reporters Sans Frontieres, supported by an anti-China background organisation, be objective to Chinese issues?
Few Westerners can understand the Chinese language and Chinese people inside China can't have access to the web site of Reporters Sans Frontieres. So, lacking communications between China and the rest of the world, Reporters sans Frontieres can manipulate the world.
I wrote an email in French to RSF to accuse them but they didn't reply to me with evidence against my accusation.
- Posted by philippe
April 4th, 2008
5:36 am GMT


Minus a few teething problems, probable major air pollution, traffic jams, limited number of sit down dunnies (toilets) etc etc, there is a good chance the Beijing facilities will be ready for the Olympics. The continuance of the arrogance fuelled egotistical so-called communist government elite depends on it. I can only imagine the lengths this egocentric 'elite clique' will go to 'save face' if anything went wrong or the potential for anything to go wrong occurs. There is the probability of the Dalai Lama 'clique' performing protests not in favour of the so-called communist govt 'elite clique'. History shows this 'elite clique' finds it more embarrassing about the current protests in Tibet and saves face by immediately putting complete blame on someone else outside the country, THAN condoning the abhorent and callous murderous rampage by Govt soldiers in Tiannemen Square. It is becoming obvious to the world that the Chinese 'elite clique' government is not a communist government but closer modelling on a fascist dictatorship with no intention of fairness/ equality anywhere for all of it's people. Good luck for the Games.
- Posted by Conscientious Observer
April 4th, 2008
12:02 pm GMT


Conscientious Observer, listen: I can't believe that it exists such stupid and arrogant people as you in the world. I don't want to insult you but....Do you really understand communism and fascist? Have you ever been to China? Yes, Chinese gvn is dictatory gvn, but only the most foolish people in the world still believe that China is communist and I am sure that you were not yet born, even your father was not born when European people suffered fascism.

The Games is just a sport game, what happened in Tibet and what is behind Dalai Lama is a political game. Sport game is healthy but political game is always dirty! Maybe you know what happened in 1959 in Tibet, now we knew behind it was CIA. Now who is behind what happened two weeks ago? Who knows?! So naif, dare boost "Conscientious Observer".
- Posted by philippe
April 6th, 2008
6:21 am GMT


Dear Phillippe, After reading your reply I get the impression that you think that I believe China is a communist state. If you actually understood what I wrote after you read it you would realise I believe the PRC is no longer a communist country. Did you not see and understand the sarcasm in my previous writing?. If not that is ok. Please don't make assumptions of people you know nothing about. The ignorant make assumptions, the ignorant and arrogantly stupid try to make fact of those assumptions. "I don't want to insult you but..." When someone says or writes this statement they needn't go any further because it is usually intended as an insult to the person they are directing it at. China, well it's polluted and beautiful at the same time. The reported actions of the Government towards it's people, business and the environment lead me with the impression that it considers the individual Chinese person to the interests of the State(PRC) and to be obedient to it's authority. It is intolerant of the views of some of the minorities (eg. Tibetan) or the practices of some of the minorities (Falun Gong). Oh, and don't forget that you will find evidence in the media the PRC has displayed the strict enforcement of that obedience to its authority.
The dictionary meanings of fascism from both English literature and other sources are: 1. "Fascism is an authoritarian ideology ... that considers the individual subordinate to the interests of the state, party or society as a whole." 2. "Fascism; noun 1 an authoritarian and nationalistic right-wing system of government. 2 extreme right-wing, authoritarian, or intolerant views or practice...favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority." Philippe, maybe you haven't experienced or read enough of China and it's 'so-called' communist government? So naïf (in English it is naïve), to assume my father was not born when people suffered fascism. I don't want to insult you but.... Listen... Philippe you dare boast (not boost) that you assume the Games is really just a sports game and no government attempts to make it political. Please oh assumed worldly one, enlighten me with your wisdom on the dictatorship of the PRC, the CIA in Tibet and the true meaning of fascism. I honestly 'assume' you will also have the answers to who was behind the fiasco 2 weeks ago. (Now before you go get a big head - I am being sarcastic). If English is not your first language maybe you won't fully understand the rhetoric within my writing until I make it blatantly obvious. But that is ok, if you find it beyond your full comprehension. But hey I respect your views but not your personal insults, (I'm not greedy so I gave them back to you). Next time your in China watch out for that smog....
- Posted by Conscientious Observer
April 7th, 2008
5:11 am GMT


Politic in China not objective. How much money you got? Hope Games goes well. When I go to Beijing I watch out for smog. If Chinese want to see website they can go another part China - Hong Kong la.
- Posted by An
April 7th, 2008
4:25 pm GMT


Can you imagine how hard it would be for China to have a voting system? Florida couldn't manage it a few years back, imagine a country with 1.something billion.
Actually, there is voting here, small towns do have the right to choose who they think should lead them, and they can pick from a list (in the same way the Russians did as well, social pressure from work etc)
And is China a communist country? I think not, I have never seen a more socialist one.
In which communist country do Hospitals, Schools charge, advertise for money giving patients and students?
If you want to look how communism works, look at England. Free health care, free schooling, and government welfare to anyone who wants it (Educated, Skilled people not apply)
- Posted by Travis
April 8th, 2008
10:08 am GMT


WHO CARES!!!! not me Ill not be wacthing any of these shame games except to to see what atheletes to boycott TO shame THEM. they Should all be asshamed of themselfs the chi-coms wanna keep the politics out of it their the jacka%&'s who bring politics in to it in the 1st place they get what they deserve

WELCOME TO THE CHINA SHAME GAMES now I like the sound of that
- Posted by WALLEY
April 9th, 2008
7:10 am GMT


I am in support of the olympics and am eager to see China do well. I think it is highly appropriate that as part of China's "coming-out party" as a world power, they are now being forced to feel the wrath of world opinion that has plagued major world powers for the last several centuries.

Anyone in the West who has not been to China, and who has not really studied it has no place to speak about its internal policies. There's alot to be done better over there, but the progress has been astounding. Pressure from the outside world is a great force for change, but the venom with which many individuals attack the CCP is unfair, to say the least. Running a country of over 1 bil people with a six-thousand year history of looking to strong central leadership is not an easy task. It's doubly hard when admitting failure to the rest of the world on issues like Tibet or Darfur would be welcomed with condescension, not approval.

The Chinese people are increasingly well-educated, well-connected, and more politically-minded than most westerners are able to give them credit for. If things were really so intolerable, there'd have been more uprisings already, but that's not how things are done in China, and it's not likely to change because a few thousand protesters get their knickers in a twist.

Best wishes for the games.
- Posted by Da6d
April 9th, 2008
3:31 pm GMT


Communist China is not ready for the Olympics and never will be. It was a grave mistake by the IOC to hold the summer games there. The gov't is oppressive, definitely not inidcative of what the Olympics are suppossed to represent. I disagree wholeheartedly with the mistaken view that the Olympics are apolitical. They are by their nature inherently political, otherwise why would an athlete be representing a country which is a political entity. Anyway, I oppose the Communist Chinese regime period. We should give the U.N. seat back to Nationalist China as far as I am concerned. I actively boycott products made in/having content from mainland China whenever possible. The international movement against Communist China is in its infancy, but will only grow until there is siginifcant change, e.g. a free and independent Tibet.
- Posted by New Jersey Tom
April 10th, 2008
4:11 am GMT


Hey.. stop belittling china.. they are trying their best to do well.. and we are first hand witnesses of China's determination to do well in all spheres of development. We were amazed to see that despite all the negative publicity, China is actually trying to build itself to be better that Europe or singapore. So what if you have to toe line to the Chinese government.. everybody does that in every country and anyone falling out of line in their own 'free" countries get to go to G. Bay in Cuba..Give them a bit of credit..-Indian
- Posted by From India
April 10th, 2008
12:59 pm GMT


I started to suspect how many Tibetans in the world and they don't need to work? How can they follow the Torch relay all the time? Who is behind them? With what kind of political agenda?

I have just got a mail from one friend from London. It proved something I am suspecting. Here it is:
I went to see the torch relay on 4 th of Apr?one of western pro -tibet supporter came to chinese student to ask a bottle of water,They don't want to give to him. and he said ,come on.Don't be like that, They said why we have to give to you one? he said. for work! oh oh? funny.is it? who is those people? Do they really want to be the free tibet group or they just came for something else? for example,6 pounds per hour like working in supermarket? who knows?
- Posted by philippe
April 11th, 2008
7:35 am GMT


Conscientious Observer and all other writers here, would you please search an article named "Risky Geopolitical Game: Washington Plays 'Tibet Roulette' with China" in the site globalresearch.

I am considering how many Tibetains outside China... They don't need to work? How can they follow the torch relay everywhere of the world? Who is behind them? All documents in this article answer my question: who is behind all these turmoil: the US.

I have another link in French. However, I think most of you can't undertand french, so ..
- Posted by philippe
April 13th, 2008
7:25 pm GMT


Since when hasn't there been various organisations in collarboration with a government trying to remove or destabilize the power of a larger country's government? Since when hasn't the various entities, secret or otherwise, within the USA government been playing 'chess' on a global scale with other countries / regimes etc.? Ok, yes, before the existence of the US, 300+ years ago, but then it was various European countries. What else isn't new? The 'Tibetans' outstide China have obviously got a lot of time on their hands. Then there are the questions, how many are really Tibetan, how many of these protesters are really 'professional protesters' that get paid to do so (by NED/welfare), or are career criminals looking for an opportunity to steal, burn and/or assault as many police as possible. NED isn't necessarily supporting these 'Tibetans'. F. William Engdahl has put forward a few very interesting ideas. However, unless you are within those riots yourself, check and confirm everyone's nationality, you cannot rely solely on the media reports for such specific information. On reading the French version, one day I will make time for an excercise in reading French or determining what may be lost in translation. Dear Phillippe there is the impression that you may be anti US, now anti english... Is this how you 'win friends and influence people'? (faire les amis et influencer d'autres personnes).
- Posted by Conscientious Observer
April 14th, 2008
4:31 am GMT


I amnot anti-english or anti-US. Where can you get this impression? Ok. please stop the debate between us two.

The tropic of the debate is Tibet, China and the Games.
It is not French version, it is another article: an interview. If you would like to, please try to find an interview in the site of socio13.wordpress. The interview named "Tibet : Réponses sur l'Histoire, la religion, la classe des moines, les problèmes sociaux, la répression, le rôle des USA..." It is an interview with a French-speaking scientist (more or less) who worked 3 years in Tibet. After reading it, first, I didn't entirely believe it, only considered it as her own view. However, when I see what is happening now and the article written by Engdahl, I believe this interview.

My logic is here: who has gains (qui gagne) from what is happening now? Tibetans? Not really. China, surely no. So should there be someboby gain something, n'est-ce pas? Who? Who is behind all these? With what political or/and economical purpose? Do you really believe all these happened in Tibet without organisation?
- Posted by philippe

http://blogs.reuters.com/china/2008/03/27/is-china-ready-for-the-olympics/

7.
The BBC' story

Is China ready for the Olympics?

By Michael Bristow
BBC News, Beijing

In the swish surroundings of the former US embassy in Beijing, the medals for this summer's Olympic Games were recently unveiled.

It was the final stage of a process that had seen gold, silver and bronze brought to China from mines in Australia and Chile.

The preparations for other aspects of the games also appear to be on track - organising officials say they are confident that everything is in place.

But while venues and transport facilities seem ready, there are doubts about some other Olympic plans - not least as regards Beijing's poor air quality.

'Absolutely confident'

Jiang Xiaoyu, a senior official with Beijing's Olympic organising committee, was at the former embassy complex for the medal ceremony.

"We are fully prepared for the opening of the Olympic Games. All preparations are in place," he said after posing for pictures with the medals.

Mr Jiang said the last few weeks would be spent on the final details; perfecting the command and control system and training venue staff.

The International Olympic Committee, which awarded Beijing this year's summer games in 2001, seems equally pleased with preparations at this stage.

Giselle Davies, the IOC's communications director, said: "We are absolutely confident that everything that needs to be in place will be."

That is no small feat. At the Athens Olympics four year ago, there were constant worries that competition venues would not be finished on time.

Spruced up

Beijing has experienced no such problems - and is proud of that fact.

All 31 competition venues in the city - 12 of which have been built specially for this event - are finished. Some were ready months ago.

The main 91,000-seater arena, known as the Bird's Nest because of its unusual design, was declared ready last month.

When it won the right to host the Olympics, Beijing also embarked on an ambitious plan to improve the city's transport network.

It has built subway lines, introduced new buses and taxis, and earlier this year opened a stunning new airport terminal.

City streets have been spruced up in order to give the best impression - in some places high walls have been built to hide Beijing's shabbier districts.

And officials appear to have attempted to bring more order to the city's often chaotic streets - particularly in older and poorer areas.

Some street vendors have disappeared, and many migrant workers are being told to leave the city because they do not have permission to stay.



About 8,000 workers will be responsible for keeping Beijing's notoriously smelly public toilets clean and well stocked with soap and paper.

On any given day, should there by an air quality problem, events could be re-scheduled


Foreign athletes, dignitaries and spectators will see a much smarter, cleaner Beijing when they arrive for the start of the games on 8 August.

Beijing officials have also been working hard to prepare the public for what is probably the biggest international event ever held in China.

Slogans, posters and information sheets have been put up across the city, telling people how to behave.

There have been numerous campaigns to get rid of habits foreign visitors might find unsavoury - spitting being the most obvious example.

Many people, including central Beijing resident Wang Kuiying, agree with the campaigns.

"We need to be civilised, welcome the Olympics and develop a good attitude. Everyone is clear about this," said the 70-year-old.

Pollution fears

Ensuring security is another major concern; tens of thousands of soldiers, police and volunteers - ordinary people - will be patrolling the streets in August.

But not everything appears to have gone according to plan - for much of the past few weeks Beijing has been enveloped in smog.

The city was due to spend more than $12bn (£6bn; 7.7m euros) cleaning up the environment before the games, and some of that was to go on improving air quality.

But Mike Tancred, media director for the Australian Olympic Committee, said his country's athletes were worried about Beijing's air pollution.

"I know the Chinese authorities are doing their best to take cars off the roads and close factories, but it's still a problem," he said.

The IOC believes most athletes will be unaffected by the pollution, but those taking part in endurance events lasting more than one hour could be at risk.

"On any given day, should there by an air quality problem, events could be re-scheduled," admitted the IOC's Giselle Davies.

If that happens, the city's smog, and not the otherwise good preparations, could be the abiding memory of the Beijing Olympic Games.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/7489623.stm

8. Some comments on a blog from Toffler in Shanghai - visit his blog at http://tofflerann.com/about/



Global news media has widely discussed how well (or not) Beijing is preparing for the Olympics with regards to pollution control and infrastructure/superstructure development, but what about less widely publicized aspects of the preparation?

Beijing doesn't have the same problem Athens had, where its infrastructure and superstructure construction for the 2004 Olympics was so far behind. Beijing has been able to complete all of its massive-scale construction projects on-time or ahead of schedule with cheap, migrant labor imported from the countryside. Thousands of workers have come in from rural areas across the country to build roads, subway lines, hotels, even the Olympic stadiums themselves. These people just float from job to job, staying in whatever barracks are provided by the employer. When the job finishes, the employer tears down the barracks (again in preparation for the Olympics) and the employees are forced to move on. So when Olympics construction is over and thousands of construction workers are left jobless and homeless in Beijing, what does the government plan to do? Remove them, preferably using incentives, but forcibly, if necessary. The government can't have migrant workers cluttering the streets and sidewalks because Beijing has to have a clean, clear appearance for the Games. The government also can't risk protests and complaints from these under- or unpaid workers during the Games. These workers need to be out of Beijing by August 8. Removing the workers is just another task to be completed in time for the Games.
Beijing has absolutely sprouted luxury housing developments in the past few years. Advertisements around the city, particularly in elevators, display the glamor and wealth that living in these new places convey. But will Olympics visitors see these advertisements? Nope, they are being removed so as to minimize the obviousness of the wealth gap. Beijing doesn't want to make the difference between those who build the luxury accommodations and those who live in them any more apparent.

Beijing is also requiring all on-going construction projects to at least 'look finished' by the time the Games start. The government doesn't want a city that still seems to be under construction. Though there will be construction projects within the 3rd Ring Road that won't be finished by the time the games start, they are required to appear completed from the outside. Will this actually be the case? Questionable. More than once such a mandate and associated deadline have been issued; however, contractors have failed to comply and Beijing still looks like a construction site (think new CCTV building). It remains to be seen whether the completed look will be intact by August.

In an effort to reduce vehicle pollution and congestion on the roads, Beijing will take more than a million cars off the road during the Games. Whose cars are those? They're all government cars. Beijing residents said that a test run made traffic move so much more smoothly; they got to where they were going in half the time. They also said the air quality greatly improved.

A large steel factory near Beijing was permanently closed and moved to the nearby port city of Tianjin. Other industries and factories will also be shut down either permanently or temporarily to improve air quality for the Games.

Beijing will of course be ready for the Games in terms of infrastructure and superstructure, but what about culturally and linguistically? Only a very small percentage of Beijing's residents can speak English at a level as to be useful to tourists. Taxi drivers are a lost cause. For all that Beijing boasts to have invested in English training for taxi drivers, only a handful even have basics such as 'hello,' 'bye,' and 'you American?' said with a greedy look on their face. Most can't understand "Olympics stadiums" and couldn't speak English to save their life. What about other languages-French, Spanish, Arabic? Nope, not in the least.

The answer to whether Beijing is ready, culturally, to host more than half a million foreigners is complex, but the simple answer is, no. A few examples: spitting, smoking indoors, public urination and defecation, cutting in line, pushing at crosswalks. A more detailed example: any Chinese with a business mind (and they all have one) see the Games and this many tourists as a huge money-making opportunity. They can already envision themselves rolling in the cash that they're going to make. How do I know this? Accommodation prices. Apartment owners won't sign a new tenant lease that extends past July because they want to rent the apartment for more than $2000 per night during the Olympics. Crap hotels no foreigner would even consider other times of the year plan to charge upwards of $200 per night. What does this mean in the long-term? Olympics visitors will leave with such a poor impression of China they'll tell everyone back home how horrible of a place China is thereby dissuading others from going to China. This will lead to a decline in China visitor arrivals and a decrease in tourism spending. This mentality of 'why make $10 tomorrow when you can make a $1 today?' is perhaps the prime example of how China is not culturally ready to host the Olympics.

Some aspects of the preparation for the Olympics almost seem too controlled, but other areas that are more meaningful to visitors can't be made ready even by an authoritarian government. Will Beijing host a successful Olympics? Most likely. Will China receive long-term benefits including increasing visitor arrivals as a result of a positive feelings and good will created during the Olympics? Doubtful.

http://tofflerann.com/2008/02/26/is-beijing-ready-for-the-olympics/
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