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Friday, March 21, 2008

Will China Ruin the Beijing Olympics?

Yes.

Smog.
With Haile Gebrselassie likely skipping the Beijing Olympics because of pollution caused by errant Chinese policy, the gold medal winner will have an asterisk next to his name. The only way to supplant this will be to break the world record. But, outside of that unlikelihood, a win in the marathon, a key event, will be about as official as a 1980 medal in the 100 meters. Who wants to say, "I won, but..." Distance runners aren't in the same low integrity category as, say, Major League Baseball's Barry Bonds.

Tiananmen Square.
Site of protests that ended in the Chinese military murdering college students, in an event that made the USA's Kent State Massacre look like an Amish gathering. China is considering banning Tiananmen broadcasts. They fear protests:
The communist government's resorting to heavy-handed measures runs the risk of undermining Beijing's pledge to the International Olympic Committee that the games would promote greater openness in what a generation ago was still an isolated China. If still in place by the games, they could alienate the half-million foreigners expected at the games.
The fear of protests is reasonable. China's citizens did not forget 1989's killings, or the white washing the Chinese government did. They have not forgotten the continued oppression demonstrated through the shutting down of internet cafes, and otherwise inhibiting dialogue between China's average person and the free world.

Now, by killing protesters in Tibet, and blocking YouTube access, lest the rest if China see, and lest the Chinese citizen freely post videos for you and I to see, China must fear protests. Nothing unexpected by me.

So for those of us who remember how Presiden Jimmy Carter ruined the 1980 Moscow Olympics, we will endure Hu Jintao, President of China make a shameful mess of what could have been great public relations.

Then again, nine years after the Moscow Olympics, the Communist walls fell. Maybe there is hope after all?

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