Sunday, August 3, 2008

China's Other Games

So after I reposted my 2001 essay on why China should not have been awarded the 2008 Olympics, my editors at the Philadelphia Inquirer invited me to revisit the topic on the eve of the Beijing Games. Here's what runs today in the paper's Op-Ed section...

China's other games


One especially cold week in early 2001, inspectors for the International Olympic Committee were in Beijing poking around in advance of making a recommendation as to whether the Chinese deserved to host the 2008 Summer Games.

It was the heart of a particularly bitter winter, so the dead grass outside the hotel of the IOC emissaries could be forgiven. Still, cameras for CNN caught workers spraying some green substance in the middle of the night to make it seem unseasonably lush. The China Daily would later refute that charge, denying it was paint, calling it, instead, a "color-enhancement substance."

Moral: Nobody should be surprised, as we peer ahead to this week's opening ceremonies for the Olympics, that things are not as the Chinese promised they would be. Painting the grass was only the most ridiculous and unnecessary lie they told to get this far, but it also symbolized just how absurdly far they'd go to secure this honor.

There were more than enough reasons in 2001 to know that this nation - operated by a brutal, greedy autocracy, more adept at stirring up nationalistic fervor than any since the Nazis - was faking its way to the altar with legacy-seeking IOC chief Jacques Rogge and the rest of his gang.

In fact, I listed several of them in these very pages on July 23, 2001. "When the free champagne stops flowing," I wrote then, ". . . those who were swept up in rooting for this accomplishment may wake to the reality that this could be a huge fiasco."

Honey, the alarm clock's ringing.

Read the rest HERE


Anonymous said...

This one of the worest piece of ignorant, biased and clueless writings I have seen. And I have read a lot of articles that are critical of China. This can only be called a China-bashing article that may appear on the pro/con section of a junior high school paper.

China is a very complex country w/ its long history; anyone who calls himself a journalist has got to do a little bit of research about the context of the topic he is writting. Otherwise, you are just mocking and disrespecting the readers.

For an example of more nuanced, objective, thoughtful news article read the one below instead. Steve Friess is a disgrace. By publishing garbage like this, no wonder Philly Inquirer is going down the toilet and everyone else in the world is complaining the American public knows squat about the world. Steve, go to China for awhile, learn some history, talk to the Chinese people, before you let the world know how ignorant you are. Shameful. Shameless

China needs proof of democracy’s advantage
By Arthur Kroeber
Published: August 3 2008 19:31 |

Bay in TN said...

ROFL at the anonymous commenter above -- sour grapes, anyone?

I'm so disappointed that the IOC chose a Chinese city. I'll be largely ignoring the Olympics as a result.

You know, the world drops by China for a little visit, and we cough and hack and worry about the longterm effects on those visitors. But the world will pack up its bags and leave in a few short weeks. The people who live there have to stay there with that ridiculous government.

That's really the saddest part, isn't it?