Two recent Western comments on the Chinese preparation for the Beijing Olympics caught my eye. 1. According to James Fallows, the Chinese authorities’ tightening of control over the situation was defeating their own purpose of impressing their audience – the West, especially its media. 2. Meanwhile, Richard Spencer at the Daily Times started to wonder aloud over his fish pond in his Hutong residence who the games’ intended audience really was. Could it be that the Olympics were designed as a reward for the hardworking Chinese, instead of a “coming out party” to entertain foreigners? My first reaction was Spencer had a more astute grasp on the Chinese psyche. Then I realized both comments could be right, but apply to different stages of the Chinese experience with the Olympics.
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In 2002, this rock formation was found in Pintang county, in Guizhou province. This rock face is apparently one half of a larger boulder that split about 500 years ago. The local government began to insist that the formation, itself approximately 270 million years old, reads “Chinese Communist Party” (中国共产党). If you believe local press reports, local villagers have started calling the stone the “Savior’s Stone” (救星石). Conveniently, it has become a tourist destination in Guizhou province. (See promotional video.)
Ironically, it’s not the Communist Party or the mainland press that focuses on the “savior stone” these days. Even though Guizhou, also the site of the recent Weng’an riots, is one of the poorest, most backward regions in China… I think the mainland public is way too sophisticated for this kind of nonsense.
Instead, it’s the Falun Gong that finds the topic most interesting. Why? Because with completely seriousness, it insists the rock formation actually has another character to the right: “dies” (亡). See FLG-produced video for the full, comical story.