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Sep 18

2008 Beijing Paralympics Ends

Written by Allen on Thursday, September 18th, 2008 at 7:20 am
Filed under:-mini-posts, culture, General, News | Tags:,
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Without too much fanfare in the West, the 2008 Beijing Paralympics has ended almost as fast as the main Olympics events had rushed onto the world stage.  It’s hard to imagine that in a little over 1 month – the whole hoopla that is the Beijing Olympics has officially ended

By most accounts, the Paralympics – including the events, the organization, the public support, the coordination, and of course the performances – is as successful, if not more successful, than the main Olympics event.  It has created an opportunity to reveal to the world a softer, gentler side of China.  The Paralympics may also have started a quiet revolution in China where the rights and potentials of the handicapped and disabled are more respected and appreciated.

Below are a few pictures of the closing ceremony obtained from various sources.  Enjoy!

Fireworks at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to mark the start of the Paralympic closing ceremony. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

Fireworks at the Bird’s Nest in Beijing to mark the start of the Paralympic closing ceremony. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

The athletes enter the stadium. (AP/Andy Wong)

The athletes enter the stadium. (AP/Andy Wong)

Performers form a giant envelope on the stadium floor as part of the ceremony’s theme, “Letter From Beijing.” (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Performers form a giant envelope on the stadium floor as part of the ceremony’s theme, “Letter From Beijing.” (Reuters/Jason Lee)

Dancers representing the Yellow River. (AP/Greg Baker)

Dancers representing the Yellow River. (AP/Greg Baker)

“Leaves” descend from the roof of the Bird’s Nest. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

“Leaves” descend from the roof of the Bird’s Nest. (Goh Chai Hin/AFP/Getty Images)

Performers representing postmen descend from the stadium roof. (Reuters/Alfred Cheng Jin)

Performers representing postmen descend from the stadium roof. (Reuters/Alfred Cheng Jin)

A blind girl singing during the middle portion of the ceremony. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

A blind girl singing during the middle portion of the ceremony. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

(Li Xin/AFP/Getty Images)

(Li Xin/AFP/Getty Images)

Performers enacting a portion of the show in which a young woman reads a love letter. (Reuters/Claro Cortes IV)

Performers enacting a portion of the show in which a young woman reads a love letter. (Reuters/Claro Cortes IV)

The Paralympic flame lights the stadium. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Paralympic flame lights the stadium. (Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

The Paralympic mascots cavort on the stadium floor with “postmen” and other performers. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

The Paralympic mascots cavort on the stadium floor with “postmen” and other performers. (Peter Parks/AFP/Getty Images)

(Reuters/Claro Cortes IV)

(Reuters/Claro Cortes IV)

The final fireworks display. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

The final fireworks display. (Feng Li/Getty Images)

The Beijing flame extinguished, to be rekindled in London in 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee)

The Beijing flame extinguished, to be rekindled in London in 2012. (Reuters/Jason Lee)


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53 Responses to “2008 Beijing Paralympics Ends”

  1. Wukailong Says:

    Unfortunately there hasn’t been much fanfare here either, but I’m happy to see how, for example, the stairways in the subway work well with wheelchairs. There’s been a lot of people in wheelchairs around the last couple of days, so it’s been obvious.

  2. Charles Liu Says:

    Finally over, we are free to go back to our mundain lives. No more “Genocide Olympics”, “live organ harvesting”, “crooked teeth banned from Birdnest” BS.

  3. Netizen K Says:

    They came, they saw, and they found the truth.

  4. pug_ster Says:

    I saw the paralympic opening because I had time to watch it during the weekends. The closing happened on a Wednesday. I wonder if I can watch this online…

  5. admin Says:

    @pug_ster

    Yes, to watch the ceremony online, go to this link.

  6. tontp4 Says:

    It is a catalyst to make more cities in China wheel-chair friendly.

  7. Nimrod Says:

    “By most accounts, the Paralympics – including the events, the organization, the public support, the coordination, and of course the performances – is as successful, if not more successful, than the main Olympics event.”

    +++++
    Yes, I think it was indeed more successful. Part of the reason is exactly that it was an event allowed to take place “normally”, without too much of the externally injected political crap. In fact, this fully exposes the Olympics protestors for what they are — attention-seeking lowlifes. They didn’t care about the issues at all, or else why did they all leave when the limelight wasn’t on them? And those arguing China was the one politicizing the Olympics — they can swallow their words, too. China didn’t make the Olympics any more political than the Paralympics, yet nobody thought the Paralympics were political. So who actually politicized these Games has become blindingly obvious, as has their hypocrisy.

    Shame on those bastards. Combined with what has gone on in world economics during these Olympics, I hope the world realizes that China is actually the more responsible stakeholder in the world community.

  8. FOARP Says:

    @Nimrod – As an “attention seeking lowlife”, who “didn’t care about the issues at all” and a “bastard” I really have no words for you, except to say you have a lot to learn.

  9. Allen Says:

    @FOARP,

    I think Nimrod and I are just upset that some people in the West have tried to upstage the Olympics for their own cause… at the expense of a “Chinese coming out party ” – and despite the Chinese people’s aspiration to stage a really wonderful Olympics for the world.

  10. Nimrod Says:

    FOARP,

    Everybody is a person in real life, even protestors, so any negative comment will draw a reaction. Should I be more sensitive? Would it have been better to write “some Olympics protestors” rather than “the Olympics protestors”? Maybe, but let’s be less sensitive over this and grasp what I actually mean: it’s not “protesting” that makes me angry, it’s how it’s done and why it’s done. Did China deserve to host the Olympics? No? Then why does it deserve to host the Paralympics? Think about it carefully. Nobody farted about the Genocide Paralymipcs, did they?

  11. TommyBahamas Says:

    FOARP….???? !!!!!….(No words) Shaka, bro….Knowledge maybe power, but “god,” I’ve been told is humble, kind, and infinitely patient.

  12. Leo Says:

    I second Nimrod’s sentiments.

  13. RMBWhat Says:

    Totally agree with Nimrod. It’s all just for show and advancing “their” agendas.

  14. RMBWhat Says:

    The truth is it’s all Chinese this and Chinese that, because they don’t like the Chinese. No matter what we do we’re always the enemy.

  15. RMBWhat Says:

    By they I mean these elements…

    LOL, what am I talking about it? Maybe it ain’t that deep? But I just feel like their is always this element out there that is against us. Which is fine, I guess. People have to the right to hate on whomever they want.

  16. pug_ster Says:

    @Admin

    Thanks. I thought the closing ceremony is very nice. Too bad that it wasn’t televised here in the US and I have to watch it thru the web. The only comment is why is Boris Johnson can’t button his jacket?

  17. Wukailong Says:

    @pug_ster: “The only comment is why is Boris Johnson can’t button his jacket?”

    I’ve enjoyed Boris Johnson’s comical appearance since I learned about him a year ago. He just has no sense of style, or perhaps that is his image. 🙂

  18. Wukailong Says:

    Er… Boris has some pretty weird/dumb/nationalistic views. I just found this on Wikiquote:

    “The Chinese have a script so fiendishly complicated that they cannot produce a proper keyboard for it.”

    “The problem is not that we were once in charge, but that we are not in charge any more… Consider Uganda, pearl of Africa, as an example of the British record. … the British planted coffee and cotton and tobacco, and they were broadly right… If left to their own devices, the natives would rely on nothing but the instant carbohydrate gratification of the plantain.”

    “That is the best case for Bush; that, among other things, he liberated Iraq. It is good enough for me.”

  19. MoneyBall Says:

    @FOARP,

    Did you pull off any protest during Olympics in public? did you climb on a pole? lay down in tiananmen squre pretending dead? wear yourself a snowlion flag while naked?(LOL this one didnt actually happen but I thought its a good idea for students4tibet chicks),You didnt even dare to vandalize a hotel room. All you did is yapping on internet.

    So dont flatter youself, you are not an attention whore, at least not a good one. You may be a whote but failed to get attention. LOL.

  20. Wukailong Says:

    “lay down in tiananmen squre pretending dead?”

    I wonder what the effect would be of that in terms of a protest. I can imagine myself lying down on the square, but would probably avoid it for fear of getting dusty. I’m not sure the policemen would grab me for such a thing.

  21. FOARP Says:

    @Moneyball – I thought the protest during the Olympics were ineffectual at best, nobody in China was going to be convinced. I also thought the politicisation of the Olympics by the CCP was ridiculous, and I am glad that the Olympics are returning to free soil.

  22. Hongkonger Says:

    The War On Democracy by John Pilger

    Journalism at its BEST:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1zZNbqi53o

  23. Netizen K Says:

    @Moneyball,

    FOARP is an anti-China neocon. He once lied about Dashan’s blocking some website.

    Edit: Let’s please generally refrain from name-calling and labeling of a poster. It’s not productive.

  24. Leo Says:

    FOAR:

    “I also thought the politicisation of the Olympics [b]by the CCP[/b] was ridiculous, and I am glad that the Olympics are returning to [b]free soil[/b]”

    I am really amused by this pathetic comment. This guy has downgraded several classes since I got to know him.

  25. andyjh Says:

    Nimrod,

    It’s never unreasonable to take advantage of a moment when people around the world are watching and listening to publicise a noble cause. Opportunist, yes of course, but you can’t blame them for that. Now the their moment has passed: the Paralympics do not garner nearly so much global attention. They have moved on; probably already started planning for the Shanghai expo!

    “Everybody is a person in real life, even protestors.”

    You make them sound like a lower class. Even if you do not support a protestor’s cause you must surely respect their passion and pro-active approach? Shouldn’t we be praising those who take an interest in other peoples’ strife? And isn’t it nice to think that if you suffer a serious injustice one day that someone unknown to you – perhaps even in a different country – will take up your cause? The societal and political institutions that permit and encourage protests are to be cherished, not derided. Hell, it beats apathy.

    Finally, don’t essentialise the China bashers by thinking that all those who demonstrated at the Olympics are necessarily anti-China. Highlighting a country’s problems does not constitute a wholesale rejection of everything that country stands for. One million (that’s one million) marched against the Iraq war in London, yet I wager the majority of those still enjoy the economic, social and democratic benefits that come with UK citizenship. I have no doubt that many of those activists from the Olympics have campaigned and will continue to campaign elsewhere, on any number of issues. Sure, maybe they don’t fully understand China, but can you blame them for seeking support for what they see as a travesty of *international* justice?

    90,000 protests in China last year. Sounds a lot to me. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2008/sep/19/china)

  26. Charles Liu Says:

    Hmmm, “free soil”? 2010 is going to be in Vancouver, I wonder how “free” the First People feel…

  27. Leo Says:

    andyjh,

    It is unreasonable to take the advantage of the moments of weakness of one people. The general public in China have made their sentiments very clear that such actions are not welcome. The Western media and individuals want to make it appear that it was opposite. A lot of activists said in their press release that they want to help the Chinese and speak for the Chinese and the Chinese are not allowed to speak for themselves. But when they realized it was not so, they went on to say that the Chinese were brainwashed and didnt know what was good or not. Such guise is simply paternalistic and imperialist. I read from a source that a group of Free Tibet people demonstrating in a Beijing park were lynched by a mob of kids and retired seniors. Later this group said in a press release that they were attacked by a group of plainclothes agents. How sad are these people!

    One million marched in London? That’s fine. That’s their army that’s in Iraq and the policies made by their elected officials. That’s simply their own problems in their own hands on their own turf. The Olympic torch relay went through London and Paris they have got their due and the Chinese have also made their statement by showing their displeasure and boycotting French products. Now they went on to our homes to do whatever they felt like. Now that was plainly rudeness!

  28. Nimrod Says:

    andyjh,

    By “Everybody is a person in real life, even protestors”, I did not mean to debase protestors, but to acknowledge that people like FOARP are real people and will get offended by even anonymous comments online. I acknowledged that perhaps we all got a little angry, but then all courtesy aside, it didn’t change my point, which I thought I had already made pretty clear, but here it is again: it’s not “protesting” that makes me angry, it’s how it’s done and why it’s done.

    Real protests I can understand. But I don’t agree with protesting as a method to “publicize a noble cause.” Protesting has turned into some kind of post-modern art form or entertainment for the self-amusement of the participants. That contrasts with real protests that express genuine grievances and aim for resolving particular problems … you know, something that deserves the word “protest”. If it’s a publicity exercise, or advertisement, then let’s not even call it a protest, because anybody can act in an ad, whether he has an interest in the issues or not — they are actors.

    It seems we have tacit agreement here that those Olympics “protestors” were actors in some publicity exercise by seeing how they act (during the Olympics) or not act (during the Paralympics). If so, they should have done things legitimately by buying ads on TV any time, any day. They could have publicized anything that way. In fact, why didn’t they? I’m angry that they decided to crash somebody else’s show (let’s call the Olympics that for the sake of argument) and had the shamelessness to pretend these were expressions of genuine grievance and to believe that they therefore should receive free attention. Wouldn’t you call such people lowlifes and bastards under most other circumstances?

  29. Nobody Says:

    LEO, You ARE the Man. I am raising even my legs in agreement with your above comments #24 & #27

  30. Wahaha Says:

    Ask those protestors if they went to the Tibet museum before they protested.

    I am NOT arguing if the museum tells the truth or not. My point is if they didnt go, then they are simply some idiots who only believe what they want to believe, as they have no interests listening to the other side of story.

  31. Nobody Says:

    Leo, Nimrod, and especially Wahaha, by your comments you guys are branded pro-China, *RED propagandists~!

    *Yes, in the minds of those who are still hung up on “RED States” can’t seem to see beyond yesterday’s history books and yesterday’s news reports. China’s favorite color maybe red, but we are a socialist Capitalist State with Chinese Characteristics.

    “acknowledge that people like FOARP are real people and will get offended…”

    This Englishman I suspect knows a thing or two about history, I must say, but his handle FOARP tells it all – it is the acronym for Fear Of A Red Planet. And I am pretty sure he is not refering to Mars here. I have friends who are well versed in American & European history too, and a very polite gentleman as a whole, that is until you say anything good about the CCP…All his objectivity and politeness just grow wings and fly out the windows. But he is my friend and so these days I try to avoid certain subjects with after many aforementioned unpleasant exchanges. I still like to bait him for my own twisted sense of humor though, LOL.

  32. Charles Liu Says:

    Yup, the “Red China” static view says it all.

  33. andyjh Says:

    Leo, I’m not so sure what the “weakness of one people” means in this context. Perhaps taking advantage of the national emotion that was invested in the Olympics? There’s a time and a place, yes, but would those protestors have been granted their time and place in Ritan Park? None of the other 77 applications were.

    Of course you are right: imperial attitudes die hard and there remains a good deal of cultural chauvinism on the part of Western (as if itis a monolith) watchers, visitors and demonstrators. Whilst there is a condescending attitude towards the presumed education level of the baixing, but I’m not sure if anyone really considers them ‘brainwashed’ any more. State-monopolised media and closely monitored release of information, maybe, but even the most ardent of China critics accepts that the Great Firewall is at worst an inconvenience. We perhaps give the Chinese more credit than China likes to give us credit for.

    ‘Rude’? Leo, I again take your point that when protesting on national issues on national soil you are on safer ground (I speak metaphorically). But some of the issues about which people protest – indeed, most of the issues – have an air of universality about them. Forced evictions are wrong anywhere in the world, arbitrary detention is wrong anywhere in the world etc. Such issues surely require more international solidarity and global action than ever before, so I see no reason for one to feel that an audience anywhere should be out of reach.

    Nimrod, you are right to note that some people protest for the sake of protesting, but normatively protests start because of some widely felt and authentic sense of injustice, not on a whim. We certainly wouldn’t bother to pay for a visa and return flight to China, knowing that we would be arrested within minutes of performance, if we thought the whole thing was just a laugh or something fashionable. (I say ‘we’; it’s not something I’ve done). People devote a lot of time and effort to such causes so to say that they are not genuinely concerned about the issues on which they act seems more than a tad derisory.

    As FOARP notes above, the problem for the Free Tibet guys is that in Beijing, where they are most keen for their cause to be heard, they are largely preaching to the unconvertible. (I assume largely that lay Chinese are their target audience, which I suppose is only partly correct.) Perhaps (almost definitely) they were wasting their time, but on this subject Western protestors operate with a degree of immunity in China that is ill-afforded to its own citizens. Is it nosiness, meddling or a new imperialism to speak on behalf of others in an arena where the message will gain the widest (if not its most receptive) audience?

    Nimrod, if you don’t approve of protesting to publicise a noble cause, then for what do you approve of protesting?! You may well disagree about the situation re:Tibet, but you surely can’t deny it’s a serious issue with a specific concrete and achievable goal, at least in the eyes of those taking the action? Are human rights abuses not a topic worthy of protest?

    ‘Advertisement’? Yes, bang on. An advert and a protest are similar in that they attempt to persuade an audience to take a particular cause of action, whether it be buying shampoo or pushing for specific rights. If protesting is a ‘post-modern art’ form then that’s usually because it’s an effective way to put across a message, not typically art for art’s sake.

    Nimrod, come on! Buy TV time for advertising such a cause? The day that CCTV broadcasts such a piece is the day the sun rises in the West!

    I cannot re-iterate my point strongly enough: it should not matter whether or not you agree with what the protestors say, the right to protest peacefully and without fear of reprisal remains one of our most fundamental liberties. Who are you or I to judge whether their cause is just?

    And in case you were in any doubt, I wouldn’t call them lowlifes or bastards. (And sorry that’s turned into a bit of an epic.)

  34. Nimrod Says:

    andyjh,

    Nimrod, come on! Buy TV time for advertising such a cause? The day that CCTV broadcasts such a piece is the day the sun rises in the West!

    Chinese people don’t read LED’s that say “Free Tibet” in English. The protests obviously target an English speaking audience, so forget CCTV. The only people covering these protestors anyway were the foreign media. I already wondered at the time why the both of them (protestors and media) couldn’t do all of that at home but had to travel afar to Beijing to meet each other. What was the point? For the backdrop, perhaps? To get that picture of Mao in Tiananmen Square? Neither apparently cared what Chinese people thought, so what a waste to be in Beijing.

    We certainly wouldn’t bother to pay for a visa and return flight to China, knowing that we would be arrested within minutes of performance, if we thought the whole thing was just a laugh or something fashionable… People devote a lot of time and effort to such causes so to say that they are not genuinely concerned about the issues on which they act seems more than a tad derisory.

    Oh boy… do you know what people do for “experience”, even if it is just to “stand up to the man”? People do devote a lot of energy to these things, but on what specifically? I only see that they are genuinely concerned about getting attention. I really don’t see how they show their concern about the issues if they don’t even know the issues well.

    If protesting is a ‘post-modern art’ form then that’s usually because it’s an effective way to put across a message, not typically art for art’s sake.

    Don’t you think they could have gotten a good, serious ad onto NBC, CBC, or BBC, the broadcasters of the Olympics, and have been many times more effective for their target audience? They didn’t. And what they did instead wasn’t effective (almost never is). So art it was. (Wasn’t one guy very proud of his laser graffiti art?)

    Nimrod, if you don’t approve of protesting to publicise a noble cause, then for what do you approve of protesting?! You may well disagree about the situation re:Tibet, but you surely can’t deny it’s a serious issue with a specific concrete and achievable goal, at least in the eyes of those taking the action? Are human rights abuses not a topic worthy of protest?

    Again, real protests I can understand. Real protests are self-publicizing because there are serious grievances and serious demands being presented in protest. They aren’t an abstract exercise in publicizing something else.

    Sorry, trying to get free advertisement time by disrupting (and calling the cost of disruption legitimate by pretending it is a “protest”) is no good in my book.

    Of course on Tibet there is a serious issue with a specific concrete and achievable goal, and demands one can make, and reasonable things to do, all of that. But that’s not what they are interested in. You are probably right that they’ve moved on to the Shanghai Expo 2010, but what do you think they are spending their time and brains on? How to get free attention by new ways to display their “Free Tibet” graffiti, or any of the actual concerns above? The efforts of planning and executing these protests have little relevance to any specific cause. The cause is freely substitutible. Heck, a cause isn’t even needed. So tell me, is that still “protesting” or is that something else? Think about it.

  35. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod:
    ” it’s not “protesting” that makes me angry, it’s how it’s done and why it’s done.”
    “Real protests I can understand. But I don’t agree with protesting as a method to “publicize a noble cause.””

    Say what? The whole point of a protest is to draw attention to a cause. If the protest itself doesn’t make you angry, but the “why” that does, then you must get angry every time anyone has a grievance they’d like to publicize, with which you disagree. And why is it that other peoples’ grievances anger you so? In that vein, do pro-CHina protesters anger you too, not so much by what they’re doing, but by why they’re doing it? BTW, Tibet protests are an abstraction for what else, exactly? Would you have tolerated it more if their banners read “down with the CCP”?

  36. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Charles #26:
    ….compared to…..Tibetans? I dunno. How ’bout I go ask our FIrst Nations, and you somehow go and survey Tibetans.

  37. S.K. Cheung Says:

    All this belly-aching about people using the Olympics as a vehicle for protest is mildly amusing. Did China host the Olympics merely to showcase sport? Or did she hope to use it as a vehicle to showcase China? If you honestly believe it was completely the former, then good on you. But if you’ve subjected yourself to enough of a reality check to acknowledge that it was at least a combo of both, then it shouldn’t be such a shock that others might use said vehicle to showcase China in a slightly different light. You host an event that draws enough light, and you should expect that not all the light will be focused in the same direction. C’est la vie. Best to go deal already.

  38. Hongkonger Says:

    C’est la vie, ma chérie – a jilted french speaker
    今宵有酒今宵醉- 雷公电母常添秀,雨过天晴花依旧 – Ah Q
    Non-cooperation is a measure of discipline and sacrifice,
    and it demands respect for the opposite views. Gandhi:

  39. FOAWP Says:

    Nimrod, really, there is no point to be argued here. Like S.K.Cheung said, it is simply natural for protesters, ones who focus on a specific issue or ones who protest for protesting, to seek attention – I mean, if you don’t you might as well go protest to a wall. Admittedly, the ones who protest during the Olympics didn’t exactly know how to be effective and seemed quite willing to stop at the “gathering attention” stage, making me wonder if they cared about getting the message across or simply wanting to “have a taste of a cruel Communist regime” so they can brag about it later. In any case, there is no point in getting angry over it. Let those who are willing to protest do it. Sure it’s effective on a small scale, but on issues such as Tibet, I don’t think anything short of a war is going to change the situation at all. So much for “achievable” and “realistic”.

  40. Nimrod Says:

    S.K. Cheung and FOAWP,

    I know full well what the perspective of the supposed protestors are, that they believe it is owed to them to get free attention by means of highly disruptive and often times illegal tactics, at the expense of others (I’m talking about assault, trespassing, vandalism, blocking traffic, etc.). When it comes to the Olympics stunts specifically, I simply disagree with these tactics as well as the the re-labeling of such publicity stunts with the euphemism of “protest”, when there are no vital and pressing grievances and demands presented. By the same token, I have no sympathy for the anti-globalization “protests” in past years either, for the most part.

    I am not against protests or protestors with actual grievances and demonstrate such. I wish they’d not be disruptive, too, but if they have something demonstrably vital and pressing, then fine, I can at least sympathize. But nobody deserves the time of day to disrupt public order just for general publicity. There are plenty of other ways to reach the public without resorting to extreme tactics. Buy an ad if it’s that important, or stand on a street corner and do the usual free assembly. I don’t see how you come to the conclusion that other than attention whoring in extreme ways, the only alternative is to speak to a wall.

    No, protesting is not meant for vacuous attention seeking. That’s the perverted form that is nowadays practiced as an art. Think about what the word “protest” meant once upon a time.

  41. Leo Says:

    I got a new slogan for FT people:

    China is one dollar. If you buy one, Tibet is free.

    or:

    Fucking for nothing – free Tibet!

  42. TommyBahamas Says:

    While gathering information regarding the Beijing Olympics theme, I found this excellent article by my favorite British MP.

    China’s Olympic Games ceremony shows us how far the mighty have fallen

    By George Galloway

    August, 2008

    GRACE, grandeur, spectacle …superlatives pale in the face of the Beijing opening ceremony.
    Despite the best efforts of all the saboteurs, China is on course to shake the world with the greatest Olympic Games ever staged.
    Nearly 200 years ago, Napoleon said: “Let China sleep, for when she wakes she will shake the Earth.”
    The wee man called that one right enough, and therein lies the problem.
    The crazed neo-cons on the Potomac and their little echoes in the western media planned on this being the New American Century. Indeed they wrote it up so we could gaze upon their mighty works and tremble.
    But it’s not working out like that. Instead of terrifying the world with US power, the Iraq imbroglio has emboldened countries as they watch the Bush and Blair war sink in ignominy and blood. The limits of US power have been illuminated like the Bird’s Nest Stadium under a million fireworks.
    The US economy has crawled to the lip of the crater and may fall into the inferno. While China goes from strength to strength.
    Our problem now is how we can possibly hope to follow that. What will the 2012 Games in London look like, assuming we haven’t gone broke and handed them back? How can we showcase what’s good about us? Synchronised street vomiting for laddettes? A Strictly Come Dancing exhibition?
    Resisting the temptation to imagine an opening ceremony of morris dancers led by Boris Johnson shimmying around Stonehenge lit by a Centrica-sponsored flickering gas lamp, it’s clear we will have to go for the organic option, making a virtue of our reduced circumstances, reducing the carbon footprint of the whole thing, a more homely, human-scaled event.
    In fact, the more you look at it, the more an act of hubris the British application to host the Games appears.
    We can’t afford even the £10billion already committed (half the cost it might end up being and a third of what China, at pre-2008 prices and with everything home-grown and produced, has spent on these games).
    Staging the Olympics is for countries vaulting forwards, not those sinking in the synchronised swimming. If the red flag is flying high again in Beijing, Russia has shown the world the Yeltsin days when she could be held hostage, privatised and even dismembered are over for good.
    The Russian army were an awesome sight on the march into the two breakaway Caucasus enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. All that military aid from the US and the Israelis to the Georgian army seems to have been wasted money.
    Pipsqueak David Miliband broke off from occupying Iraq and Afghanistan and threatening Iran to warn the Russians to get out of what for most people was “somewhere called South Ossetia”. Perhaps even now, Captain Mainwaring, Des Browne, is limbering up our military reserves. Is there no end to the imperial pretensions and double standards of this Government?
    What does a small war in the Caucasus have to do with us? What interests of ours are involved in South (or North) Ossetia?

    How many Labour MPs could place it on the map, or know anything at all about it?

    The double standards are, of course, breathtaking. When Kosovo decided to break away from Yugoslavia, we went to war to help them. When they declared themselves independent, we were among the first to recognise them. The South Ossetians want to break away from Georgia, which won’t let them and has gone to war to crush the revolt.

    The Russians, who have an international peace-keeping mandate in the territory, have intervened to stop the slaughter – and are denounced by Bush and Britain as the aggressors. Georgia is itself a break-away, of course, from the former USSR.
    So a breakaway from a breakaway has occurred. An exact replica of Kosovo.
    Our response is the diametric opposite in the two cases. Why?
    Because George Bush, Georgia’s best friend, told us to. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

    George Galloway,
    Member of Parliment, UK

  43. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Nimrod:
    I can agree that some methods of protest are better than others. The ones you object to are not the best methods. And a legal protest is far better than a wildcat one. However, unlike on this side of the pond, I’m not sure how many “legal” avenues were availed to those so inclined in China. Considering the heavy use of the protest parks, I’m guessing the authorities would not be humoured by the protesters in question.
    As for buying an ad, that sounds good in theory. But first of all, would CCTV air such an ad even if payment was offered? Would NBC (I’m guessing no in their position as official Olympic broadcaster, but I don’t know for sure)? Besides, any such ad would cost a pretty penny. Should that be a barrier to launching a protest?

  44. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Hongkonger:
    so you’re fluent with the simplified, can rock it out in English, and are down with the French. I’m muchos impressed. A la sante, mon ami (my apologies if an e is required at the end there).

  45. Allen Says:

    I think I am a little late of this: but I want add my thought that it was really REALLY rude and unfair for the protesters to protest the Olympics. Let me explain.

    As I watched the opening and closing ceremonies for the Paralympics, I distinctly got the sense of a grand humanitarian event. The organization was as tight as the Olympics; the public support was there; the facilities were there, and the grandeur was there – but there were no protesters. Foreign guests all thoroughly enjoyed themselves!! How wonderful!

    But why wasn’t this same spirit in the Olympics (at least for the Western audience)?

    I realized how ridiculous, impolite and rude it would have been for protesters to protest or call for an boycott of the Paralympics. That would been so selfish, people would say. This was after all an event created for the handicapped and disabled – an event created as a gesture of goodwill and peace. If you don’t like China – use other channels, but don’t soil this historical opportunity for your personal political agenda!

    Then I got really sad. Didn’t the original ideals of the Olympics offer the exact message of unity, peace and hope as the Paralympics? The Chinese gov’t/people devoted the same 100% of their $ and effort into preparing both the Olympics and the Paralympics. But instead of treasuring and respecting the spirit of a historical event, the protesters decided to hijack and mar the main Olympics.

    If you don’t like China, there really are so many ways to make point known. Further, it’s not as if China’s “human rights abuses” were new. Clinton used to call leaders in China the “butchers” of Beijing. Pres. Bush referred to China as “strategic competitors.” Various Western government bestowed various honors and awards to the DL. A noble prize was awarded to the DL. Yet the Olympics was still awarded to Beijing.

    So if the Olympics was awarded fair and square to Beijing – and if the Chinese gov’t and people put in such unprecedented effort, sweat, and money to reach out to the world and into making an event for the world successful, why make a mockery out of the Chinese people? What makes the protesters so pathetic is how few have been to China and know the real China. People who bicker that China didn’t achieve enough are either narrow minded or don’t really understand how far China has come.

    Why tar one of the great opportunities in history where people of all persuasions from all over the world could join together to celebrate the common humanity that bind us all? Why make a mockery of the Chinese people’s genuine desire to reach out with the rest of the world in the spirit of one world, one dream?

    I am glad that there was a Paralympics around this time. The Chinese people worked as hard to make sure that both the Olympics and Paralympics shared the humanitarian spirit. At least the goodwill of the Chinese people got through one event.

    History will judge what the 2008 Olympics mean. But I really believe the protesters really hurt their cause this time around (esp. the DL cause) and will be judged to have come down on the wrong side of the history in the future.

  46. S.K. Cheung Says:

    This is what I don’t get. On the one hand, you guys say that the protesters were ineffectual, did not further the cause, and will be ignored. But yet these same ineffective protesters were able to “tar one of the great opportunities” and “make a mockery out of the Chinese people”? Are those two things mutually compatible? I’d agree with the former, but the latter seems a smidge exaggerated.
    “If you don’t like China, …noble prize was awarded to the DL. Yet the Olympics was still awarded to Beijing.” – well, let’s be clear. The Olympics weren’t awarded because of the things you listed. Perhaps they were awarded in spite of those things…I dunno.
    I thought the whole point was that the Olympics was about sport. Wasn’t that the refrain against protesters? “Don’t politicize sport”? I was watching for Bolt to break records, and for the Redeem Team to play some good ball; the “celebration of humanity” business is just fluff. Maybe that’s what the opening and closing ceremonies were for.
    I think the goodwill of the Chinese people shone through with both events. To perseverate about the protests is to miss the forest for the trees.

  47. Leo Says:

    S.K.Cheung,

    It is quite understandable. It is just like you got a 乌鸦嘴 on a wedding banquet. In the West, people will just ignore such assholes and get on as if nothing happened; in China, the host and the hostess and their clans and their friends will go to this person, slap in his face, kick him in his knees, and stomp on his belly and beat him into pulp. This is not unique in China. You will get the similar reactions throughout the most parts of the world. Some Westerners don’t get it why they are so concerned and helpful in issues of human rights and democracy but the most people in the third world aren’t quite thankful except for a couple of dissidents and elites.

  48. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Leo:
    well, if someone had messed up my wedding, i too would be annoyed. However, the traditional Chinese expression of annoyance you seem to describe lacks a certain civility. Nonetheless, a wedding banquet is a 4-5 hour deal, and any disruption would affect a significant percentage of the proceedings. But considering that the Olympics was a 16 day affair, with hundreds of events, I’d suggest that the protesters accounted for a much smaller percentage of the proceedings. And so it would seem reasonable that any annoyance be proportionate. So yeah, the protesters may have been annoying, but geez, there seems to have been better things to focus on. And if a couple of protests is sufficient to mock 1.3 B people, then the CHinese people should really navel-gaze about why they feel so easily mocked.

  49. Nobody Says:

    “then the CHinese people should really navel-gaze about why they feel so easily mocked.”

    LOL~! Perhaps “they” should as you said, navel-gaze if it was so….but I think Prof. Zheng Yongnian says it well, (I’m paraphrasing here) :
    Why should we care what the West say about us? The Chinese people are often as critical if not more so, about ourselves. They are merely differences in perspectives between our Confucian civilisation and their Christian civilisation versus the Moslem civilisation. Some have suggested that the Confucian and the Muslim Civilisations joined forces to repel the Christian civilisation, but I disagree…
    (Somrthing like that)

  50. Leo Says:

    S.K.Cheung @ 48,

    Hey, man, a few commentators here don’t make up 1.3 billion people. The Chinese people felt mocked? A few of us just find them rude. Maybe there are other people who are seeking for mob-lynching fun. That’s all.

  51. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To Leo:
    I was making reference to Allen’s “mockery” statement in # 45. But I’m glad you acknowledge that the commentators here don’t represent “all Chinese”…sometimes that concept seems to get lost in some of the rhetoric.
    It’s entirely reasonable that you found the protesters rude. If you allow for the concept of protest, not all the methods will be tasteful to everyone. But I also hope that a “mob-lynching” isn’t the default Chinese response to something they find distasteful.

  52. Leo Says:

    To S.K. Cheung,

    But I have to point out that some Chinese opinions on this forum are quite representative specimens of the general sentiments. I said a few commetators did not make up 1.3 billion people because the most incidents did not make it at all in the Chinese media coverage so the most Chinese did not at all get a chance to react. But there were widely spread rumors then on various forums that there would be a lot of FT and FLG people turning up and a lot of forumer had sworn not to spare them a slap in the face, which did happen when a group spread their banners in a Beijing park.

    Regarding mob-lynching, i think at least for 5 billion out of today’s 6 billion people worldwide, mob-lynching is an important part of the community solidarity. If you read Indian or Pakistani daily press, a lot of incidents there have something to do with mobs. In China, even in some very developed and deeply westernized parts mob-lynching is not rare. Once I came across an incident in which Central Tibet Road, a main downtown thoroughfare in Shanghai, was run into a halt just because all the people on the street were on a thief caught in fresh act. The people who could not get on him were yelling “kill him”! It was a terrifying experience. This is why I always have a reservation when hearing such incidents like Weng’an.

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