Changing China

Giant on the move

Is China ready for the Olympics?

March 28, 2008

Construction workers walk past the National Stadium or Bird’s Nest in BeijingHardly 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.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGERYu 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”.

Pictures: A large piece of Olympic hardware, the Bird’s Nest stadium, by Claro Cortes IV, Beijing taxi in Tiananmen Square by David Gray and Arnold Schwarzenegger doing his best Terminator look by Mike Blake.    


yes! we are definetly ready for the game in our home! despite all the troubles from outside world!

Posted by tony | Report as abusive

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.


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.


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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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? 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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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 | Report as abusive

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