There are swimmers, javalin throwers, divers, cartwheelers, ball throwers and assorted other athletes–all the usual ingredients of competition you’ve seen before. What’s different in this Olympics venue is that it takes place in a big bird’s nest of illusion. I’m not talking so much about the fact that some of the fireworks were CGI, or that one of the main attractions of the opening was a “beautiful” nine-year old girl lip syncing to the voice of an “ugly” seven year old girl (kept behind the curtain because of crooked teeth), or that citizens have been told to walk about with smiling faces, though sometimes that illusion is difficult to maintain. Cerhard Heiber of the IOC (Int. Olympic Committee) complained that the police and military patrolling the arena have “stony faces….that they look sinister.”
What I’m talking about is the fakery inherent in the Chinese advertisement–the one that projects the illusion of normal society. By normal I mean the kind of society…well, like American society which, with all its problems, is by anyone’s standards a normal society of everyday life. There are all kinds of conflicting opinons readily available on internet screens or TV, radio and movies or books and newspapers, even bilboards, and flyers left under your windshield wipers. Normal society is that which tolerates a broad variity of human activity and views, even hatreds (as long as they’re not violent), body images (fat to bulimic, straight teeth or crooked teeth), and sexuality (gay or straight), smiling or unsmiling (even downright grimacing), hero worship and anti-hero worship. Normalcy includes traditions, quackeries, and moral challenges and protests. It also includes rules and regulations about safety in cars and food and medical care. It includes an umbrella of normalizing laws such as habeus corpus, and responsibilities, such as jury duty and seat-belt wearing .
Is this normal? Undesirables sent to torture camps so they won’t be seen by Western news media during the games. “…these camps are being used to imprison - without trial or legal representation - people that the regime wants the world to believe do not exist amid the miracle of modern China. From street children, hawkers, the homeless and prostitutes, to the mentally ill, black migrants, and gays caught in public bathhouses, the camps on the outskirts of the city started filling up with Beijing’s ‘undesirables’ last year as part of the Chinese regime’s determination to present what it sees as an acceptable face to the world.”
And what can you make of this (reported in the TimesOnline)? “Government officials swept thousands of migrant workers out of Beijing – the very people who built the stadium, at least 10 of them paying with their lives. Police arrested hundreds of provincial petitioners who sought justice in the capital and sent at least 58 to labour camps for ‘reeducation’. The sick were told that routine surgery was cancelled in every hospital and officials shut some psychiatric patients inside their wards…”
An even more gruesome manisfestation of this kind of behavior is using sports arenas to shoot criminals in front of cheering crowds, or using mobile “death vans,” which inject prisoners–many of whom are merely charged with a crime, without any proof– with poison, then remove their organs for sale. Evidently these busses crisscross the country for harvesting sessions, sort of like tractor combines in Kansas wheat fields.
China fears its own people, even at sporting events. Why were there so many empty seats at events at the Games ? “…according to Chinese internet users…it is the result of a policy to prevent the gathering of large and possibly uncontrollable crowds” which perhaps might remind people of the frolicking pro-democratic Tiananmen square students. China has a virtual army of internet police, making sure its citizens keystroke within a politically and socially filtered digital world.* As reported last year, well in advance of the Games, digital police officers–one male and one female dressed in uniforms and saluting– “will begin visible patrols on Chinese Internet sites to warn surfers they are being monitored…on the look out for websites…that incite secession, promote superstition, gambling, fraud and pornography…” among other things of course. (Read more.)
All countries have corruption (that’s normal), including the United States, but in China it’s built into the very fabric of society, from government officials down to the peasants. To those in the know in China it really wasn’t a surprise that during the recent earthquake some 7000 classrooms disintegrated, killing 10,000 students. The construction integrity was cheated, and that charts from a long line of officials ( let’s all hope the Bird’s Nest outlasts the games).
Another example. Take public food preperation. Now Public points out that during “the last year before the olympics, for the first time in the history of China, food safety rules for restaurants and eateries were put into place. Do you suppose there is a Western style inspection and enforcement system now in place to support these new rules and laws? Think again….”
No, China is not a normal country, nothwithstanding the smiling faces blitz. So how will you know when it becomes normal? For one, not every one will be showing their pearly whites (which, let’s face it, is kind of creepy) and for another, you’ll probably see girls with crooked teeth singing in front of the camera.
If it worked for the Chinese before the Olympics than it will work in Denver. In preperation for the DNC convention in Denver the town’s cleaning up their homeless. Read more.
*Many, however, find an indirect way to protest, something that would pass through the filters–like naked pushups, for example.