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China: the new global power « Previous | |Next »
August 10, 2008

The Opening Ceremony of the Beijing Olympics successfully expressed China's arrival of the global stage as a global power. The new China made its presence felt with grandeur that is the Olympic movement's parodic symbol of excess.The excess ($40 billion of public expenditure) signified that China has successfully modernized from being a backward power a century ago.

But the rules of the game of global power are set by the West and they have been changed in the last couple of decades. Progress in the form of modernization is no longer enough.The expectation that China should be like the West, because it is getting rich like the West, is as facile as the thesis that capitalism necessarily leads to liberty.

ChinaHumanRights.jpg Martin Rowson

China, we are reminded, is a one-party state, a totalitarian regime with a poor human rights record. One account holds that Communists in China needed success in sports to highlight the people's ability to adapt to outside forces, that is, those of the market; and also for enhancing the pride of Chinese people globally. The legitimacy of the dictatorship rests on its ability to deliver ever-rising living standards now that its Marxism is dead. Environmental concerns will always be trumped by the Communist Party's survival instinct.

Chan Akya in Asia Times Online says:

The reason for the communists to want sporting success is indelibly associated with their own lack of political legitimacy. Puffing up national pride from such victories is a sure-fire way of diverting criticism of the center: in other words, the logic of "this government prepares world-class athletes, so don't blame us for bread shortages but look instead at the incompetence of your local officials". All of this is part of the game played by communist governments on their people by creating a perverse system that depends on socializing successes in the world of sport and personalizing failures in all other areas.

China hasn't changed. Change is impossible without democratic reform - which is as far away as ever. Olympic Games has not led to political liberalisation.The curbing of dissent over the Games fortnight has been strengthened and are unlikely to be eased when they are over.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 11:43 AM | | Comments (3)


an example is Mark Mordue in The Age, who talksabout the appeasements the West has made out of a desire to avoid upsetting ultra-sensitive Chinese feelings, and through opportunistic business interests, bode ill for the future. Then he adds:

The fact is these Games are about symbolically launching the Chinese Century to come, as well as affirming "the Mandate of Heaven" on the current rulers, an almost mystical form of nationalism updated to present day needs: propaganda reshaped as marketing to launch China Inc. upon us all.

What counters the ugliest of political spin jobs is some grain of hope and communication that might still be broached; or a mere gesture might wake us all to something better.

From what I have read the "environment" is going to trump the whole shibang. And it wont be a pretty picture.

China IS already a massive environmental disaster zone.

A one party system...hmmmm, sounds familiar...oh...thats just like Demrebulicans...Oh say can you see, Mayor of Detroit, and Obama..Our future is so bright I gotta wear shades....Thank God China has become a nation of power, the US is a nation of cry babys and followers. We need some leaders on our planet and the US has none.