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Olympic Reality Management

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Diary Entry by Peter Dearman

Olympic Reality Management

August 16, 2008 at 11:57:31

Will this one go down as the Fake Olympics? Communist reality control could turn ugly.::::::::

“They had better watch it,” is what I thought out loud when I first learned that part of the Olympic opening ceremony was faked through digital inserts into the globally broadcast signal. It’s not that such trickery is intrinsically offensive, but the presumption by Chinese officials that they had the right to deceive the global public, like a hypnotist who operates illicitly, is somewhat offensive to quite a lot of people, I expect. Had the illusionary sequence of fiery footprints been announced beforehand, or even immediately following the ceremony, people would have called it art. But, because of the deceit, it is now likelier to be called propaganda.

I can’t say that I am surprised. It looks to me and my TV like China is doing an admirable job hosting such a large scale operation as the Olympics. Things seem well organized and professionally run. It is the lack of taste that shows off China in a bad light. Theirs is not a culture in which people are good at putting themselves into the shoes of others.

Case in point: Chinese spectators are cheering for Taiwanese athletes, who are forced to compete under the ridiculous name, Chinese Taipei. The  current batch of leaders in Taiwan have taken the old Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) on a pro-communist U-turn and are now in Beijing watching the games and joking about how Taiwanese athletes have a bit of homefield advantage, as if Taiwan were actually a province of China when if fulfills every definition of a sovereign nation. No one asks how the Taiwanese athletes feel. There is a good chance that most of them don’t share these people’s dream of “re-unifying” Taiwan and the Great Han Motherland.

So, as the games move along, it appears China’s lack of taste is going to show through despite the fact the Western mainstream media actually seems to want to be polite to the CCP and treat the Olympics with kid gloves when it comes to human rights issues.

But this lack of taste is gonna keep coming through — internationally.

First it was the fake fireworks story. Next, it was the news the little girl singing was actually lip-synching because some Communist brass thought the best singer wasn’t cute enough. Strike two.

Then, came news that the original lead dancer for the ceremony didn’t perform because she had been paralyzed in a training accident a few weeks before. The news had been suppressed, or at least unreleased. This story didn’t make a big splash in the Western media anyway, but the next one did. At least, I expect it will. Come on. It’s up to 89 listings in Google News now, but maybe it’s getting stale already.

The news? Only that the children dressed in the traditional costumes of China’s 56 recognized ethnic minorities were really just that – Han Chinese kids dressed up as ethnic children. Could you imagine the outrage were this to happen in a Western country?

Most of the stories, such as this one on Reuters,  are including the other two reality-manipulation incidents as background.

There are other stories that, while not be explicitly harped about by media, are so obvious that casual viewers will get the message anyway. The British journalist being arrested, for example, or the obviously underage Chinese gymnasts. But mostly, I’m thinking about empty seats and the impression that gives. Why are they empty? According to one English-speaking Taiwanese journalist operating surrepticiously under the name John Hancock, one big reason is because so many tickets were given to Party cadres who decided to make money selling them through scalpers. But in their infinite wisdom as Commies, they told the scalpers a minimum price. Their bad taste, China’s embarrassment. In the long run. I expect. We’ll see.

Anyway, I still say they had better watch it, there in the CCP Olympian control room in Beijing. World opinion mightbe more fickle than they think.

Peter Dearman is an English teacher living in Taiwan. He is concerned about depleted uranium, repression in Burma, stolen elections, organ harvesting, aspartame, sugar, species depletion, animal abuse, ocean pollution, helium depletion and the generally high level of bad things happening in the world today.

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Written by Lwin Aung Soe

August 17, 2008 at 5:46 am

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