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Saturday, August 9

The Elephant in The Corner (alternative title-'Why I can't get excited about the Olympics')

Olympic fever is well and truly upon us. Here in Oz, the adoption support email groups have been going crazy with people being excited about Beijing, and the pomp and ceremony of the 2008 games. I'm afraid I am most definitely NOT sharing in the excitement. To me the Games represents the worst of China - the desire to be bigger, better and more impressive than any other country, regardless of the cost. And the cost has been massive, not just with respect to the billions of yuan spent on the over bloated corpse that is the Olympic Games, but the human cost. The countless hundreds of migrant workers who have lost their lives on shoddy building sites, preparing for the Games. The millions of poor rural battlers in China who have to watch their country spend hand over fist on a 17 day event, rather than investing in the livelihoods of their own people. When we were in China last year we saw this poverty up close, and it saddened me deeply. The pollution, the sub-standard working conditions of many millions, the countless people eking out an existence, day to day, and barley surviving. How can China possibly justify spending such obscene amounts of money on a sporting event whilst many of it's citizens starve???? Other reasons for my ambivalence include China's poor human rights record and it's unwillingness to acknowledge these abuses, the Tibet situation and the Chinese attitude towards Taiwan. So, for these reasons I will not be watching any of the Games. Don't get me wrong - I love China and the fact that it has given me the blessing of my daughter, but it's desire to always save face, and to be seen as a world power at the expense of it's own citizens deeply grieves me.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you Tassie. I am happy for China in their celebrations, but I wish there could have been an easier way for them to show case their development. Its hard knowing that so many people suffered for this event to happen and so hard knowing that there are people still doing so....

Louanne said...

I see your point Tassie and respect it. But I adore the Olympics for the athletes. All the work they have done to get to this point is why I watch.

Spending the month of March in Beijing gave me a different sort of view to the Olympics and what I "think" it's going to mean to the future of China. I think a lot of things you have talked about will change over time because of this. That's just *my* feeling after spending so much time with the Chinese people. I know I was WAY to stressed on my adoption trip to notice anything.

Ladyblog said...

I am glad I'm not the only one.... I sat there watching feeling such guilt because I know firsthand what the rest of China looks like. i couldn't believe how elaborate everything was and then to think of how all the common people there suffer, day in and day out. I felt ashamed in a way...