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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

China: Reality Bites

August 28, 2008

TV Mott
Maui Weekly (USA)
August 28, 2008

Was anything as it seemed at this year's Olympics held in Beijing?

Does China think the rest of the world has a full coat of wool pulled
tightly over their collective eyes, or what? I don't know about you,
but I'm ready to get back to reality.

In case you missed it, here is a recap of the less-than-Olympic-like
behaviors that China displayed for all the world to see:

A cute 9-year-old girl was lip-syncing Ode To The Motherland because
the girl originally selected to actually sing it apparently was not
cute enough for global television because she didn't have (drum roll,
please) straight enough teeth.

A fireworks display during the Opening Ceremony wasn't real, at least
not entirely. China chose to use computer generated fireworks, so the
rest of the world, those watching the games on their televisions,
would think it was a much grander event than the one actually taking
place at The Bird's Nest.

The Chinese women's gymnastics team won the gold medal, even though
documents surfaced during the event proving the ages of the gymnasts
were fabricated. The Chinese government made up passports saying the
ages of their gymnasts were 16 (the minimum age for Olympic
competition), when the actual age of their athletes was later proven
to be 13 and 14. The USA won silver with age-appropriate athletes.

During the Opening Ceremony, China had -- what appeared to be -- a
child from each of its 56 ethnic groups march into the stadium, when
in actuality, most were from the predominant Han Chinese group.

Chinese officials had to fill empty seats with "volunteer" fans
because most of the population is too poor to afford a ticket, which
would have left thousands of empty seats.

China's President Hu Jintao, under pressure from human rights
activists, offered to allow applications for scheduled protests
during the games. More than 70 applications were filed; zero were approved.

Several members of a group representing Hong Kong businessmen wanted
to complain about corruption through demonstrations in Beijing, but
had their application denied --and then were deported to Hong Kong.

U.S. athletes Jeremy Wells, John Watterberg, Brian Conley, James
Powderly, Jeffrey Rae, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss and Tom Grant were
detained for their free-Tibet protests. Chinese officials say they
will not be released until Aug. 30, five days after the closing ceremonies.

China constructed "cultural walls," which were actually giant,
life-size pictures of nice-looking homes and buildings, and placed
them along the Olympic marathon route to hide the actual slums that
existed behind them.

They censored the media. All of it. Internet, telephone, television
-- you name it -- the Chinese government filtered it, red-flagging
words like "democracy," "Darfur" and "Tibet."

Hu Jintao claimed the Beijing Olympics would "enhance mutual
understanding and friendship between the Chinese people and the
people of all other countries."

Perhaps Hu Jintao needs a reality check. His Olympics, though filled
with many incredible Olympic moments and individual snapshots of
glory, was in truth an Olympic Games littered with mixed messages,
fabrications and illusions of grandeur in a country run by less than
perfect leaders.
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