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When Red China, the Green Olympics, and the Yellow River Collide

August 3, 2008

Douglas J. O'Bryon
Seeking Alpha, NY
August 1, 2008

Beneath all of the anticipation and hype about who will win the gold
at the upcoming Summer Olympics in China, another more important
contest is being waged. Like two lunging sumo wrestlers grappling for
control, two powerful forces are hurtling towards each other on a
collision course with destiny, scheduled to explode onto our TV and
PC screens this August, and rated "R" for violence and around the
world, personally armed with the most dangerous weapon ever used
against China's Communist Regime – the free and unfiltered truth
about China captured on video.

Armed with tens of thousands of the latest media gadgets, these
temporary guests stand poised to share with the world not only the
truth of these Olympic Games, but more importantly, the truth about
the Chinese people's lifelong "Olympic" battle with their government
over free-expression.

During the last Summer Olympics in 2004, it was considered cutting
edge if a cell phone could capture a quality digital image. Four
years later, cell phones and PDA's now double as video cameras,
catching action whenever and wherever it happens. Because of this,
there's a strong possibility that it won't be the giant truck-mounted
NBC cameras that catch the most interesting action this Olympiad, or
even the 22,000 credentialed foreign journalists -- it will be the
YouTube downloads and the CNN iReports, from handheld devices in the
capable hands of thousands of curious onlookers and uncredentialed
citizen journalists. Whereas the host government can easily control
the venues and primary locations to ensure there's no "Peking", the
nooks and crannies and the alleys and streets will be impossible to
completely control. What remains to be seen is which message will be
more compelling -- the sweet, or the sour?

Hello, Dalai

This summer's Games will be another round in this wrestling match for
control of information, and the resulting violence could run Olympic
circles around Tiananmen Square, that bloody massacre viewed in full
color in 1989, as Chinese tanks literally crushed civilians trying to
exercise their freedom of expression. Who could forget that gripping
scene as one demonstrator, perhaps only 5 feet tall, but standing
much taller in the world's eyes, boldly faced the approaching column
of Chinese tanks, placing his very life on the line.

If I were Tibet on this one, I'd say that the chaos in the months
leading up to the Olympics is only a foreshadowing of what the actual
event has in store for us. Is it just me, or can you sense
catastrophe is imminent when – even though France selected their
speedy 400-meter sprinter champion Stephane Diagana to carry the
torch - it was STILL put out THREE TIMES by protestors before it left
Paris! Tensions in China are already on high alert due to recent
religious conflicts, as the Chinese government now wants Tibetan
Buddhist monks to denounce the Dalai Lama and accept the
Chinese-appointed Panchen Lama.

In fact, the Tibet Daily Newspaper recently quoted Tibet's very
patriotic deputy Communist Party chief Han Peng as saying, "We should
strengthen patriotic education so as to guide the masses of monks to
continuously display the patriotic tradition and uphold the banner of
patriotism." I mean, I've heard of double-speak, but triple-speak?

Bad Air Days

Adding insult to injury will be a first hand view of the
environmental atrocities being committed throughout China's large
cities and Olympic venues, and showcasing for the world the worst air
pollution on the planet, responsible for over 656,000 deaths each
year. Even after promising the world's first "Green Olympics,"
spending $12.2 Billion on 20 key projects, banning 300,000
heavy-polluting vehicles, and enforcing alternating driving days, the
International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge has already
gone on record as saying that, "Events lasting longer than an hour
might have to be postponed on "bad air days." In fact, with less than
100 environmentally friendly "Blue Sky Days" last year, several
athletes have already dropped out of competition, including the
world's fastest marathoner Halle Gebrselassie, citing the suffocating
smog, Singa-poor air quality, and Shang-high levels of sulfur
dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and smothering particulate matter (PM10).

It Takes An Olympic Village

If you thought the violent demonstrations in Paris or Tibet earlier
this spring were disturbing, just wait until 08-08-08. I'm confident
that at this very moment, numerous carefully orchestrated protests
are being organized for maximum impact and visibility to the over 2
billion people expected to view these events. This might be the
single best and last chance of their lifetimes to show the world the
"true" China, and they won't let this opportunity pass them by. Think
about it. If you were a nation living under repression for 60 years,
and your government invited the entire world over for a party, what
would you do?

Unflattering stories are already leaking out, including one published
recently where Beijing magazine vendor Liu Qifel noted that he had
assumed the Olympics would bring real improvements to life in the
city, but it hasn't turned out that way. "Look at this street. The
old buildings have been newly painted. The buildings facing the
street have been decorated, but the buildings behind them are
unchanged. I don't like those façade projects because they are
useless to our ordinary citizens."

I believe that "façade" could very well become the central theme and
buzzword for these entire Games, with the Chinese authorities
suddenly in the crosshairs, given two probable, yet undesirable,
choices, both of which will have them seeing Red. Either the Chinese
government will attempt to lock down ALL communication, confiscating
and/or neutralizing recording devices which may have captured
unflattering footage OR the world will be flooded with the sights and
sounds of human rights atrocities captured by the numerous digital
eyewitnesses both at the Games, but even more importantly, across the
Chinese nation as the world's tourists and sports enthusiasts
crisscross this most populous country on earth.

With the Great Wall of Silence broken, information and images will
begin pouring out of China like a breached Missouri levy, and the
"China Cabinet" (which is seldom used and mostly for show) will be
forced to make apology after apology to explain away this
embarrassing footage, and give new meaning to "Dancing Beijing" --
which just so happens to be the official logo of these 2008 Olympics.

Somewhere buried in the founding Communist doctrine of China is the
belief that if you give people a inch, they'll take a mile. In fact,
if you anagram the word "China," it spells: "a inch." Bad English,
but you get the idea. Interestingly, you can also rearrange the
letters of the word "China" to spell "Chain," a haunting reminder of
what that country has fastened around its citizens as they continue
their 60 year struggle against their government's Sumo grip on the
freedoms that we in the USA take for granted.

So what will it be? Broken records? Broken recordings? Or broken dreams?

On the Chinese calendar, 2008 is the Year of the Rat, and by the end
of the Summer Games, the entire world may smell it. China wanted to
host the Olympics to show how far they've come. Beware what you wish for.
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