Hail the new China, just like the old China

Another day, another deception from the People’s Republic of China’s Olympics. Remember the cute assemblage of children in colorful ethnic dress carrying the flag in the Opening Ceremony? They weren’t what they appeared to be:

Media reports said the children were from the Galaxy Children’s Art Troupe, which involves young actors and actresses mainly from the dominant Han ethnic group which makes up about 92 per cent of China’s 1.3 billion population.

But the programme for the four-hour ceremony had said the children were from different ethnic groups.

“56 children from 56 Chinese ethnic groups cluster around the Chinese national flag, representing the 56 ethnic groups,” read the media guide for the opening ceremony.

The fill-ins came as China struggles to keep conflicts with its ethnic groups out of the spotlight during the Olympics.

So we had fake singing, fake fireworks, fake ethnic harmony, fake passports, fake fans bussed in to fill empty seats, fake promises of free speech violated by visa denials and arrested journalists.

The Olympics were supposed to be the coming-out party for The New China. Indeed they are, and we’ve learned that the New China is just like the Old China, only shinier.

Don’t take my word for it. ask any of the 900 soldiers working the controls under the stadium who had to wear diapers because they weren’t allowed to leave their posts for 7 hours.

And for more perspective. see Ruth Coniff of The Progressive on The Totalitarian Olympics:

I would be a lot more excited about the summer Olympics if the host country weren’t fielding teams of athletes who are essentially forced laborers. Talk about taking the fun out of sports.

Yang Wenjun, a gold medalist in flatwater canoeing, told The New York Times recently that he longs to quit, but can’t. The Chinese government refused to let him retire after he won his gold medal in 2004, threatening to cut off the income he and his poor, rice-farming parents live on. Yang’s situation is typical.

The system of government-run Chinese sports schools takes children as young as 6 years old from their parents and trains them in their chosen sports, forgoing regular education. Stars are pushed to compete through injury, denied rest and medical care, and put through a grueling training regimen.

In the case of gymnastics, children are taken from their families at age three.

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