It is absolutely amazing how similar Chinese society is to our own here in America. I cannot believe that when I was a kid, I was actually raised to be afraid of our dearest friends and trading partners in the far east. Now that the “bamboo curtain” has fallen and Chinese goods are freely available at your local Wal-Mart, I am wondering what the hell all the fuss was about. Take Mao for example. Back in my day we pictured Mao with horns and a tail, but the truth is that he was simply a senile old man who sat as a figure-head. In that respect, he was no different than Reagan.
For example, take the rumors that China frowns on free speech. China respects free speech just as much as America does. Why China even has Free Speech Zones in the Beijing parks just as we have free speech zones in front of the Democratic Convention in Denver. Visitors to Beijing can enjoy the excitement and the pageant of the Olympics without having to be bothered by the people whose homes had been torn down to build the stadium. Democrats in Denver can go about the important business of government without having to be bothered with the the voices of the governed. So really, are the Chinese really that much different than we are?
True, the Chinese do tend to arrest the people who try to use their free speech zones, but so do we. The difference is that the Chinese tend to arrest their dissidents before the police start a riot. Here the police incite the riots first. So really, the Chinese are so much more civilized about it. I can remember my son being traumatized when we witnessed the police riot at the KPFA arrests in Berkeley in 1999. We saw a 50 something year old woman of our acquaintance being hit in the head by a police stick. Chinese children are not subjected to that kind of trauma. The Chinese method doesn’t have the public violence. The violence is hidden behind closed doors where children can’t see it, unless it is children who have been arrested.
The Chinese understand that appearances are everything. If you don’t see it, it doesn’t exist. This is why the free speech zones are so far away from the Olympic Stadium. If the thousands of visitors and athletes don’t see dissidents than the dissidents don’t exist. What can be simpler? Google certainly understands this. They are the ones who designed the censorship filters that the Chinese use on their Internet service. Yahoo understands that it only takes one loud mouth dissident to screw up the world’s denial. That’s why they are so eager to turn private Internet usage records over to China as well as the United States.
So let’s be honest. The Olympics are not about human rights; they are about appearances. What does it matter that the Chinese Gymnastics team are all underage? The important thing is that they looked good. So what if a prettier older girl lip-synced to the voice of another little girl. She looked good. So what if the fireworks were computer generated? They made Beijing look good. China is telling the world that they are ready to do business just like America. Never mind that they made thousands homeless to build the Olympic Stadium. How is that any different than the thousands who had been made homeless in the Bay Area for the Internet boom? China has joined the Capitalist world. They are just like us now.