“Beijing Welcomes the World!”

Just read this.  What on earth are they thinking?

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Richard Burger is the author of Behind the Red Door: Sex in China, an exploration of China's sexual revolution and its clash with traditional Chinese values.

The Discussion: 79 Comments

Sailing through mutant seaweed anybody?

http://tinyurl.com/49d7vs

Oh dear.

Nothing to do with the pollution, i am sure.

June 27, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

@ecodelta

“Much work has been done to give now a bad impression to visitors and spectators in CH during the Olympics and much hope has been put by normal CH citizens to present their own country and their progress to the world”

The Olympic Games are not meant to present a country. As a matter of fact (which seems to be completely forgotten in this whole discussion) the Olympic Games are never hosted by a country, but always by a city. The way the CCP is trying to hijack the Beijing Olympics as their own nationalist propaganda event shows that they have absolutely no idea what the Games are about, not even in their highly commercialized 21st century version.

June 27, 2008 @ 3:29 pm | Comment

@otherlisa

Very interesting article you linked to. And very scary, too. Could be the topic for a new thread, maybe?

June 27, 2008 @ 3:37 pm | Comment

@Si

It probably was brought to China’s shores by evil laowai forces.

June 27, 2008 @ 3:43 pm | Comment

@mor

Yes. I know. But how the CCP see its, and also how the CH people see it is different. You know that too, I think.
Is their country not just a single city what they want to show, after long time of isolation.
CH people just want to put their house in order to receive new visitors form abroad to give a good impression and show them the improvement after lot of hard work.

I am on CH people side not on CCP side.
Hope CCP does not make a fool of themselves, the country (not “their” country..) and the people (not “their” people).
😉

PS: “their” is used her to denote property, owning something you can do whatever you want with no matter what (in opposition to: belonging to, being member or, participate to, share something with, care for, etc)

June 27, 2008 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

What I’d like to know, Richard or someone else who is in
BJ..is have they succeeded in their mission to clean up public WCs?

It is a pity they’ve exiled the street vendors. Visitors won’t get to see the real Beijing. I hope they don’t restrict the bicyclists too.

I’ll be watching it on TV. It’s doubtful the media will complain, however much they are restricted. It would affect their future visas and publication/broadcast rights and no one wants that.

June 27, 2008 @ 10:36 pm | Comment

@ Andy Raynor

The thing that frustrates me is they mock their government’s gaffs among themselves in private, and then support those same gaffs publicly because of a delusional fear of the Great White Terror

This is the first time I’ve heard “Great White Terror”. Not long ago, my American roommate said to me,”So the Chinese call us Capitalism Pigs?” Well, that was the first time I heard that phrase.

I don’t know if they used that phrase in the ’70s, but seriously no one call you guys Capitalism or Great White Terror anymore. Not even the government.

Now back to the topic, why the Chinese won’t mock their government in public?

This is a complicated question. My opinion: “face” is important in Chinese culture. If you were raised up in a Chinese family, you would learn not to expose your problem to other family so that you don’t lose face; you would learn not to criticize other family in public so that they won’t lose face. If they ask for help, we’ll be glad to. But if they don’t, it’s not our business.

各家自扫门前雪,莫管他人瓦上霜。

The Chinese are very hesitated to criticize their government in public(no matter how dumb it is) because it’s they don’t feel comfortable. It’s not we are fear of anything but just because all the issues are supposed to be dealt within the country but not the business of anyone else.

I’ve seen Taiwanese mock their president, Koreans protest their government. But I seldom see any of them talking about their own issues in front of foreigners. I guess they don’t feel comfortable either.

Americans are totally different. You guys are encouraged to express your ideas/opinions. When talking about politics, Americans usually start with a joke of your president. I’ve heard Americans giving serious opinions about east Asia, Africa, Europe and of cause middle east. I always asked,” Why do you care so much?” Maybe they don’t care, they just want to express their opinions.

Probably that’s culture shock. I don’t care what happened in middle east, what happened in Sudan, what happened in Zimbabwe. If the African kids need help, I’ll be glad to send them food and clothes. But I won’t bring democracy (and bomb) to Iraq when they don’t ask for.

Go back to the topic again, if you can read Chinese and go to any of the Chinese forum, you can see people criticizing the government all the time. But just don’t expect them to discuss it with you. They would probably only talk about the Great Wall. If you can’t accept it, just try to understand it.

I am sorry for the long long comment, especially with my terrible English. One last off topic comment, I want to ask everyone in this blog to stop hating. Stop saying “Modern China is a JOKE”, stop acting like Sharon Stone. People are different. Try to be understanding. If you can’t accept it, just leave it alone. It’s on the other side of the world, it won’t hurt you.

June 28, 2008 @ 12:16 am | Comment

At least despite the increasingly narrow openness in Chinese social and visa policy, we can be sure that the government will hold to the sacred promise of keeping sports removed from politics, which was an argument used over and over to dismiss the torch relay protests.
Or can we? http://tinyurl.com/57nv4m
I’ve always said that China’s “depoliticization” of sports is actually immensely political for anyone who looks a bit below the surface. From the start, this has been linked with the nation’s supposed reemergence as a “great power” and turned into political capital for the regime.
I guess the lesson is basically to take a very hesitant and careful approach to any promise made by this regime.

June 28, 2008 @ 12:51 am | Comment

@ming
“, especially with my terrible English.”
Not so terrible English 😉

“I want to ask everyone in this blog to stop hating.”
Don’t be so sensitive.
Not all critic, if any, mean that people who write them hate CH. It may even be that the love CH more than you think.
Some critics come from frustration, from people that think that thinks in CH could be even better. Is that not encouraging?
If someone hated CH and thought that their policies were taking the country down, the last think he would do would be to critic CH to warn of the danger. He would said nothing, or even encourage CH to kept going that way! 😉

Yes. It is frustrating to hear only critics after working so hard to improve things in the country, but that is human nature. People tend to put more attention to bad things than to good things.
Have you even dress yourself to impress your girlfriend, and the first thing she says to you is that you have a coffee spot in your brand, an expensive, new shirt?

“Modern China is a JOKE”
It is not. Just a very complex country. 😉

June 28, 2008 @ 4:07 am | Comment

There has been some broadcast of US Olympic Trials on cable. It’s not clear to me if or who will actually be broadcasting any of the event in the US. I guess the plan is to rebroadcast what ever CCTV uplinks to the satellite’s.

Washington DC is absorbed with whether the Clintons will make up with Obama, gun control, the testimony of the Cheney’s junior troll Addington, high price of oil.

In the past american morning news shows that I never watch have broadcast from the host cities. With the western broadcast media cut off, the olympics pretty much cease to exist in the US.

June 28, 2008 @ 4:39 am | Comment

@Lindel,

Uh, NBC has been broadcasting the US Olympic Trials on prime time national TV. Last weekend it was the gymnastics trials (until 10 PM on Sunday night), and this weekend is track and field.

@Ming,

Those who believe China is a police-state where no one criticizes the government have no idea what they’re talking about.

It is a pity they’ve exiled the street vendors. Visitors won’t get to see the real Beijing. I hope they don’t restrict the bicyclists too.

Chinese without legal employment and residency in Beijing do not have long-term *residency* rights in Beijing, and this will be tightly enforced in August. This does not mean there will be not any “street vendors” in Beijing. And since they’re restricting car traffic heavily, I’m pretty sure they won’t be restricting the bicyclists.

June 28, 2008 @ 5:33 am | Comment

“Don’t be so sensitive.
Not all critic, if any, mean that people who write them hate CH. It may even be that the love CH more than you think.”

Yes, we love China sooo much, for the way we’ve been treated, for the hospitality we’ve met. How could we but not loooove China, after we’ve been told that our Chinese wives are traitors to the country and deserve to be called worse because they dared to marry ugly, stinking laowai.

“Some critics come from frustration, from people that think that thinks in CH could be even better. Is that not encouraging?”

Very encouraging, as long as you don’t have to meet those critics on a daily basis. Let me guess, ecodelta, you only know China from a few holiday journeys?

“If someone hated CH and thought that their policies were taking the country down, the last think he would do would be to critic CH to warn of the danger. He would said nothing, or even encourage CH to kept going that way!”

If someone had a real life experience in China he wouldn’t talk about things he doesn’t know anything about.

“Yes. It is frustrating to hear only critics after working so hard to improve things in the country, but that is human nature.”

It’s the result of the Chinese government fucking up again and again and again. It’s got nothing to do with human nature. We are pretty human here in Europe and we manage to do a much better job than the semi-gods of the CCP.

“People tend to put more attention to bad things than to good things.”

Not true! we’ve put as much attention to the downfall of the Soviet Union (or even more) as to the new terrorist threat, back then in the nineties. Maybe Americans didn’t, but we European people did.

“Have you even dress yourself to impress your girlfriend, and the first thing she says to you is that you have a coffee spot in your brand, an expensive, new shirt?”

I really like those absolutely meaningless stories, I really do.

“Modern China is a JOKE”

Yes, it is, absolutely!!!

“It is not. Just a very complex country. ;-)”

Oh, yes, it is so complex, they don’t even know why they keep driving the same people ot of the country that they really need.

June 28, 2008 @ 6:59 am | Comment

@mor

Come on mor! Give a me break!

“we’ve put as much attention to the downfall of the Soviet Union (or even more) as to the new terrorist threat, back then in the nineties. Maybe Americans didn’t, but we European people did.”
I was in Berlin before the fall and after the fall of the wall, travel through DDR (when it existed) and could visit East Europe before and after. And… I am not American, and have my own experience leaving under authoritarian regimes.

“Yes, we love China sooo much, for the way we’ve been treated, for the hospitality we’ve met. How could we but not loooove China”
Are you in CH? If you are there and that is the way you think you must be a masochist. 😉

“It’s the result of the Chinese government fucking up again and again and again”
Don’t forget the people there

“I really like those absolutely meaningless stories, I really do.”
You seems not to like irony. Sorry to hear

“Modern China is a JOKE”
Yes, it is, absolutely!!!”
Allow me disagree in this…..

“Let me guess, ecodelta, you only know China from a few holiday journeys?”
Wrong guess. But close in someway. I was only once close to CH, at the border with Vietnam. I know more of this country, by working there with help organizations each year.
Yea, maybe I am a naive person. So a naive person that prefer to try to see beyond the dark sides of CH, which may be many but not all.
I always hear the same complain in VN, to many foreigners despising the country even their people because of disagreement with the government. There is more to CH than CCP, like there is mor in the US than GWBush

June 28, 2008 @ 2:54 pm | Comment

@ecodelta

Now you give me a break. You just said “I was only once close to CH, at the border with Vietnam”, in other words, you’ve never even been to China, and you want to lecture me?

June 28, 2008 @ 8:19 pm | Comment

@mor
“you’ve never even been to China, and you want to lecture me”

In that particular issue of putting whole country and his people in one box, yes

June 29, 2008 @ 4:51 am | Comment

@mor

By the way, you reminds me of the argument of some of the fenqins who visit this, and other blogs.

You are not Chinese, you have no lived enough in CH, only CH people can understand CH, you expat live in a fairy land, you foreigners get special streatmen. You do not know CH! Can not say anything about it! 😉

Humans are human, here, there and everywhere. And I meet a lot of then everyday.

June 29, 2008 @ 4:57 am | Comment

@ecodelta

“By the way, you reminds me of the argument of some of the fenqins who visit this, and other blogs.”

I’ll return this compliment to you. When you said:

“Are you in CH? If you are there and that is the way you think you must be a masochist.”

you used the old fenqing stance: if you don’t like it here, just bagger off! So, if we laowai do not happen to live in China, we are not supposed to say anything critical about the Great Middle Kingdom, because we don’t “understand” China. If, however, we happen to live in China, we are not supposed to say anything critical, either, because – see above. Unfortunately, this nonsensical argumentation doesn’t work with somebody who has spent several years of his life in China, but left a while ago. By the way, I didn’t say China is an evil empire, I just agreed to the statement: “Modern China is a joke.” And if you had spent any time in China, you would know what we were talking about.

June 29, 2008 @ 5:33 am | Comment

The cable station was CNBC. Yes the track and field US Olympic Team trial is on tonight from 8pm to 9pm on NBC. Can you check and see if there are any good movies on this weekend?

Wow You are right that means there is a significantly large amount of media coverage of the Olympics happening in the US right now.

One whole hour saturday night dedicated to the US team.

You win again I was totally off base by suggesting there has been very little media coverage in the US of the olympics and thinking that the News media seems more absorbed with housing foreclosures and oil prices.

CNN dedicated an hour to analyzing the body language of Barack and Hillary to determine whether they really really like each other or are just faking it during the recent joint rally, that was just a subset of the other analysis and discussion.

I guess NBC has the broadcast franchise this year. I was your age when Los Angeles held the summer olympics. Recall at this point being irritated by day long in depth biography’s of every US athlete on the weekends, seems like that was NBC also. The guy from Dateline was the narrator with poetic heartfeld stories of every athletes struggle from humble beginnings, and the total obession with competing in the games.

I haven’t been to mcdonalds in a longtime, but in the past they have given out olympic event cards and if a us athlete won a medal in the event then you won a certain item from their menu. But I guess that wouldn’t start until august.

Matt Lauer boadcasting live from the host city as part of the lead up to the openning is another old olympic tradition, not sure if that will happen this time. Maybe it has already, i don’t watch the morning news shows. In the past many reporters went to the host city to broadcast live during the run up to the event and then during the event also.

My earliest recollections of the Olympics are of Mark Spitz winning medals in swimming in the 1972 summer olympics. I remember watching some of this on TV. The most solid early memory I have is the 1976 Winter Olympics in Innsbruck.

It would make sense that the broadcast media would start to increase coverage in July and build up to August. I suspect a lot of national and local crews from the US had planned to go and provide live human interest reports from Beijing, but have now canceled or put those plans on hold. Can’t blame them for denying matt lauer a visa.

He might have asked a Beijing citizen what he thinks of the foreclosure mess in the US and if they think it’s worse in Beijing.

June 29, 2008 @ 9:01 am | Comment

Mor,

You made some pretty interesting comment above but I woukld have to say that you do seem pretty wound up, to the point of sounding actually vengeful at moments, you should try to unwind and not let those bad things take hold of you…

I think Mings comments were really helpful, except the last one which I didnt appreciate as much but then eco’s comment explained rather what I thought in a nice and funny way. I agree with eco that people who criticize China have their reasons and those reasons are not hatred. There may be exceptions like people who are vengeful for some things that have been done wrong to them personally, it’s understandable.

I think it would be god if some Chinese people would really try to see why some westerners criticize China. There are reasons, different reasons for different people I suppose.

“just leave it alone. It’s on the other side of the world, it won’t hurt you.” ming

I for one, cannot accept this. I would like to, but it’s really not logical.

1.One world, one dream right?, heh heh. Some people might feel that we live in a global community so people are people no matter where they live. So because China is considered a separate country does not mean that all people of the world will not give a darn about the fellow human beings in that country.

2.Leave IT alone, ITS on the …,
You can’t speak for all Chinese. YOU want people to leave something alone, but there are people who will greatly benefit from being released from gulags and things like that if we manage to make some change, westerners and Chinese alike. Many Chinese need help and considering the languishing situation , I dont think they are so picky about who helps them have basic rights and freedoms.

3.IT wont hurt you…
China is not one single entity. If by IT you mean the little old lady who lives down the lane, no maybe she is very sweet and kind, but westerners are aware (to varying degrees) that certain people in a certain party in China have global interests and some westerners do not like the way they stifle peoples human rights and are deceitful and murderous…It wont hurt you is quite a debatable point, quite, mainly the so called leadership (mob) that controls the people through false propaganda.

Lots of interesting comments. Best wishes to you Mor, and your pretty wife (- :

June 29, 2008 @ 10:21 am | Comment

to Jeremiah
Even Beijing Olympics turned out to be a stunning success, China would still be far from a developed country.

June 29, 2008 @ 11:01 am | Comment

@Tang

Thanks. I just figured out that the peacock logo for NBC has been modified to include the olympic 5 circles logo just under the peacock. So that means NBC is the official 2008 olympics broadcaster for US prime time. That means that clown from Dateline will probably be narrating the life stories of every US athlete again.

June 29, 2008 @ 11:09 am | Comment

Dear Snow,

It’s very nice that you are worried about me, but there’s no reason to. I’m just a European troll with too much time on my hands and I like to take apart the arguments of people who don’t really know what they are talking about. Having said that, ecodelta usually writes very good comments. I just wish he would tell us more about places he’s actually been to. For example, I would like to know what Vietnamese people think about the Chinese. I bet, they love them, don’t they?

June 29, 2008 @ 5:57 pm | Comment

@mor
Vietnamese people do not like to show conflicting opinions to foreigners, but sometimes it is possible for us, foreigners, to see beyond the privacy barrier they sometimes set up. But I personally prefer not to be too nosy when they choose to keep thing for themselves. But sometimes they make some interesting confidences.

Once I asked a friend about what they think of the Chinese, after long silence, she just said, “We Vietnamese are different people”. I felt that much more was being said in that short sentence. They did not permit themselves to become another “show” minority in the middle kingdom (or some other kingdom).. at great cost. In this respect they are luckier than TB.

Sorry to hear about your bad experiences in CH, maybe I overdone some of my comments, but I do feel that here in PD and other blogs we center too much on negative side of CH. Very few positives issues appears. We risk to alienate CH posters who could make interesting contributions. CH like Vietnamese feel proud of their country, feel hurt when we only make critic comments of them and are very much aware of the shortcomings of their government but do not like to be reminded all the time about them. They know these shortcomings very well, can not get rid easily from them, can do little against them and risk all just but trying.
Still they would very much like to receive some praise for the progress they have done in the last years

There are many evil things in CH, and not a few of them do enrage me, sometime very deeply. But I do not allow my emotions to blind me from many other sides in CH.

Regards to your wife, if I am not mistaken she must be a very special person.

June 29, 2008 @ 8:53 pm | Comment

Dear ecodelta,

“We Vietnamese are different people”. That certainly is an interesting statement. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t sound very positive to me.

I have absolutely nothing against anybody being proud of his/her country. But in China I’ve often had the feeling that it’s not so much pride, but a strong national inferiority complex. As a matter of fact, China does get a lot of praise. Not from me, that’s for sure, but if you look at the media all over the world or even at this blog, there are a lot of people from different countries who have a very high opinion of China and its government. The fact that Chinese nationalists still complain about “Western” media and “Western” people being biased and prejudiced against China only shows that they just can’t stand anybody not joining in the eternal litany of “China is great! China is the new superpower of the world.”

I’m not thinking of China as evil, but when another commenter referred to modern China as a joke I couldn’t help agreeing. In very many ways, modern China is a joke, sometimes a very bad joke.

June 29, 2008 @ 10:09 pm | Comment

MSNBC is broadcasting US Olympic Womens Volleyball Team playing against Brazil. The announcers said some nice things about the coach Lang Ping. I wonder what’s going through her mind getting her adopted countries team ready to compete in Beijing this year.

June 30, 2008 @ 12:13 am | Comment

@Ming

Thanks for the serious response and not taking my question personally. “Great White Terror” was my own rhetorical embellishment, but I’ve heard descriptions of the West constructed similarly.

I have an MA in Chinese studies and can read Chinese, so I’m well aware that Chinese do complain on the internet about their government all the time (hell, for my thesis I had to pour over thousands and thousands of complaints registered on the Strong China Forum.) I’ve also lived over here for quite a while.

That being said, I guess I still find it frustrating that when confronted with an obvious flaw by the CCP, many Chinese will defend their government’s wrongdoing. I think your face argument is spot on as much as I hate pulling the “face” card when explaining Chinese behavior. (I also think that my own bias towards the idea that it is a civic duty to publicly decry injustice sometimes prevents me from understanding the cultural influences at play in Chinese politics.)

I would go farther though in saying that this concern over face is continually manipulated by the Chinese media and education system in the CCP’s favor. Thus, the innocuous cultural difference that you describe actually becomes volatile in the hands of the ruling party that takes advantage of it to promote a patriotism that supports CCP rule above social justice.

I think things are changing for the better overall. All those anonymous Internet voices are starting to turn government heads. However, it is sad that it has to be done in anonymity because those who decide to speak out in their own voice are automatically silenced by whatever means necessary. It automatically weakens any criticism when it is represented by an anonymous group.

June 30, 2008 @ 6:47 pm | Comment

“All those anonymous Internet voices are starting to turn government heads.”

Well, some of those Internet voices are imprisoned now, like Hu Jia. Let him burn in hell, while we enjoy the Olympics. And we can always say that China is so much better than it was under the Great Pig Mao Zedong. That certainly will make Hu Jia and his family feel better.

July 4, 2008 @ 6:27 am | Comment

Hi,

what I am about to say here may not be relevant to this post.
However, I will say it anyway.

I do wonder why on earth Beijing can claim they are ready for this 2008 Olympic.
There are just so many better cities in China that can deliver better games.

My few complaint go as follow:

1. Completely screwed up transport system. What a joke is this with BJ subway and bus?
Old shitty bus and train that don’t come with air con!
Subways station that looks downright dingy, rundown and doesn’t even come with working elevator!
For crying out loud as Olympic host, I don’t care how you do it!
As a guest, I want a comfortable transport and environment! What kind of Olympic host will skimp on electricity bill anyhow!
Don’t even get me to mention how far too many people smells like stale garlic!

2. Atrocious Beijing cuisine. Anyone across China and the world already knows one thing the Cantonese cuisine IS the king of haute Chinese cuisine, not those greasy, salty and MSG-ridden Beijing cuisine! O dear, how I pity those foreign athlete shocked by how poor “real” Chinese food can be in Beijing. They just don’t know what they have been missing.

3. Poor English proficiency:
The Central Government / BOCOG really love to brag and boast how many English speaker will be available for 2008 Olympics. Nothing could have been further from the truth I am afraid..
A few cases I have come across in relation to this matter:
* I came across a few Middle Eastern looking people in the new T3 Airport. What happen is that a security officer wanted to do thorough search on them. It seems that they don’t know Mandarin either so he resorted to English. Shockingly, he said ” Hello hello!”.
Please Beijing airport! How low can the English standard be?
If he can’t even speak a decent English and at least know how to properly address someone in English, like “Sir” or “Excuse me sir” then he doesn’t even deserve to be employed as airport staff! For sure, Airport staff is not just another street peddlar or taxi driver

* I went to accompany my friend to visit a couple luxury boutiques in WangFuJing Peninsula Hotel. He visited a couple few and I am again severely shocked by how low their English standard can be. He went to places like Louis Vuitton and Burberry store. How surprised we are that we were told in Chinese to go to a a staff who can speak English. O dear, if you can’t even speak English I don’t even think you deserve to employed even in the pettiest job there at all!

This may sound arrogant but please…
He is about to purchase good worth 1000s of RMB, why should he expect anything less than staff with fluent English anyway?

Given these two cases, does those naive (or downright stupid boasting) look sensible at all?

4. Shockingly poor air quality!
I just departed from Beijing last week from the new terminal. Mind you, the visibility and air quality are nothing less than appalling in new airport vicinity!
It’s like my taxi driver has to switch on his headlight just to see the road clearly
Birdnest vicinity doesn’t fare much better either. Unless you get close enough, it is hopelessly enshrouded in thick smog.

All in all please do not take my complaint as China-bashing.
There are good points about Beijing, I just can’t mention it but they exist in my mind.
I do think China does deserve this Olympic but it’s just that there is a better city worthy of holding it, like Shenzhen or Hongkong say.
Every single complaint I say before are easily a lot better if not non-existent in both.
Both or either can co-host a fantastic Olympic!

July 15, 2008 @ 2:13 am | Comment

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