As the games begin…

I watched a bit of the Olympics inauguration, esp. the lighting of the flame and the very grand display of fireworks that followed. Seems like magnificent fireworks were simultaneously set off in many parts of Beijing that resulted in a breathtaking aerial view (YouTube).

But a WaPo article captures my feelings perfectly: In four years, London shouldn’t even try to compete with the spectacle that Beijing bestowed upon our wondering eyes in the Opening Ceremonies. No democracy can or should invest the money and manpower that went into this city-wide fireworks-spewing deification of national pride, athletic aspiration and Communist Party self-congratulation. Public money could never be justified for such an insanely exhilarating night. Only a People’s Republic could squander so lavishly.

It’s befitting that the government of China threw the grandest Olympics opening party ever. Because both are an affront to freedom.

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5 Responses to As the games begin…

  1. creamanups says:

    So where is the limit between lavish and being simple? Let’s say China had more simple inaugural event, then I’m sure these American whiners would’ve complained that communists don’t have a taste for art and chinese people cannot handle big events. That article, for me it sounds like an American man jealous of seeing what he saw in Bejing. The reference to New York City proves that, he’s just worried at Beijing looking much bigger than what he though, not just in terms of fireworks or stadiums, but more in terms of its power.
    Why there is a sudden interest for USA regarding the human rights in China? I don’t know about that, but why USA doesn’t question itself on what is happening inside their own land. How can a responsible nation defy the International Court of Justice’s decision and execute a foreign national. For me USA’s policies and its good old propaganda model is just hypocrisy.
    Americans are known for their ignorance, aren’t they?. He says, “The party that the People’s Republic threw here far surpassed any spectacle I have ever seen at dozens of sports extravaganzas, including Olympics, Super Bowls and World Series”. Come on, think beyond super bowl and world series.

  2. Oh, I don’t really care what American government or that journalist thinks of China vis-a-vis the US. I linked to that article because it showed up on my Google News and was good.

    The only interesting part is “No democracy can or should invest the money and manpower…”
    My concern if for the people of China who have no say in this display of wealth – Chinese and US governments be damned.

    For the record, I would oppose Olympics in India if it involved any government spending. There is an argument that Olympics result in positive externalities (link), but the widespread corruption and loss incurred to hosting cities in earlier editions don’t justify it. Also, saying Olympics brings good things in its wake is the broken window fallacy.

    It’s only a non-free society that can blitz through all this and host a grand party for the Olympics. For a counterexample, eee how much Londoners are cut up over the 2012 Olympics (link).

    You are perfectly right that it’s silly for US gov to criticize China, considering they have Gitmo now. Last week the US House of Reps passed a resolution condemning China’s human rights record. It was passed 419 to 1. Guess who was the lone dissenter and what he had to say? : link

    But there’s a thin line. Liberals are wont to feel Govt ought to speak up against human rights abuses anywhere (a la Obama). I think that should be left to civil society. Or at least the government should follow the Constitution in these matters.

  3. hyperbrain says:

    It’s befitting that the government of China threw the grandest Olympics opening party ever. Because both are an affront to freedom.
    Huh? The Olympics are an affront to freedom? What am I missing here??

  4. Oh, my usual gripe: We shouldn’t be using government money for Olympics :) To that extent the Olympics are not a result of free choice.

    What I don’t understand is how any Olympics city can ever have a loss. Or in China’s case, why the government had to spend so much. Considering how the biggest MNC’s are sponsoring the Olympics and all the media people are making so much money, why do they expect government to build the necessary infrastructure? I’d firmly put it upon those companies to fund any stadiums, roads or accommodation required. If they want to, they can buy the land from whoever owns it and retain these facilities forever. Well, China is an extreme/tragic case because of the amount of atrocities that happened during the run up to the games.

    I have put another detailed reply to another comment on this post, you might want to check it out.

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