Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The sleeping giant.. an Olympic reality

ESPV rarely gets political as we like to dwell more on creative arts as escapism from the constant bad news we all see in the media daily. However, as much of the ESPV crew has lived in Hong Kong SAR for a number of years, its difficult not to be interested in HK/China developments..
For most the Olympics represents the coming together of nations to inspire global unity and peace, whilst providing a stage for athletes to compete for their country. As we all know the Olympics has had its share of troublesome times in the past with Nazi control in the forties and terrorist incidents in the seventies, eighties and nineties.
In 2008, China will host the games in Beijing, much to the disappointment of many activists for human rights, animal rights, freedom of speech and various green groups. Unfortunately, living in Hong Kong SAR and having visited China many times, I can’t say I blame them for kicking up a fuss.

Just last week China’s current president Hu Jintao issued a ‘stern warning against any attempt by “external forces” to meddle in the affairs of Hong Kong and Macau’, vowing Beijing will ‘resolutely fight such a plot’...
Also in last week’s press, the HK Chief Executive (fancy name for China’s Puppet) Donald Tsang, claimed that the people in HK that fight for full democracy by 2012 could ‘provoke a revolution in HK/China which, many people could get hurt’…
Earlier in the year a parliament rep loyal to Tsang and the mainland claimed that the Tiananmen Square incident in which hundreds of students marching for freedom and democracy were gunned down by the military, ‘was not a macaque’…
Yup, happy days.. gives you a nice warm feeling every time you read the Made in China stamp on the bottom of all the products you buy. (Hu Jintao and Donald Tsang)

Business in China is booming due to the country’s low costs for labor and manufacturing. Thus, a huge amount of corporations around the world have seen increasingly high profits in recent years.
As China makes more money from increased business, the people of China are in line to benefit from increased labor and wages. Although, many employment studies have shown that the wealth gap in the mainland continues to grow larger and that increased profits are not trickling down to the factory labors as one would presume. This illustrates one of China’s main flaws – corruption.

One doesn’t have to look far when observing China’s ‘less then popular’ practices.
Their controversial capital punishment regime has been criticized by the international community for years. Many reports have found the court system in China to be a joke, running unfair trials with limited or no representation for the accused which, results in large numbers of ‘guilty criminals’ being executed on a daily basis.
Continuing evidence is also being leaked from the mainland involving secret death camps and organ harvesting for Falun Gong members, and anyone else opposing the People’s Republic of China (PRC).. (see The Epoch Times for more details on http://en.epochtimes.com/211,111,,1.html).
The ‘customized’ version of Google and Yahoo for China’s citizens is also widely disputed by the international community.. the online corporations, together with the PRC, prohibits any anti-china articles or content being read and limit their search engines. (Falun Gong protest in the US) (Falun Gong protest gone bad in Beijing)

Like any country, China is far from perfect. However, many people claim that the Olympics is exactly what China needs to help bring the sleeping economic/military giant closer to western/democratic views in hope to improve human rights and freedom for their people. Which is a great thought, although one wonders if it is for the benefit of international trade rather then improved living for China’s people...
In either case, with much to answer for, China will no doubt put on a great show for the Olympics in 2008 and many say that if they are allowed to do so then why not hold the next Olympics in North Korea, Afghanistan, Iran, Palestine, Pakistan, Sudan and Iraq? International trade may not booming in these countries like in China, but for the sake of freedom, peace and democracy it may bring more unity world… maybe.