So here I am, sitting on my couch for the third night in a row, watching the 2008 Beijing Olympics. The opening ceremony was completely over the top, lots of fireworks, displays of Chinese culture, and a giant parade of athletes from all over the world. I enjoyed witnessing this historic event, after all, it only comes every four years. Christmas is more common.
Ok, so where am I going with this. I don’t feel that it is right for China, (officially People’s Republic of China) to spend billions of dollars for a 17 day celebration. This is a country of poverty and oppression. Human rights have been an issue there for over fifty years- but the progress is slow. How can they justify spending such huge figures when some of their factory workers make seven cents a day, living in extreme destitution? How can we travel to a country that openly supports Sudan’s genocide in Darfur? Who limits family size to one child? Where pollution is so bad that 350 factories in the near by area were forced to close down weeks ago in hopes of some improvement in air quality?
I understand there are reasons why Beijing was chosen as the host city- I mean, cmon, China has ONE FIFTH of the ENTIRE world population. I understand that this can help their economy (really though? even after $280 billion was spent on new buildings and facilities? really?) Maybe all this attention will shed light on the people who struggle in China. Maybe it will show how harsh the government regulations are on freedoms like religion, marriage, and movement. After watching the bright and shiny show of the opening ceremony- I can’t see how.