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Heavy-Handed Politics

"€œGod willing, with the force of God behind it, we shall soon experience a world
without the United States and Zionism."€ -- Iran President Ahmadi-Nejad

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Admiring China?

Hugh Hewitt writes:
Barack Obama heads towards his big acceptance speech with a growing number of questions about his understanding of how the world really works. Last week the Democratic nominee told a surprised America that it had fallen behind Communist China when it came to public works, saying:

"Their ports; their train systems; their airports are all vastly superior to us now."

Evidently Obama does not care for the lack of pollution controls in Beijing or the ghastly labor conditions there. This admiration for totalitarian achievements is unsettling. Does Obama truly not understand that just a few miles from the Olympic village is vast squalor and a few hundred more are the ruins of thousands of schools built to Chinese standards?

I am quite certain Obama does not understand. Interestingly, about a week ago Mark Alexander wrote about "China’s porcelain facade."

Mr. Alexander started his column with this:
Having just returned from Beijing, where I was the guest with a corporate association, it is a bit disconcerting to watch NBC’s glossy coverage of the Olympic games, and China in general, and to endure the echo NBC’s coverage is receiving through other media outlets. The network dared not venture off the reservation, and its coverage offered no observation on the obfuscation outside the Olympic village. While in China, I enjoyed major Olympic venues, but I was far more impressed by meetings with several Chinese leaders of underground Christian movements, Chinese entrepreneurs, and other Chinese reformers.

Suffice it to say, I found China to mirror what I anticipated: A great people enslaved under the rule of the tyrannical Red Chinese government—1.329 billion people, in fact, who share none of the rights outlined in our Constitution, which most Americans take for granted.

Alexander writes:
Mao may be dead, but he is not gone. His iconic image is ubiquitous in both urban and rural China, even appearing on the face of every denomination of Chinese currency. The Russian people tore down statues of V.I. Lenin soon after the collapse of the Soviet empire. The prevalence of Mao’s image is a good indication that the Red Chinese government is still alive and well, despite reports of its imminent demise.

For the 2008 Olympics, China put on its best face, rather like a movie set. Beijing’s new airport is among the world’s finest. Every main Olympic thoroughfare was newly paved, signed, landscaped and lighted. Even the primary rural routes outside the city had makeovers, with fresh paint and greenery covering 100 feet on either side of those roads. Beyond that makeup, however, was the dirt and dilapidation that makes up most of China’s rural areas.

In Beijing, amid the very real modern architecture, there is a modern marvel of an office building which occupies an entire city block. Upon closer inspection, however, it is actually nothing more than a very large frame covered by enormous sheets of vinyl on which had been printed features that might be on a modern building. From major thoroughfares, that building blocks a sea of dilapidated Soviet-era apartment buildings. The vinyl screen even featured two businessmen looking out a window, perhaps speculating on whether the wind would blow them away.

The new Olympic structures were certainly impressive, though few of the 250,000 people who were ejected from Soviet-era block housing that formerly blighted the Olympic green were adequately compensated. Indeed, many of them did not receive alternate housing.

Additionally, says Alexander:
The Red Chinese government also created numerous other environmental effects. Consequently, the ceremony became a metaphor for the whole fraudulent facade that hides China’s Communist government under the strong arm of “Dear Leader” president Hu Jintao.

For example, only one of the 29 spectacular firework footprints featured in the aerial footage leading to the Bird’s Nest stadium was real; the others were computer generated.

How did the Chinese government endeavor to deceive a city of 19 million people, and a stadium of 91 thousand spectators, including this humble observer?

During the ceremony, there was only one helicopter overhead, a China Central Television helicopter providing aerial footage edited by the Chinese central government and fed to NBC. Beijingers dared not speak of the disparity in what was happening over their heads versus NBC’s coverage, but a few Chinese bloggers got the word out.

And finally, he closes, by saying:
Of course, there were veneers beyond the Birds Nest, too.

Along the marathon routes, the 10-foot “culture walls” exhibited cultural images, which the government preferred to promote over images of the slums behind the walls. Again, the air feed was from a CCTV helicopter, and NBC wasn’t about to give us a glimpse of the squalor behind those impressive barriers.

Even the less popular venues appeared to be at capacity seating, thanks to the recruitment of “volunteers” to fill the seats.

Notably absent from any media coverage were protests of any size and description, as all those who were considered a “threat to the success of the Olympics” were kept far away from any cameras.

Likewise, few protests lodged on Chinese Internet sites make it to the outside world.

Having walked some of the Great Wall at one of its highest points prior to the beginning of the Olympics, I can report that on a rare clear day, the view to the east is magnificent. However, few dissenting views from Chinese citizens make it over the Great Firewall of China.

The Chinese government routinely blocks millions of websites with references to Taiwan, Tibet, Darfur, Tiananmen, Amnesty International, freedom, liberty and democracy, ad infinitum.

Still, the whole world could access the International Olympic Committee’s Beijing website, with its laughable guarantee from IOC president Jacques Rogge of “no censorship in Beijing.”

Beyond the Olympics, and beyond China’s porcelain facade, the foreign investment in China and the resulting economic growth is as vigorous as the purges by Mao’s Red Guard. Still, every fledgling Chinese business owner shares this unspoken concern: Will I still own my business in 10 years, or will the government nationalize it (or otherwise take control of it through excessive taxation—the U.S. model adaptation of Socialism).

There is another economic concern that the entire free world should lose some sleep over. If the Chinese economy does not continue its present growth rate, producing almost 20 million new jobs annually to meet its bulging urban population, the result could be massive civil unrest. More than 50 percent of the Chinese people now live in urban centers, and the illegal migration of rural Chinese to the urban areas continues unabated. Needless to say, as was the case at Tiananmen Square 19 years ago, the Red Chinese government does not handle civil unrest well.

A likely response to civil discord could be the absorption of millions of additional Chinese into the Red Army and service corps, bolstered by a resurgence of Communist nationalism. For sure, the Reds will be looking for some creative activity to occupy the minds of the Chinese people, something to divert them from concern about their empty stomachs.

In 1919, before communism came to China, a student newspaper there boldly proclaimed as its motto, “Democracy—a government for the people, by the people and of the people.” Don’t expect to see any student newspapers proclaiming anything along those lines anytime soon.

Mr. Obama is too young, too inexperienced, and too naive to be the president of the United States.


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