What did the Olympics do for China's image?

I’m a fan of Chinese culture. I find it elegant and powerful, and often just fascinating. Still, we are all aware of the humanitarian problems in China. It also has a basic image problem, as the new USSR of sorts. Many Americans (or any other nation) fear China as a Communist super power. So they put on a show at the Olympics, a reminder of their majesty, economic power, cultural contributions, and frankly a sort of nascent cosmopolitanism. They look ready to really join the world community, or at least that’s the image they projected.

So did it help? I think it did. I was very impressed by the whole thing, and I’m already familiar with Chinese history and culture (well, moreso than most Americans anyway). It was a stunning display. Everything seemed top notch, and they really seemed to spare no expenses. I think Bush being there really helped cement the idea that America and China could work together in the future, rather than being enemies.

There were still troubling episodes: the stabbing early in the games, the girls gymnastics team seemingly breaking the rules, and the general information about how their sports programs work, using notions that are quite Communist. The idea of grabbing potential athletes at the age of three and practically forcing them to work in that field has to trouble those with liberal sensibilities.

But overall, I saw some good things from the Olympics and think it will help their world image, at least in the short term.

I think it helped the governments image a bit. The thing about China is that most of the world loves its people and culture, but hates its government.

The fact that a lot of the “pomp and majesty” was faked didn’t really help.

I love Chinese culture as well.

Fuck Communism.

I was all set to be impressed, but then Aquaman crushed everyone and I totally forgot about China.

What do you mean? Pomp and majesty is always a show. Does that make it faked? I don’t even know what faked means in this context.

I’m surprised at people getting positivity out of these Olympics.

It’s possible that my circle of friends are all just a bunch of negative, cynical d-bags, but everyone I know has basically agreed that this Olympic games, from start to finish, has been pretty much the biggest public display of corruption in years. From the start with the CGI fireworks and the replacement of the ‘ugly’ girl to judge calls that went beyond questionable. Toss in the stories coming out of China prior to the Olympics, like the events that lead to the Guizhou riot and their response to it, and the way they went about cleaning up the streets of Beijing? Hell, I think even worse of China’s government.

And I love China. My girlfriend and I are planning on a vacation to China in 2010, if everything pans out. But these Olympic games didn’t help my impression of their government one bit.

I hear Li Ning was attached to wires; he didn’t really run across the walls of the stadium like Spiderman.

I mean that it has been widely reported that China recorded stuff like some of the fireworks and spectacle of the opening ceremony ahead of time and then “airbrushed” it into the broadcast to make things look much prettier and brighter than it really was. Likewise, the clean streets, the cheerful people, the happy cabbies, etc. etc. were manufactured just for foreign consumption–the cabbies were issued uniforms just for the event, and forced to learn some English at risk of having their licenses revoked. I mean my goodness, the Chinese even tried to clean up their freaking air quality and their skies for the event.

And as soon as the foreigners leave, they will go right back to spitting in the streets, treating people like shit, and trashing the planet once again.

Also, read what Bahimiron says up above, it contains further examples of the manipulation of events to try and fool people and, in essence, cheat.

Well, yes. Of course, that’s not what China is REALLY like, any more than the Atlanta games showed what America is really like. Every nation puts their best foot forward. They cleaned up the streets; made the cabbies more presentable to Westerners, etc. HOW they did it might certainly be questioned. But can you blame them for trying to make things look nice for foreigners, especially when the whole world is watching?

The broadcast that NBC used was made by China?

Yes, in so far as China managed to not oppress their citizens openly on the world stage, the Olympics helped their image. Because mostly just because people are stupid and are easily beguiled by spectacle.

Who cares what their image is, anyway? At some point, they will become so powerful that image won’t matter. The main thing the Olympics did was boost China’s self-image - given how blindly nationalistic the Chinese people are already (hi Dirt!) I don’t think they needed any help in this area.

Maybe. But right now, I think they do need a better image. A lot of their economy is based on exports, right? Granted, with their cheap labor and other advantages, I doubt their image plays much of a role. But they still clearly want to improve it. They spent a LOT on the pageantry here.

I’m guessing that to Joe Public, the Olympics improved China’s image.


It wasn’t till Bill Dungsroman’s post about the organ harvesting of Falun Gong members that I decided I could safely go with Berlin '36 parallels. A loathsome government and a blindly nationalistic people.

I’ve noticed on the China channels that they don’t show the medals that Taiwan earned.

Fuck Communism.

Nationalism will increase and the Poliburo will grow in power, clamping down even harder on dissidents in the name of progress and China’s greatness.

Fuck Communism.

Looks like new information out today indicting another of the little-girl gymnasts as being too young to legally compete. Again, materials taken directly from government records, as cached in the Chinese’ own systems.

I heard one year, some guy set off bombs during the Olympics! Was that in China?

Glass houses, and all that…

During the Lillehammer Olympic games, TV images between events showed foxes and other wildlife running around close to the venue. Charming… and every bit of it fake; TV images manipulated to show the Norway that we’d like to imagine.

As I recall, the Atlanta Olympic games were preceded by mass-arrests of the homeless, as well as tenant evictions and demolition of black neighborhoods. Rights to demonstrate were severely curtailed.

Where is the outrage over the continued pollution in Athens… a city that easily rivals Beijing for lack of air quality?

Much of the Western media’s “outrage” is not only misplaced and one-sided; it also lacks historical perspective. Obviously, China’s human rights abuses should not be ignored, but what country doesn’t try to present the best possible face to the world when given the chance?