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Reality is, the dazzle hides oppression
Atlanta Journal and Constitution ^ | 08/14/2008 | Luke Boggs

Posted on 08/14/2008 5:45:38 PM PDT by Railroad

The fleet of silver pickups may not have wowed the planet when Atlanta welcomed the 1996 Olympics, but at least the trucks and the marching bands and the gospel choirs were real.

That's more than you can say for two key elements of Friday's dazzling Opening Ceremony in Beijing. Not only were some fireworks faked for TV, but the perfect little girl shown performing a Chinese anthem wasn't the owner of the perfect voice that appeared to come from her mouth.

A Chinese Politburo member watching a rehearsal didn't like the teeth of Yang Peiyi, 7, who had won a chance to perform the anthem in a national competition. Just like that, one girl was out and another was in —- at least on camera. Officials used Yang Peiyi's vocal performance even after booting her off the stage. "The reason was for the national interest," a Chinese producer candidly said later. "The child on camera should be flawless."

Is it a big deal, a few phony fireworks and one little girl using another's voice? Not if you prefer your Olympic entertainment to be completely divorced from the cold hard reality of authoritarian-style public relations. With China, that's tough to do.

No one should be surprised that China's leaders didn't let anything get in the way of their perfect spectacle. After all, the folks running China are still Communists. And they've done —- and continue to do —- far worse than quash one little girl's Olympic dreams.

At the risk of spoiling your soda and popcorn and the idyllic images coming from Beijing, Communist China is anything but perfect. While the Chinese people have some limited economic autonomy, they are not free. Not hardly.

Chinese citizens don't enjoy most of the fundamental freedoms we often take for granted. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. Freedom of the press and assembly and travel. The Chinese even lack the freedom to have more than one child, with women continuing to endure forced abortions and sterilizations.

Politically, little has changed in the 19 years since the Tiananmen Square massacre, when the People's Liberation Army smothered the people's democratic aspirations in a crush of tanks and a hail of bullets. The people, who only wanted liberty, were brutally denied. And China's leadership hasn't changed.

Prisoners of conscience —- peaceful people seeking reform —- still languish in prison and suffer torture and so-called "re-education through labor." According to Amnesty International's Irene Khan, "The crackdown on activists has deepened, not lessened, because of the Olympics." (For details, visit or see Amnesty's latest report on China at

Don't misunderstand me. I know there are many fine and decent people in China. The Communist government, however, continues to oppress those people, and we cannot afford to ignore that fact, for the sake of China's people and our own national security.

While not as transparently menacing as Brezhnev's Soviet Union, today's China is rapidly building its military. Reality notwithstanding, China continues to claim democratic and independent Taiwan as its province. Just in the past year, China has massed more military forces across the Taiwan Strait from the free island. Our president and Pentagon must ensure they go no farther.

Maybe I just haven't caught the Beijing Olympic spirit, but give me silver pickups and liberty over Communist-made perfection any day. The bright lights and sounds of last week's Opening Ceremony were enjoyed by more than a billion people, but they didn't bring even a thimbleful of new freedom to the people of China.

When Muhammad Ali, his arm shaking with Parkinson's, held the Olympic flame aloft in Atlanta, he wasn't perfect, at least not in the way China's Communists view people. But Ali was perfect for this city and this country, where individuals and their freedoms are cherished —- and the state answers to the people and not the other way around.

> Luke Boggs is a speechwriter living in Alpharetta.

TOPICS: Culture/Society; Foreign Affairs; Government; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: boycottchina; china; olympics; openingceremonies
The Opening Ceremonies just hit me wrong. This guy articulates what I was thinking as I watched the crazy, authoritarian Chinese display Friday night. The regime scares me. Its people deserve more and Mr. Boggs tells the tale well.
1 posted on 08/14/2008 5:45:38 PM PDT by Railroad
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To: Railroad
Its people deserve more and Mr. Boggs tells the tale well.

What is perhaps even more chilling, for me at least, has been the myriad of folks *here* who claim, with a straight and sober face, that the Chinese people "need" that kind of authoritarian government, not just now, but in perpetuity. This is akin to saying that people who live in Asia are somehow, fundamentally different than I am, which I not only consider to be totally erroneous, but racist to the core...

the infowarrior

2 posted on 08/14/2008 6:00:42 PM PDT by infowarrior
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To: TigersEye


3 posted on 08/14/2008 6:06:27 PM PDT by pandoraou812 (Don't play leapfrog with a unicorn! ...........^............)
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To: infowarrior

Ditto for the people in fundamentalist Islamic nations.

4 posted on 08/14/2008 6:19:21 PM PDT by To Hell With Poverty (I'll take a "third Bush term" over a second Carter term ANY DAY!)
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To: To Hell With Poverty
Ditto for the people in fundamentalist Islamic nations.

No argument from me...

the infowarrior

5 posted on 08/14/2008 6:42:29 PM PDT by infowarrior
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To: indcons; Virginia Ridgerunner; Army Air Corps

Here’s another. The ChiComs are good at cheap plastic fakes. They should just make a plastic island to replace Taiwan. They have plenty of people they could force to live on it.

6 posted on 08/14/2008 7:41:18 PM PDT by TigersEye (Berlin '36 ... Olympics for murdering regimes. ... Beijing '08)
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To: infowarrior

The hallmark of a classically deluded Western liberal. When reality doesn’t match expectations, ignore it in favor of ideological purity. People are different. Societies are different. While some values are near universal and shared by many, everyone will place different priorities on which depending on circumstances.

7 posted on 08/14/2008 11:42:07 PM PDT by cmdjing
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To: cmdjing
People are different. Societies are different.

So you're saying that your society is inherently a bunch a pu$$ies who need a nanny state. Telling.

8 posted on 08/15/2008 2:25:45 AM PDT by jmc813 (Welcome to New York, Brett!)
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To: jmc813

No, those are your words not mine.

Then again, you are going to elect the Obamassiah come November so I guess whats good for the goose is good for the gander.

9 posted on 08/15/2008 7:24:29 AM PDT by cmdjing
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