Thursday, June 12, 2008

A New York Times op-ed

This is dumb.

This is dumber:

There’s an inherent contradiction between China’s desire to invite the world to the Olympics and its effort to deny those visitors — and its own people — the most basic freedoms. Last week, an I.O.C. official said he is convinced the Games would be a “force for good” in China. The committee and Western governments need to remind Beijing that the world is watching, and so far the picture isn’t good.

The picture isn't good? And how great was the picture for the Atlanta Games, when the world was treated to the most over-commercialized Games ever (not to mention that bomb...)? This probably never crossed the minds of the New York Times' all-so-conscientious and morally snobby editors, but maybe China doesn't care what the West thinks. Maybe China realizes it's the main superpower in its half the globe, and that it should do what's best in its interest, not the West's.

China's leaders, it has been said, are very shrewd, very intelligent and very efficient. I think if they felt press freedom was what's best for the country, they'd allow the press its freedom. And if it decided that China's a country formed out of political turmoil and dissent, and that authoritarianism is, at present, the surest method for ensuring peace, then, well, you'll get authoritarianism.

The NY Times also blatantly misses or misinterprets more than one point. Another excerpt:

On its Web site last week, the Chinese Olympic organizing committee listed a set of restrictions for the 500,000 overseas visitors expected in August. Olympic spectators are being told not to bring in “anything detrimental” to China, including printed materials, photos, records or movies. Religious or political banners or slogans are banned. So are rallies, demonstrations and marches — unless approved by authorities in advance. It also says that visitors with mental illnesses and sexually transmitted diseases will be barred from the country.

We shudder at how those judgments — many of them highly subjective or intrusive — will be made.

There are no judgments waiting to be made. I suspect no one will ever be kicked out of the country for carrying an STD, but that if, say, a person spits on the portrait of Deng Xiaopeng at Tiananmen Square, the country will try to find any way possible of dealing with him, and if he (or she) happens to have an STD, well... isn't there that rule against that?

This is how China works, of course, and I'm surprised the Times, of all papers, didn't understand.

Shudder away.

1 comment:

kevinreitz said...

Clearly, you must have meant that first link was brilliant, not dumb. I'll forgive your oversight.