Sunday, August 17, 2008

About recent criticism on China and the Olympics

In these days of Olympic "good vibes", I keep reading articles critizising the Chinese Governement for its position on several issues. Not to mention the ridiculous polemic about the now famous photo of the Spanish Olympic basketball team; as someone already said in some forum, those who think that imitating the Asian almond eyes is racist, it's because they consider people with almond eyes inferior, therefore the problem is with them.

The last article I read came from a well-known Spanish sociologist, Salvador Giner, published in El Periódico de Catalunya today and titled Fantasmagoria Olimpica. I am surprised about the amount of inaccuracies and lack of facts, coming from such a reputed sociologist. First of all, it is obvious that he has never put a foot in Xinjiang and talked to uyghurs (the ethnic minority that lives in that immense province in the northwest of the country), and instead he has just relied on the propaganda spread by the CNN and BBC, which is sad by itself, but it is even sadder when the result attemps to damage the image of a nation (face it, as of today, messing with the Chinese government is messing with the majority of the Chinese people). As for Tibet, I can see that he never talked to any regular Tibetan (not including monks, of course, since they represent the feudal past for the region), and relied again on Western propaganda. How can someone with such a lack of knowledge drop the term "planned demographic invasion" that lightly? Probably he is not aware of all the infrastructures that China has provided to that impoverished region: schools, hospitals, rights, and of course proper means of transportation (now the Beijing-Lhasa railroad, soon they will have a new airport). But those talking about demographic invasions should be better informed of the rules applying, they would learn that for example the one-child policy only applies to the Han majority, and that all minorities such as Tibetans can have up to 4 children... with birth control policies like this it is hard to blame the CCP, it learnt years ago that minorities are an important part of the country's cultural heritage, and is constantly putting into effect new policies in order not only to preserve these groups, but also to help them grow and develop.

And just to make this crystal clear: China has more historical and geographical rights over Xinjiang and Tibet, than Spain has over Ceuta and Melilla, the UK over Gibraltar, or the US over Alaska or Hawaii, to name but a few close examples.

Everybody is free to have his/her opinion on the style of the Inauguration ceremony. But to critizise it for missing some parts of a country's more than 5,000 years history in a 3 hours event is naif, to put it politely. Mr. Giner critizises the non-mention to Genghis Khan and Mao's Cultural Revolution, which would sound a little demagogic, perhaps he should have also included in this request the Japanese invasion, or the Western occupation of ports like Hong Kong, Macau or Shanghai, with its humilliating sign at the entrance of the park "Dogs and Chinese not allowed". Sincerely, I would have expected a little more attitude from an article by a professional like Mr. Salvador Giner. But since he mentioned it, I will note that Mao's time was very well represented by the People's Liberation Army soldiers in the ceremony (something that has also been critizised by some, ignorants of the fact that the PLA is an indivisible part of modern China and it is the representation of the people's power). And as for Genghis Khan, probably he refers to the Yuan Dynasty, ruled by Genghis Khan's grandson, Kublai Khan, a period that only lasted for less than 100 years, which in Chinese history terms is not very relevant... It w
ould have been a long ceremony if every dynasty had to have been represented.

One can agree or disagree on the Chinese governement's way of handling its country. But in order to keep it fair, please do some research before opening your mouths (or typing your articles).

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