Despite the excitement surrounding the Beijing Olympics and the splendor of the opening ceremony, not everything at the Games is quite as it seems.
The little girl seen singing the theme song Ode to the Motherland was in fact lip-synching, because the girl who really sang was deemed not pretty enough. The use of a stand-in to mouth the words was approved by the Communist Party’s Politburo.
When the switch was exposed, government officials ordered a news blackout and had all online reports of it deleted.
Then it was revealed that the TV footage of “giant footprints” over Beijing, seemingly created with fireworks, had been fabricated by computer animation. Even the duet by pianist Lang Lang (郎朗) and a little girl was apparently contrived, since the lid of the grand piano was not even open.
The tricks used at the opening ceremony are not the only part of the Beijing Olympics where appearance is far removed from reality.
The host country did all it could to present itself in the best possible light, sweeping anything that might spoil the view or dampen the spirits under the carpet and suppressing anything and anyone that would not play along.
What the world saw was the greatest investment ever made in physical construction for any Olympic Games. With government leaders from more than 60 countries in attendance, the opening ceremony was indeed spectacular, but the extravaganza was achieved by police state methods.
More than 1 million Beijing residents, migrant workers and petitioners have been forcibly moved or expelled to make way for the Games. Factories in Beijing and surrounding areas have been ordered to suspend or cut production to improve the city’s air quality. Authorities have stepped up monitoring and harassment of dissidents and other unofficial groups.
The great Russian writer Alexander Solzhenitsyn said that totalitarian rule is founded on a framework of violence and falsification.
The more China’s rulers try to show off the country’s image as a military power, the more clearly its totalitarian nature, based on violence and falsification, is visible to all. The Beijing Olympics have been like a mirror, reflecting China’s darker side.
Only fools, the over-excited and those with an ax to grind could fail to see through the sleight of hand. The Olympics’ wart-revealing effect has been all the more obvious with regard to Taiwan. Taiwanese competitors and fans are banned from using their national title, displaying their national flag and singing their national anthem.
Of the more than 200 competing countries, only Taiwan suffers such indignities.
Attending the opening ceremony as invited guests, the current and former chairmen of Taiwan’s ruling party found it acceptable for the Taiwanese team to enter the stadium according to the character zhong (中), meaning China, alongside the “Hong Kong, China” team.
Seeing the title “Chinese Taipei” as a friendly gesture from the other side, the party leaders even declared that Taiwanese athletes enjoyed the “home advantage” in Beijing.
As Mencius said: “What the superior loves, his inferiors will be found to love exceedingly,” and so we have seen other politicians of a similar hue posing as “Chinese ethnic minorities,” applauding China when it harassed and insulted a Taiwanese fan on her way to Beijing, using the Games to bang the drums for unification, and other such buffoonery.