Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Pro-business" China cracks down even harder right before Olympics

The latest, from many media sources, is that Beijing is really cracking down now to look good for the Olympics. 90% of cars must stay off the road, factories close (maybe fewer computer hard drives for us here) and people bike and congregate in public spaces. That may be good. The air still looks smoggy on TV.

But the worst news is that the Chinese government (Communist and corporatist at the same time, according to Ted Koppel) is forcing hotels to install new Internet filtering systems. Corporate and media executives are being told to leave their laptops home (how will they report an communicate?) It seems as though the Chinese muzzling of parents with payouts and censorship of Internet searches and blogs in place now isn’t enough to protect a collective corporatocracy. We will see what China wants us to see.

Politically, this is going to be a bizarre Olympic event compared to all those of the past (at least since Moscow in 1980, when Carter made the US boycott (link ) because of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan).

It’s interesting, too, how Singapore and Kuala Lumpur now look so razzle dazzle in government films. For all their glitter, Beijing, Shanghai, and Chongqing look at bit frayed in comparison, even with Chinese propaganda. Malaysia’s president is advertising the fact that his country is “pro-business” too. Only Singapore (always “pro-business”), with a heavy Malay population, is really immaculate.

Apparently, the Olympic Committee has finally bypassed tricky politics of the new Iraq and will let the team from Iraq participate.

Update: Aug. 1

Later media reports indicate that China is backing down on some of its restrictions to websites with political protest during the Olumpics.

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