Vanity Fair Article
An article in Vanity Fair makes for some very good reading. It’s written by William Langewiesche. Here’s a piece:
Cleaning up for the Olympics is a time-honored tradition. The Germans, for example, swept Berlin’s Gypsies into prison camps and temporarily took down the signs banning Jews from public places. They even loosened their restrictions on homosexuality, demonstrating the largesse of the Fascist creed while personally serving no small number of Nazis as well. For the German government, it became crucial that the Olympics do Germany proud. China is not Nazi Germany, and indeed is led by a particularly pragmatic regime, but its political culture is shallow, and it seems to have been overcome by a similar mood.
Here’s another bit:
The games will open on August 8—on 8/8/2008—at 8:08 p.m. Eight is considered to be a lucky number because in Mandarin it sounds like the word for “fortune” or “prosperity.” Beijing will be well mannered, and I myself will gladly be gone. August 8? I think I’ll head offshore for a few days of sailing on the far side of the world, safely beyond television range.
I know a number of China-based people who are of this mindset. They don’t want to be anywhere near the Games this summer.