China: Keep Your Olympic Promise – John Hughes
China sees the 2008 Olympics as an opportunity to present a positive and smiling image to the outside world. (It actually has launched an international photo competition for children with smiling faces, but typically declines to indicate how these are to be used.)
This is a challenge for a regime using Western techniques to run an open-market economy, but maintaining political control with all the repressive apparatuses of a communist government.
At the recently concluded party congress in Beijing, Communist party chief and president of China Hu Jintao, whom some in the West had hoped would chart a more moderate political course for China, used the word “democracy” in his keynote speech more than 60 times. But, as the Economist magazine dryly remarked, “little has changed.” [Full Text]