Beijing’s Unofficial Olympic Slogan: Take Pride, But No Politics, Please

In the International Herald Tribune, Howard French looks at the effects of China’s efforts to depoliticize the Olympics:

In elevating the Olympics to an official source of national pride, China has put its most precious commodities on the line: national face. And by investing so much face in the successful execution of the Games, it is making extreme demands on its citizens and on the world.

The following list is not exhaustive, but it gives an idea of what is being demanded: Smile, approve of us, behave, do not criticize, don’t dare protest and, back to the mantra, banish all thoughts of politics from your minds.

That’s asking an awful lot, and like requiring someone to hold their body rigid for an extended period, it will demand an immense and painful effort, and it brings the risk of self-injury.

March 13, 2008 8:57 AM
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