Chinese Internet Reacts To Olympics Opening Ceremony

Hong Kong based blogger Roland Soong translated several sample comments from the Chinese cyberspace on his EastSouthWestNorth blog:

(China Times via DWnews)

The Beijing Olympics opening ceremony had previously been shrouded in mystery and subjected to curious speculations. Last night, the mystery was finally revealed. But the mainland Chinese netizens did not react as expected, as negative reviews came pouring in. One mainland netizen said that the only appropriate word to describe the event was “boring” and the only sentiment was “disappointment.”

Following the visit by Chairman Hu Jintao, the Strong Nation forum under People’s Net has become one of the major Internet forums with the apparent status of the “official forum.” Most people who visit that forum tend to be supportive of the government. But even at the Strong Nation forum, the number of detractors exceeded the number of supporters by a lot last night.

After viewing the performance, one Strong Nation commentator wrote: “What does China have except people?” Another commentator replied: “That is truly a unique Chinese characters. We have 1.3 billion people.” “This kind of opening ceremony is possible only in China, because nobody else has that many people.”

Because began as a cinematographer, he liked to play with lighting. The opening ceremony last night had important roles for the LED lights and laser lights. But some netizens thought that there was too much lighting and not enough persons made of flesh and blood.

The most acerbic criticism at the Strong Nation forum is about the “emptiness” and “vacuity.” They described this as a work that represents this “ostentatious, flourishing era” and characterized the work as: “First-rate techniques, second-rate performances, no ratings for the content.” At the more ‘liberal’ Tianya forum, the criticisms were even more blunt. Many people thought that the Beijing opening ceremony was inferior to Athens 2004 because the performance lacked a main theme, it used too many techniques and the content was incomprehensible to foreigners.

(Wei Yingjie at

I watched the opening ceremony from start to finish. If the closing ceremony is to be included, then I would have watched more of this Olympics than any other one. The opening ceremony was the result of collective wisdom, but the style of Zhang Yimou is very apparent. Overall, it was very strong and very powerful. To achieve these kinds of effects is possible only in China, which has a state system that can attain perfection at all costs. My guess is that President Bush was shocked when he saw this spectacle, because he must be wondering: “If this was done in the United States, the taxpayers would have revolted.”

Zhang Yimou took on this huge responsibility. The vista was grand and the visuals were stunning. I was impressed by the 2008 persons pounding the clay musical instruments and jars for that was mind-boggling, even though this reminded me of some of the movies that he directed. There are also other bright spots. For example, the dance of the Han letter blocks, the scrolls, etc. When you have this type of technology, you can make big movies. But there are some weak spots, such as , which Zhang Yimou personally felt good about. But if you can’t think about it calmly, you cannot appreciate the meaning. The lighting of the Olympic flame by Li Ning took a bit too long, but it was the climax. I was truly moved by that moment.

Since this was a mass event, it was mainly about mass performances. Precisely because of this, the Olympics opening ceremony was truly suited for Zhang Yimou to direct. In the one-hour performance section, he expressed the aesthetics of nationalism thoroughly. In those dances, the dancers had no individual faces because they only mean something in the context of the group. In other words, in this group dance, the individual is unimportant and everybody has to to follow the group and consider the overall situation. The effects from these thousand-strong performance are so stunning. To make an inappropriate analogy, this is like an army moving in formation …

More on the Opening ceremony, read: Dancer injured during opening ceremony rehearsal in the Shanghaiist blog.

August 9, 2008, 2:12 PM
Posted By: