Saturday, July 19, 2008

What Will Be the Legacy of the Beijing Olympics?

While the games have yet to begin, it is already apparent that when the games are over, China's reputation in the world will not have been enhanced. Despite the massive investment in the Games that the Chinese Communist Government has made, China's image abroad has suffered badly due to the fiasco of the Olympic Torch relay. People throughout the world who previously were open to being convinced that China had "arrived" as a modern great nation now see China as a politically repressive, badly governed, authoritarian regime with serious environmental issues, especially if some of the Olympic events are postponed due to pollution. As the start of the Games approaches it appears unlikely that this negative impression will change and could well get worse if there are incidents at the Games that show the Chinese police acting with violence.

Most ordinary Chinese people are deeply offended at the West's support for the Tibetans and generally negative attitude toward their Government. So the Games have had the effect of increasing anti-Western nationalistic sentiment in China. This does not bode well for political liberalization in China in the years ahead.

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