It’s a very specialized set of sports that the Chinese focus on but they simply kick absolute ass at them. ... If you look at the 2008 Olympic weightlifting results in Beijing... the women didn’t just squeak by to win a medal; most were simply so far ahead of their competition that it was a joke. In most cases, the Chinese women took their first attempt after everyone else had already finished lifting for the day. And they came out and just dispatched their weights in perfect form, setting new world records and winning medals with abandon. [more inside]
As is well known by now, the opening spectacle of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing featured a young girl's performance
of Ode to the Motherland
which was later revealed to be a lip-synch. The talented original singer Yang Peiyi
was considered not "cute" enough. As is perhaps not so well known, however, the resultant flap resulted in the creation of a strict anti-lip-synch law in China, and now two Chinese pop stars face a $12,000 lip-synching fine
. Some Chinese rockers have eagerly supported
the creation of the ban on lip-synch, and, interestingly, the practice of lip-synching in Chinese musical entertainment had been under discussion in Chinese government circles since at least 2005
"Conquer English to Make China Stronger!" is the philosophy of Li Yang
, founder of the Crazy English
school (and style) of language, described by some as "English as a Shouted Language" for its main method of shouting English words in public
to overcome shyness. Li Yang has achieved Elvis-like popularity
in China, not just through his public lectures but also through the sales of books, media, teaching materials, and a memoir titled "I am Crazy, I Succeed". Li Yang's unorthodox methods - which include encouraging students to "lose face" and cope with embarrassment on the way to success - have earned him fame and fortune, including headlining the 5th Beijing Foreign Language Festival
and being the main English teacher for China's Olympic volunteers. Li Yang's secret to success: "... to have them continuously paying—that’s the conclusion I’ve reached.
Some of the female Chinese
gymnasts are apparently under-age. It wasn't their skulls, their chins or their eyes that gave them away: it was the internet
"Like the dotcom bubble, the disaster bubble is inflating in an ad-hoc and chaotic fashion."
Journalist Naomi Klein discusses how corporations and governments are working together more closely than ever, using the mandate of catastrophe
— whether natural or man-made — to further concentrate power in fewer hands, with less oversight: from illegal sales of American police technology
to China to avert hypothetical tragedies during the Beijing Olympics, to the privatization of water supplies
in post-tsunami Sri Lanka.
during the Olympic Games. Jonathan Barnbrook and Pedro Inoue raise awareness through this new site. [Via Computer Love
A chinese man killed Todd Bachman in Beijing today before jumping to his death from an ancient tower.
Todd Bachman was the father-in-law of Olympic Men's Indoor Volleyball Head Coach Hugh McCutcheon, his wife is still in hospital for her injuries. Not part of the curse of the fuwas
Opening the Olympic Ceremony with a bow to ancient Chinese tradition, 2,008 Drummers
on the traditional Fou drums. [more inside]
08-08-08 is not only the start of the Olympic games in China. It's also an extremely lucky date, given that the number 8 is considered fortuitous in Chinese culture
, being associated with wealth and prosperity. Due to this unlikely (but very lucky) confluence of events, upwards of 9,000 Chinese couples will be getting hitched
. Note that not everybody agrees with the astrological implications of this particular date
, but that just sounds like mumbo-jumbo to me. [more inside]
Is Xinjiang Province The Islamic Jihad Battlefront in China?
China detains 82 'terrorists'
targeting Olympics and police have shot Uighurs dead
. Meanwhile people from the Uighur minority call on the international community
to boycott the Beijing Olympic games
. What side of the Jihad
is China on? Previously there was The Al Qaeda - China Tie
. The oil
and petrochemical sector account for 60% of Xinjiang's
China's secret plot to tame Tibet.
"Internal Communist party documents have revealed that China is planning a programme of harsh political repression in Tibet despite a public show of moderation to win over world opinion before the Olympic Games next month." Meanwhile, the military has sealed off
several monasteries in Lhasa
, keeping over 1,000 monks locked up. Another 1,000 monks have mysteriously disappeared
, and may have been sent to prisons in a neighbouring province
to keep them silent through the Olympics.
Beijing 2008: China's Olympian Human Rights Challenges.
This website was set up by Human Rights Watch
to monitor human rights issues in China during the run-up to the Olympics. "This is a historic opportunity for China to show it has the confidence to make tangible and sustainable progress in ensuring basic human rights for its 1.3 billion citizens." [more inside]
Superstitious bloggers explain the recent earthquake in China by suggesting that the official Olympic Mascots
of the Beijing Olympics foretold
of disaster. [more inside]
A Lone Tibetan Voice, Intent on Speaking Out. Woeser
(previously mentioned here
) is a Tibetan writer and poet living under house arrest in Beijing, from where she blogs about the recent unrest in Tibet
(there are English translations of her posts at China Digital Times
). Last year she was awarded
the Norwegian Authors Union
Freedom of Expression Prize, but she was not allowed to travel to Oslo to collect the prize.
The Olympic Boom
is shaping a new Beijing
. These fancy new venues and skyscrapers are being built largely by migrant workers facing a harsh reality
. The non-stop construction
has also threatened to make these "green games
" brown. The city may be smoggy and mistreated migrant workery now, but don't you worry, a series of measures will be taken
to curb the pollution for the events.
The "sacred flame
" winds its way
towards Beijing, creating new flashpoints
like a car bumper scraping sparks from the pavement.
The chinese public's anger at CNN
now has a wildly popular theme song
. "You can't turn lies into the truth by repeating them a thousand times"
and an American backlash
are both growing. Where is all this leading to? And even if we can't understand how China sees Tibet
, or know whether the Shanghai Princesses
will really give up their Chanel
, can we at least assure the Chinese that we don't like Jack Cafferty either
The Genocide Olympics.
The human rights group Dream for Darfur
is trying to use the Olympics to pressure China to change its policies on Sudan and the genocide in Darfur. [more inside]
China ready to hold talks with the Dalai Lama.
With nearly 1,000 jailed in Lhasa, the Dalai Lama has offered to resign
China has blocked
the media, and reporters have been taken in for questioning
China is opposed
to the US speaker's Dharamsala visit.
Meanwhile France raises the idea of boycotting
the Olympics opening ceremony.
Existing thread arising from Björk's protest.
Björk, in Shanghai, on Tibet: Declare Independence
! [YouTube] [more inside]
As Beijing prepares for the Olympics next year it is trying to clean up some of the shadier sides of the city. Apparently, one way of doing this is going to the popular bar street, Sanlitun
, and arresting and beating
all the men who appear to be of African decent, even if one happens to be the son of a diplomat
China Praises Its Progress Toward Olympics.
With one year to go
before the 2008 Olympics
, China still has many challenges ahead, like dealing with Beijing's terrible air pollution
. There is still much criticism over China's record on human rights
and freedom of the press
, and some protests
. But perhaps the most embarrassing public relations setback is that one of the official mascots
) the Tibetan Antelope
, has defected from China's Olympic team
and gone underground to campaign
for a free Tibet
. [Some links via BB and MoFi.]
SimCity 2008, Scenario: Beijing.
Prepare your city for the 2008 Olympics. Raze slums, build luxury hotels, and stadiums. Make the nation, and the world, proud!
The Da Vinci Cup
Think of it as a gathering of tribes... There's a lot of ritual involved. It's probably the biggest single unifying event that our species can muster. Forget the Olympics. Not even close.
Poor poor China.
Keeping the romans entertained since BC.
And the winner of the 2000 metre evasion of a tank is....
Well, you'll have to wait until 2008, when Beijing hosts the games. Maybe in seven years their human rights stance may have shifted a bit.
Don't look behind that wall
, Mr. Olympic inspector. In advance of the ongoing assesment by 17 Olympic inspectors, thousands of unwanted people have been tossed into a detention center in China, without trial. For a month, 500 to 600 people a day have been tossed in. Human Rights in China interviewed former inmates of the detention centre, and they reported
"There were no bathing facilities, food was poured from buckets and fought over by mice, and beatings with leather belts were common."
Is this what China does to "put on its game face"?
17 International Olympic Committee inspectors
are in China reviewing its bid for the 2008 Olympic Games. Should human rights concerns be a factor in their decision? Does a sporting body have a duty to use compliance with the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights as a gauge to measure hosting worthiness for any country (not just China)?