And so we bid adieu to the Olympics. It was certainly an extravagant event costing the Chinese over 41 billion dollars to sponsor it.
This Olympics looked like trouble at the outset. An American, Todd Bachman was murdered, and there was an ensuing attack on his wife. Barbara Bachman suffered multiple stab wounds and had to undergo major surgery to save her life. Todd Bachman was the father-in-law, and Barbara is the mother-in law, of Hugh McCutcheon, the coach of the Gold Medal US Olympic Volleyball Team. Throughout the Olympics, the team wore the initials TB on their shoes in memory of the man that had died and took Gold in the process. The murdering psychotic that killed Todd Bachman leapt to his death after the incident.
After this murder, however, it was a peaceful Olympics. The Chinese hosted an extraordinary event and, for the remainder of the Olympics, provided a safe environment for athletes throughout the world. The media has been quick to criticize the large amount spent and the massive effort put forth by the Chinese to win Gold at all costs, but they overlook the fact that while this was an Olympics with winners and losers, our athletes all arrived home safely. The most egregious spectacle following the murder at the 13th-century Drum Tower was a kick to a referee by a Taekwando athlete. This was a hugely successful Olympics and the Chinese deserve kudos for delivering it to us.
Certainly, the closed society had its advantages for hosting such an event. Terrorists and security were of much less of a concern, because it would be much more difficult for low-lifes that would terrorize athletics in the games to penetrate China’s society. As we in the US have discovered, we have to give up some of our freedoms to protect ourselves from radicals and the mentally unstable, but even in China, it isn’t possible to defend against all random acts of violence.
As our readers know, we have shown that the Chinese were reprehensible in some of their activities during these Olympics. They clearly cheated in Women’s gymnastics, forging documents and covering up the age of their athletes. In addition, there appeared to be consistent judging errors in gymnastics, where even the Chinese audience booed the results despite their own athletes taking gold. When 41 billion dollars is spent on an Olympics, versus 12-13 billion in Greece four years ago, one has to believe that some money was channeled to provide an advantage to the Chinese in their events.
We also realize that the Chinese government clearly violated human rights prior to and during these games. Protests against China and the Olympics were suppressed entirely.
The Chinese ministry released this ominous statement prior to the Olympics, “Any group or individual who stages a gathering, parade, or demonstration during the Beijing Olympic Games period must respect Chinese law. As to those legal activities, police will protect them according to the law. As for those activities that are illegal, we police will handle them according to the law.” But the Chinese made sure there were no “legal” activities.
The law, essentially was to not allow any protests or demonstrations, and to use applications for protests within the law as methods for detaining or marking those that requested the protests as dissidents. The Chinese essentially rejected every single request to protest any action during the games and disciplined some that applied.
According to the Associated Press, “In the past few days, human rights groups and families of people who have applied for permits to protest in the parks say some people were taken away afterward by security agents, prompting critics to accuse officials of using the plan as a trap to draw potential protesters to their attention.”
The rights of individuals as we understand them were clearly undermined. Many had their property confiscated to allow China to easily sponsor the games. Yang Shuangjun, one such resident, was quoted as saying “I have lived all over since I became homeless, including tunnels, warehouses, on the street, and the houses of friends and relatives. What they have done to us is unlawful and unfair.” Unlawful in China is a relative term.
Sun Liwei, a 52-year-old former teacher, also had her possessions confiscated by the government. “My heart aches. I have always believed in my government, even though I have lost everything. My possessions, my home, and my job were taken away from me. I don’t feel like a citizen anymore.”
Human rights violations are nothing new to China and there were world-wide protests regarding such violations prior to the Olympics. Overall, the viewing audience was isolated from these incidents.
The question that remains going forward is how to follow up a 41 billion dollar extravaganza!! The primary nation that has to be concerned is Great Britain. They are to sponsor the next Olympics in London in 2012!! How will it compare?
Security concerns were a huge cost in Athens four years ago, and Great Britain has been the target of most major terrorist acts since 9/11. Much of the budget will likely have to be dedicated to just maintaining the safety of the participants.
We will see in four years. We hope the Chinese prove to be as great as they were this year, but we also hope they get exposed in the areas they cheated and get disciplined accordingly.