The Olympics in China - Its all coming true

Broadly speaking I am in favor of the Olympics in China. If nothing else I think its a great example of be careful for what you wish for, it may come true.

The authorities in Beijing have already proven this point with the Olympic torch, beating up Hong Kong journalists to name but two examples. China can, and will change through the lessons learnt - Or they won't after everyone has gone home, depending on who you believe.

As I predicted to a friend when Beijing won the chance to host the event, the outcome would sit between what China wants the west to believe and what the west wants to see. It would be naive to believe that China was going to change everything just because the western media would turn their lens onto the country. I also argued that it would be naive for China's authorities to expect everyone not to comment on what they have or have done.

Thats the beauty of the Olympics.

And so a new story about the pollution. Any PR firm would love to have this sort of guy. No matter how bad the situation this figure sticks to the same line. He reminds me of Chemical Ali, who when the Americans were invading Iraq (and you could hear the tanks blasting) would be telling journalists that they would be defeated and Saddam was in charge. He carried on saying this even after Saddam was captured.

This breathtaking madness can only be matched by a Chinese official (or a UK labour party member supporting Gordon Brown to stay as prime minister) - So read this response to the pollution problem:

Du Shaozhong, deputy director of the Beijing city Environmental Protection Bureau, said at the weekend: “Good air quality does not necessarily mean blue sky. You might not be able to see things in a bathroom, but you would not conclude that it’s due to pollution.” He added: “We should judge whether there is pollution by scientific statistics, not by what our eyes can see.”

... Not by what our eyes see!?? I love that. No matter how much you love China that has got to be the most ridiculous statement ever. How about your lungs that hurt when you breathe in?

Even better the scientific data seems to suggest that the situation really is as bad as people think:

"But the pollution readings make for grim statistics. A week ago, it looked as if the slew of drastic measures taken by the capital to try to clear the air before the Olympics open on August 8 might be having some effect. With half the cars taken off the streets, construction ordered to halt and many factories closed for miles around, the air pollution index for particulate matter – a major airborne pollutant – was at a reasonable 67.

But, even with so many vehicles off the streets, the index soared on Thursday to 113, peaked at 118 on Saturday and was still at 113 on Sunday. No number is yet available for today, but the air looks as thick as ever with many tall buildings hidden by haze"

Of course China and its government may yet be able to pull of some blue sky (if nature allows) but nature seems to have a sense of humor (or is it hatred) as I recall in 1998 when Hong Kong was handed back to China it rained solidly for 3 days.

No doubt the scientist above would say they were tears of joy...

Full article here

3 Responses to "The Olympics in China - Its all coming true"


I remember that! BBC wrote "the skies were crying for Hong Kong"... Chinese state news wrote that the rain "washed away the last vestiges of colonialism".. local Hong Kong news simply stated that it was "raining heavily". What a tranquil, yet sombre week that was.

-It was 1997 btw ;) Although I'm sure you know.

ali bullock says
2 August 2008 at 03:48

Thanks Kevin for spotting my (ahem) deliberate mistake.

In Chinese PR terms: 1998 was the first year that Hong Kong and China were able to celebrate our union.

We can of course not forget the Chinese gave us Hong Kong forever, it was only the new terrorities we actually needed to return after 99 years.

Anyway, factually you are quite correct Kevin, it was 97 and boy did it rain.


my mistake :( mis-read your post.