If you've been watching the Olympic Games from China, you're probably aware that only their pretty side is being shown. Read on....
[url=http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/26322657/]‘Other’ China is still alive behind the scenes
IOC claims Games are ‘apolitical,’ but they’re a costly project for citizens[/url]
The athletes are like pretty kites flying overhead, so mesmerizing that they distract from the grimmer realities of the Beijing Games, just as the Chinese government hoped they would. But don't forget the "other" China. As a reminder, consider the name Hu Jia. There are actually two famous Hu Jias in this country, one a renowned gold medalist in diving, and the other a jailed dissident. Between them, they tell the full story of these Olympics.
The apartment of the dissident Hu Jia is in a neighborhood called Freedom City, not far from the Olympic Park, or rather it was, before he was thrown into a labor camp and his wife, Zeng Jinyan, a prominent activist, disappeared from Beijing just before the Games began.
The diver Hu Jia, who triumphed in Athens four years ago, is not here either, because at the age of 25, after years of hitting the water for six hours a day in the pitiless national program, he has retina injuries that prevented him from going for the "enormous glory" of a gold in Beijing. "I will do my utmost to grab one, unless my eyes are really blind," he told the state media before he was forced to bow out.
It's easy for the head duckers of the International Olympic Committee to separate themselves from the underlying issues of the Beijing Games by labeling them "apolitical." But the Greek word "polis" means an affair of the state, and the Beijing Games clearly qualify as one, from their $40 billion governmental price tag, to the bulldozing of thousands of lives to make way for the stadiums, to a seven-year crackdown on social activists by the hosts, which is still going on.