Olympics: deceit and hypocrisy

September 26, 2008 — by Andy Tsao and Melody Zhang

The Olympics have rarely before been so riddled with controversies as the recent Beijing games were. Before it had even started, protests erupted over China’s human rights record. These rallies did not coincide with China’s view of the Olympics as a chance to show itself as the country of the 21st century. It is completely illogical for China to be able gain international prestige when its government is so clearly a tyrant.

First and foremost, China’s methods on training and motivating its athletes border on torture. China’s desire to shine in the Olympics pushed it as far as to threaten star hurdler Liu Xiang with the nullification of all previous achievements if he did not defend his gold medal in the 110-meter hurdlers

China further proved its unethical ways when it began to prevent non-Chinese from working at the Olympics. In the few weeks prior to the Games, the Chinese government was also forcing bar owners to sign contracts to discriminate against African and Mongolian customers. Certain customers either had to show their passport for entry, pay more than other customers did or were banned completely.

According to The Guardian, during a raid to “clean up Beijing” of alleged drug dealers in the Sanlitun nightclub district, the son of Grenada’s ambassador to China was clubbed on the head by police and suffered a concussion. Viewed by the government as potential threats, many dark-skinned foreigners were abused and discriminated against.

The Chinese government also silenced protestors during the Olympics. Tourists and citizens alike were only allowed to protest if in possession of a “protest permit.” Due to the Chinese government’s stubbornness to appear perfect in front of the rest of the world, however, the government didn’t approve of any of the 77 applications for protest permits—fully silencing all dissent toward their policies.

This type of hypocrisy was seen throughout the games. It is unfathomable how China can expect respect from other countries while utterly disrespecting certain countries over something as dumb as skin color.

Unfortunately, the Chinese government also added lying to its list of sins. Nine-year-old Lin Miaoke was lauded all around the world for her stunning rendition of “Ode to the Motherland” during the opening ceremony—it was later accidentally revealed that 7-year-old Yang Peiyi had sung the song backstage. An interview with the ceremony’s musical director revealed that Peiyi had been replaced due to a senior Politburo member’s objection to her crooked teeth. Although the Chinese wanted their symbol to appear flawless, the deception they used and the discrimination against Peiyi completely nullifies their good intent.

Along with this lie is the controversy over the possibility of China’s star female gymnasts of being underage and having more flexibility. The minimum age to compete in thee Olympics is 16, but government documents from previous competitions show that the gymnasts are 14 years old. Forensic artist Lois Gibson claims that the gymnasts’ faces are proportionally much younger than they should be. The Chinese government, however, showed investigators passports stating that the gymnasts’ are eligible for competing and the issue was dropped.

The Olympics was indeed the perfect chance for China to prove its worth and standing in the international community, but it ruined its chances mainly because of the lack of honesty and fairness. It seems as if the Chinese government doesn’t have a belief in its own goodness, falling back on deception to win respect.