Beijing Olympics Flame: A Symbol of Controversial Power

Philippine Daily Inquirer

The international relay of the Olympic flame was meant to be a grand passage through some of the world’s great cities, to dramatize the unity that animates the Olympic spirit and to herald the advent of Beijing as the newest capital of the Olympic movement. Instead, it has turned into a public relations nightmare...

The damage has been done. Not to the Olympic movement, because protesters and public alike have learned to distinguish between the Games and the politics of the host country. But to China’s image abroad. Coming on the heels of the violent riots or brutal crackdown in Tibet (the choice of emphasis is almost ideological), the torch relay has revealed, yet again, a disturbing side to China’s politics.

The Tibet issue has festered for half a century; China’s degree of influence over North Korea, Burma (Myanmar) and Sudan has been a concern and an object of speculation of the community of nations for many years. The protests that welcomed the torch relay are therefore not a surprise; in fact, they were expected. And they became inevitable after the recent eruption of violence in Tibet.

What is disturbing is the Chinese national government’s hard-line reaction. Despite the general freedom now enjoyed by ordinary Chinese citizens since the reforms known collectively as the “opening,” and in spite of the greater attention now focused on China because of the Olympics, China’s government has responded to the protests in a manner that can only be described as self-destructive...

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All of these happenings are part of the process of China's "opening up of one's self" to the rest of the world.

China is like a new kid in town. USA and some countries in Europe are the town's dominant resident bullies. China's best efforts poured out in preparing for the hosting of the 2008 World Olympics is one of its ways of introducing itself to the town's community.

The attitude of the dominant resident bullies towards China is a typical reaction that tends to show "territorial dominance" insecurity -- for they know that China is a very formidable bully itself.

In the long run, "territorial dominance" will be settled and distributed among the old bullies and the new bully according to their individual strength and capacity. Cooler and mature attitudes is of great help in the settlement of "territorial dominance".

Know that there are other "kids" intending to also come to town and they themselves are preparing to become bullies too because they knew and understood that "bullying is the only game in town".