pacific forum History of Pacific Forum

PacNet #44 – Greatest Games Ever or Potemkin Village?

Yes.  With the conclusion of the Beijing Olympics, one cannot but marvel at how well the Chinese pulled off the 17 days of events.  In the run-up to the Games, skepticism proliferated about how the Olympics would be a disaster for China.  The journal Foreign Affairs devoted a set of articles enumerating how the Olympics were blowing up in China’s face.  When the torch processions through London, Paris, San Francisco, and Seoul were disrupted by demonstrators, even the Chinese started to look nervous.  In retaliation, Chinese citizens were in the streets demonstrating against CNN and foreign retail outlets in China, decrying attempts to keep China down during their moment in the sun.  Did the Chinese snatch victory from the jaws of defeat?  What accounts for the unfounded pre-Olympic predictions of disaster?  And what are we to expect for the future?