Saturday, May 28, 2005

China modernizes for 2008 in the Communist way

China is getting ready for the 2008 Olympics. I think they are doing the right thing by buying Boeing 787s to have in service for the Olympics - only 3 years, hurry, Boeing! China has encouraged business entrepreneurship and investment - part of capitalism. But they have remained resolutely Communist in their government and civil institutions. To properly host the Games they are building the infrastructure necessary - stadiums, pools, who knows what else? - team handball courts and cricket pitches. Highways to get people to the venues, etc. But they want more, much more. The Communists want Beijing to be an attractive, spacious city in 2008. Now word is getting out that they are improving their capital by the usual Communist methods. Evict people from their homes and businesses without providing any aid for resettlement. And if they give you trouble put them in jail, make them disappear so their family can't contact them. They know no other method. The Times of London Thousands of homes destroyed to make way for Olympic tourists
YE GUOZHU used to own two restaurants in Beijing. Both were razed in 2001, as was his home in the Yongdingmen district of the city two years later, to make way for parks to beautify the Chinese capital for the 2008 Olympics. Last year Mr Ye sought permission to protest against such forced evictions. He was arrested for "disturbing social order" and sentenced in December to four years in jail. His family have not seen him since and do not know where he is held.
I enjoy the Olympics. But it will make me sick to watch the Communist leaders of China bask in the world's acclaim in 2008 when they earned it in this fashion.