Monday, July 14, 2008

China's Security Olympics

By the looks of things, activists soon need not regret the lack of an Olympic boycott. It appears to some Western observers in Beijing that the Chinese authorities are close to having spoiled the Games through their own sheer incompetence. How could this be? James Fallows recently spoke with someone in-the-know, blogging:
The gist of his point: the reason the Chinese government is being so unbelievably ham-handed in its security measures and irritating the very foreigners it has invited to view its Games is that it is so ill-informed and naive about the real views of the outside world. Also it has such limited intelligence about the terrorist threats it actually might face that it is over-reacting and trying to shut everything down.
One new theory holds that the Beijing Olympics were primarily intended as a party for the locals. What might look to you or me like big problems don't matter so much to Beijing. They know Chinese people have routinely and stoically faced various annoyances wrought by government officials over the years. (i.e. " even a tightly controlled Olympics is going to be more fun for many Chinese than anything else they've ever done.")*

Photo: by Jotman. Shows Chinese torch relay supporters in Bangkok -- I blogged/ran the relay.
* Richard Spencer in the Telegraph, h/t ESWN

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