Last Friday was the opening ceremony of the Being Olympics; a pivotal moment for China as a nation and an opportunity to show the world how far they’ve come. Having just reached home in Singapore after a memorable trip to the olympic host nation just a few hours earier, I was sat in front of the tellie expecting nothing short of an impressive display of power, strength and artistic/athletic brilliance. And this is exactly the kind of spectacle the Chinese put on.
Among all the numbers performed, the firework footsteps advancing across the Beijing night sky was one of the things that impressed me the most. Just now, I learned that the firework footsteps cabled out to millions and millions of television viewers around the world, weren’t real. They were computer generated and invisible to all to the people of Bejing. And the little girl, Lin Miaoke who sang during the ceremony didn’t actually sing. The voice we heard was that of 7 year old Yang Peiji, who was considered too ugly to represent her country as “she didn’t fit the bill for the image they wanted to project”. This is so wrong on many levels.
What the organisers have failed to understand is what this signals to the world is anything but conducive to improving China’s image as regards how ‘the system’ views its own people let alone the value of genuineness/transparency of that system. To me, this signals:
1) In China, people are just viewed as numbers (even children)
2) In China, nothing is what it seems (don’t believe anything you see and hear)
Opening Ceremony brilliance aside, I honestly can’t see how either of these signals in any way would help tackle the key credibility issues facing China and help portray “Made in China” in a more positive light.