The true nature of the grotesqueness that can’t be helped but feel in the Beijing Olympics
What is “wrong” with the Beijing Olympics, both in the opening ceremony and the games?
Article on February 10th, 2022 by Kaori Fukushima (After graduating from the Faculty of Literature, Osaka University, she joined the Sankei Shimbun. After studying language at Fudan University in Shanghai, she worked as a correspondent for the Sankei Shimbun in Hong Kong in 2001 and in Beijing from 2002 to 2008. After leaving the Sankei Shimbun in 2009, she became a freelance journalist, focusing mainly on China’s political, economic and social issues. Her major publications include “New Corona, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the World Won’t Forgive Xi Jinping” (Wani Books, 2020), “Xi Jinping’s Defeat: The Crisis in China, the Red Empire” (Wani Books, 2020), “Young People in China’s Desperate Factories” (PHP Institute, 2013), and “Undercover Report: Women in China” (Bungeishunju, 2011).
I have always believed that the Beijing Winter Olympics are nothing more than propaganda for a tyrannical state, and I support a diplomatic boycott. However, it is a precious opportunity for Japanese athletes and other athletes from all over the world to compete with the results of their four years of study, and I am sure there are many fans who are looking forward to it, so I thought it would be unwise to loudly disparage the Olympics itself.
However, I was disappointed to hear that the march in a straight line to the music of “Imagine”, the staging of the opening ceremony where a Uyghur girl was chosen to light the torch, the “violation of suit regulations” in the Nordic ski jumping team competition by Sara Takanashi and five other athletes, and the bizarre behavior of the speed skaters and snowboarders were all unacceptable. The disqualification of leading athletes in speed skating and snowboarding due to bizarre “judgments,” and the inexplicable announcement of the sudden retirement of female tennis player Housui. There is something absolutely wrong with these Olympics. I would like to unravel the true nature of my sense of discomfort with the Beijing Winter Olympics.
Cruel staging to hide the persecution of Uyghurs
At first glance, the opening ceremony looked sophisticated and beautiful. The overall producer was Zhang Yimou, a famous film director, just like in the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics. The countdown for the opening ceremony started at Risshun (the first day of spring), counting from the 24 seasonal divisions of rain and water, and was staged as if spring had arrived. The LED lights showed dandelions sprouting and growing, scattering cotton wool, and the flow of the Yellow River turning into ice, melting and evaporating into the sky, and the ice Olympic symbol appeared. A total of 3,000 performers (compared to 12,000 in the 2008 Beijing Olympics) were hired, and instead of hiring professional dancers, ordinary people between the ages of 5 and 70 were mobilized.
As in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, the fireworks were created by Cai Guo-Qiang, an international artist living in New York, without the use of gunpowder. This fireworks display was also short, lasting only three times and less than three minutes in total, and overall reflected Xi Jinping’s “spirit of frugality. In addition, the colors of green and white, rather than red and yellow, which China originally likes, were used extensively to push an eco-friendly and clean image to the forefront. Many people had the impression that the ceremony was probably more sophisticated than the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, and I would like to say that Zhang Yimou was right.
But at the same time, it was also a very political performance. During the flag-raising ceremony, people in 56 ethnic costumes in China passed the five-star flag in a relay. The Korean people’s costume was a chima chogori, which caused an outcry from Korean viewers, who thought it misrepresented Korean clothing culture as Chinese.
At the climax of the torch lighting, the important role of lighting the torch was played by Jinigel Ilamzhan in women’s cross-country skiing and Jiawen Cho in men’s Nordic skiing combined. The decision to use Uyghur women was clearly a message to the Western countries that criticized the Uyghur Genocide and decided to boycott diplomacy. It is the same way that Hitler added the Jewish fencer Helen Mayer to the German team at the 1936 Berlin Olympics to make it look like Jews were not being persecuted.
Unlike Helen Mayer, Ilhamjan was not a star athlete expected to win medals and did not have the opportunity to perform patriotic performances on the podium as Mayer did.
By the way, Kamartulk Yalcun, a Uyghur who was a torch relay runner in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was asked by the U.S. media “Radio Free Asia” to comment on this performance but he said “I don’t watch it because it hurts my heart. He is the son of the famous literary and educationalist, Yalkun Lozi. Yalkun Lozi is in prison for his involvement in the compilation of Uyghur textbooks and Kamartulk Yalkun himself is in exile in Boston. Considering that there are many Uyghurs who are still imprisoned or in concentration camps during the Olympics and we don’t even know if they are safe or not, it is a cruel stunt.
What is annoying is that NBC and many other foreign media broadcasted the torch lighting by Uyghurs in the U.S. mentioned about the Uyghur Genocide in China, but NHK in Japan did not even mention that Ilhamjan is a Uyghur.
The World of “Imagine” as Peace in a Tyrannical State
What was even more horrifying was the sight of people of different races walking in a straight line to John Lennon’s “Imagine”.
Imagine was also played at the Tokyo Summer Olympics, and has the image of a theme song suitable for a festival of peace and sports. However, if you think about it, “a world without heaven and hell, without countries and religions, where people can live in peace without starving” is exactly the kind of peace that a tyrannical state would create through surveillance and control (in fact, Imagine has been criticized as being communist since its release). A society in which dissent and dissent are stifled by the politics of fear, in which people are forbidden to think and debate differently, and in which people can never stand up to those in power, promises peace. But it is the peace of cattle.
China suppressed Uyghurs who have ordinary Islamic faith as an extremist religion, arrested Hong Kong people who seek ordinary election and freedom of speech as a threat to national security, thoroughly excluded people infected with the covid-19 and those in close contact with it from society, put them in quarantine, pretended they did not exist, and held the Olympics as scheduled. The Olympics were held as scheduled. No matter how much the lives of these excluded people are destroyed or endangered, they are still a “minority,” and from the perspective of China, which claims that democracy is the sacrifice of the minority for the happiness of the majority, “Chinese democracy is the only way to realize a world without conflict, division, and strife.
This logic is also evident in the joint statement issued by Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping after their meeting during his visit to China for the opening ceremony of the Beijing Winter Olympics. In the joint statement, China and Russia said
“In the joint statement, China and Russia agreed that democracy is a common value for all humanity and is not the exclusive property of a few nations (such as the West), and that promoting and guaranteeing democracy is a joint undertaking of the international community. The people of each country have the right to choose the model and method of democratic practice that best suits their national conditions. Whether a state is a democracy or not is for the people of the country concerned to evaluate and judge.
The protection of democracy and human rights should not be used as a tool to put pressure on other countries. Both sides (China and Russia) oppose any abuse of democratic values by any state, and oppose any interference in the internal affairs of sovereign states under the pretext of protecting democracy and human rights, and any provocation to divide and confront the world.”
China, which is oppressing the Uyghurs and Hong Kong people, and Russia, which is deploying its armed forces to invade the border of Ukraine, have both taken the stance that our democracy (tyranny) is the true democracy and that the Western democracy, which is full of division and strife, is flawed and that the future model of international governance should be that of China and Russia. The Western democracies, which are full of division and strife, are flawed. He also called for “one future together.
A competition full of suspicion
China’s attitude of “We are the justice” and “We are the rule” seems to be reflected in the competitions at the Olympics.
In the women’s Nordic ski jumping team, five leading athletes from four countries, including Sara Takanashi and Norway’s Silje Opseth, were disqualified for “violating suit regulations. It is unusual for such a large number of athletes to be disqualified for violating the suit regulations. According to Opseth, the way the measurements were taken was different from the way they had been done in the past, which means that special rules for the Beijing Winter Olympics were applied.
In addition, the Korean team will file a complaint with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) after the disqualification in the men’s 1000m semi-final of the speed skating short track. South Korean ace Hwang Dae-Kyun and Lee Jun-Rui finished first and second in the first and second pairs, respectively, but were disqualified for a foul during a lane change, and the Chinese athletes advanced to the final. In the finals, Hungary’s Shaolin Sándor Liu came in first by a narrow margin, but was disqualified by the judges. Chinese athletes Ren Zhiwei and Li Wenlong moved up to the gold and silver positions.
In the women’s 1500m speed skating event, Nana Takagi stalled when she collided with a Chinese competitor who should have given her the course, and ended up in 8th place.
In the women’s parallel giant slalom, Tomoka Takeuchi, who won the silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, was judged to have interfered with her course and was forced to abandon the race, losing her place in the first round of the finals.
Of course, judgments are difficult to make when top athletes are competing for the very top. But even so, the fact that the athletes and their fans have grown so distrustful of the Olympics this year can be seen as an issue of trust in China itself.
The truth behind the “Pengxuan Incident” remains in the dark.
Just before the Olympics, there was a major incident that caused athletes to distrust China. Peng Shuang, a top female tennis player, accused Zhang Gaoli, a former member of the Politburo Standing Committee, of sexually abusing her. The IOC President Bach met with Peng on February 5, but that did not confirm her freedom and safety.
She also gave a solo interview to the French sports newspaper L’Equipe at this time, reiterating her denial of the incident and announcing her retirement from active sports. With this announcement, Peng Shuang will no longer be traveling abroad for tournaments, nor will she have the opportunity to appear in front of the international media. The truth of the incident will be completely buried in the dark.
The reason why the French media was forced to report this retirement announcement is because the Chinese authorities themselves know that the international community will not be satisfied unless the foreign media reports it. The cameraman somehow conveyed a hint of the authorities behind the interview by showing a reflection of a Chinese man in the mirror beside Marshal Peng, as if he was carefully watching him.
The true nature of the grotesqueness of the Beijing Olympics
The Tokyo Summer Olympics of 2021, which were held in the midst of the covid-19 disaster, have lost their original significance as a festival of peace and sports, and it has come to light that they were a cesspool of special interests and injustice. In the case of Japan, the Olympics gave the impression that Japan was in decline. The Tokyo Olympics may have been “dull,” but I don’t think they were as grotesque as the Beijing Winter Olympics.
The true nature of this grotesqueness is the unabashed logic that tyrannical rule will lead to peace and stability in the world. In fact, some Japanese businessmen have expressed their concern that the world might be more stable under tyrannical rule. In fact, I often hear Japanese business people say, “Tyranny is better for economic development,” or “There is such a thing as a happy surveillance state.
That is why I have decided to repeat my concern about the Beijing Winter Olympics. Can we seek development and peace in exchange for freedom of speech, thought, and faith? Do we really want to face the future of livestock security together? I have the answers, but I wonder about you, dear readers.