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Another Look at China and the Olympics

When I wrote about China and its mishandling of the Olympics, I wondered if there was more deception to come. And apparently there was. As a colleague of mine commented in the original blog, two girls on the Chinese gymnastic team may have had their ages illegally raised on documentation from 14 to 16 so they could compete. And today the Telegraph has reported that Chinese officials have copped to the fact that the little children in the opening ceremony who were announced as being from the 56 ethic groups in China were all in fact performers from the majority.

This revelation about the 56 kids is similar to those other deceptions in the opening ceremony, moves to improve the façade of the Olympics. And there may still be more details coming about the theatricality of the opening ceremony. But, China has gained some points with me. This time, someone fessed-up to this switcheroo and gave an explanation about it being commonplace in Chinese theatrics. China may be learning to admit the illusory actions they have done to put on their best foot forward. It could be the first steps toward authenticity.

A conversation with another colleague made me realize that perhaps we are being harsh on China. If we were holding these Olympics and they came to our country and criticized us, we would probably attack them back — look at the backlash France received for sharing its criticism of our war on terror. Perhaps we should stop being hypocritical. After all, we have our own share of human rights violations (Guantanamo Bay, Waterboarding) and face-saving deceptions (Mission Accomplished banners, limited photography of military burials).