2008 summer games
Olympic Torch, Beijing
Tiananmen Square Massacre
Protest posters referencing Tiananmen Square Massacre
chinese communism
Celebration on Great Wall - Beijing Olympics logo
Beijing Olympics protest posters
Protest posters
Birdnest Stadium Opening Ceremonies
Bird's Nest Stadium, location of Opening Ceremonies
Reporters Without Borders
Reporters Without Borders protesting Beijing Olympics
Birdnest Stadium Opening Ceremonies
Bird's Nest Stadium, night
Beijing Olympics protest posters
Protest posters
Birdnest Stadium Opening Ceremonies
Opening Ceremonies
Waitsel Smith
Steven Spielberg - Protest cartoon
Tiananmen Square Massacre
Tiananmen Square, nineteen years after Massacre
Beijing Olympics protest posters
Controversies surrounding Beijing Olympics recall 1936 Berlin Olympics
Birdnest Stadium Opening Ceremonies
Pretty volunteers outside Bird's Nest Stadium - Pyrotechnics of Opening Ceremonies
chinese communism
China, a problematic nation

CHINA: WHAT TO DO?

Are we to close one eye, the way the world did in 1936 at the Berlin Olympics?

The opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics was a visual spectacle unequalled by any previous Olympics. Chinese-American film director Zhang Yimou, chief director for both the opening and closing ceremonies, used film elements throughout to create an almost seamless, cycloramic environment for the 90,000 spectators and 5 million television viewers. Adding in 10,000 dancers, acrobats and other performers, along with lights, pyrotechnics and three dimensional set pieces, he portrayed the past and present glory of China. Many of the elements seemed to appear and disappear magically into thin air, as well as into a giant scrim that rolled and unrolled itself upon the field with each changing stage of the presentation. It was incredible. Many of the themes centered around the harmony of nations and the sanctity of children, which causes one to wonder, "What should we think about all this?" and, more importantly, "What should we do?"

China wants us to believe they are an enlightened nation. Well, compared to Iraq prior to March 2003, perhaps they are. But, compared to most civilized nations today, they are a far cry. They want us to believe that they have a proud history and heritage, and an even prouder future. But China's history is a mass of contradictions, and her future is questionable. I heard one commentator say that the 2008 Olympics was China's "coming out party." If it is, her dress is torn and her hair is mussed. No thinking person can accept this farce as anything but what it is: China wants to be accepted and respected in the community of nations without doing the things necessary to be accepted and respected, like being honest about who she is, where she has come from and what she has done.

But, what nation is? You'd be hard pressed to find any nation that is either communist or fascist that has ever been honest or straight-forward about anything. Deception is part and parcel of non-democratic societies. The US and Great Britain, along with other democracies, have confessed our mistakes many times over, not only to ourselves, but to the international community. But name one mistake that Russia, China, Cuba, North Korea or any other communist nation has admitted to. Same goes for fascists, which, in my opinion, are just the other side of the same coin. Both are interested in just three things: power, control and domination. Democracies, on the other hand, as imperfect as we are, are interested in equality, freedom and justice.

So, we're faced with the same dilemma we were faced with in 1936 when the Olympics were hosted by Nazi Germany. What do you say, what do you do in response to a nation that has broken international laws and treaties, violated human rights and has shown no regard for international opinion; yet, wants the acceptance and respect of other nations? In spite of protests in every city that the Olympic torch passed through, and vocal protests by many prominent people and organizations - including Zhang Yimou's buddy Stephen Spielberg - US President Bush and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev are enjoying themselves in Beijing, and will be joined by British Prime Minister Gordon Brown for the closing ceremony.

I do not believe the athletes should have boycotted the Olympics. This is their time to shine, and it should have nothing to do with international politics. But what about the heads of state of the various nations? And what about the Media? And what about we the viewers? Should we give China the attention she is craving? I think not. I think the best thing we can do is ignore China the same way we would ignore a person that has done something wrong and is not willing to admit it. But how do you ignore China and still pay attention to the athletes? It is a dilemma.

Fact is, China should never have been awarded the Olympic Games until they had done something about their pollution, their human rights violations, their persecution of Christians, their treatment of Tibet, etc. They should never have been honored in that way. That is the Olympic Committee's error. Now, the rest of us have to live with their decision and decide how we are going to respond to it.

Personally, I am going to pray for China. I am going to pray that the athletes from free, Christian nations will use this opportunity to witness God's grace and love to the Chinese people. I am also going to pray that the Chinese underground church, which numbers over 50 million, will use this time to reach out to other Chinese and bring them into the faith. And I'm also going to pray that foreigners visiting China, including President Bush and Prime Minister Brown, will use their entre to urge the Chinese to mend her ways, as well as to witness God's grace and love. A lot can happen in China over the next three weeks, besides just some athletes winning medals. China's coming out party could turn into a spiritual and cultural revival - 180 degrees from the Cultural Revolution of the late 1960's, early 70's. China will be a major player in the world from now on. But what kind of player will she be? We can help determine that.

If you would like to join me in prayer for China, and would like to encourage others to do the same, you can pick up a free Olympic prayer band on the following web site:

<http://etools.780net.com/a/vomso/bg_vomso_CTI-China-Prayer-Bands_317.html>."

Waitsel

Waitsel Smith, August 12, 2008

Text © 2008 Waitsel Smith. Photos © 2008 varous sources. All Rights Reserved.

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