Tuesday, September 20, 2005


Olympic Exploitation and Destruction

If you still think the Olympic games are about sports, fellowship, and improving international relations, think again. Try money. Money from big fat construction projects, money from sales of corporate crap, money from transportation and hotels. And try destruction. Destruction of homes and neighborhoods, destruction of the environment.

Today’s newspaper features an article on how Beijing is razing whole neighborhoods for the 2008 Olympic games. Traditional neighborhoods known as hutong are being wiped off the map to make room for construction projects, and their residents in some cases literally thrown out of their homes. An example given in the article is one “Mr. Wang” (not his real name, for obvious reasons), a 70-year-old man who was living with his family in one of these neighborhoods. Early one morning near the end of last year, while everyone was still asleep, some men kicked down the front door, literally dragged Mr. Wang out of his bed, and threw him into the street. He suffered a broken right arm. A crane smashed the house with all the family’s belongings, leaving them with nothing but the shirts on their backs. What’s more, Mr. Wang had to pay his own medical expenses, and he has yet to be compensated for his home or moving expenses.

It’s easy to blame this on the character of the Chinese people, but what’s really driving this is Olympic money. Wherever the Olympic games go, destruction precedes them. But that is, ironically, what props up the world economy.

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