Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Boxer (and Gymnastic) Rebellion?

China's big coming out party is this summer's Olympics games. Lot's of foreigners will be there to see how China has risen from poverty to great power status:

China faces unprecedented challenges when an estimated half million visitors come to Beijing for the Olympics, along with 10,500 international athletes and 18,000 journalists.

Given that China has stoked xenophobic nationalism as a tool to replace communist ideology as the justification for one-party rule, I have to wonder how wise it is (from China's perspective) to have all those foreigners coming from countries that have rolled out the unwelcome wagon for the Long Olympic Torch March.

Resentment over the protests is already boiling over in China. It will get worse during the Olympics, and 18,000 journalists will be there reporting and another half million foreigners with digital cameras will be on hand, too. Even if the Chinese manage to stifle any new protests by Westerners inside China against any number of causes that are inspiring protests, there are bound to be many Chinese already hopped up on xenophobia and resentment to start a good mob to rampage against the foreign devils.

China may have the awful choice of seeing Westerners abused and beaten by outraged nationalistic Chinese and broadcast worldwide; or using Chinese security forces to suppress Chinese nationalists who are reacting to the very emotions that China has stoked to maintain control.

Couldn't happen to a nicer thug-run state. This might be worth pay-per-view.