Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Trouble With Tribbles

China may be a rising power but their rulers sure do seem nervous about their stability:

Floods sweeping southern China seem to have fulfilled the final stanza of an Internet curse involving Beijing's Olympic mascots, but censors have been quick to remove postings that might fuel the superstition.

After a devastating earthquake struck Sichuan province last month, Internet users tied four of the five "Fuwa" mascots to the calamities that have struck China in the run-up to the Games, which begin in August. One Fuwa is a panda, the totem of Sichuan.

Apparently there is chatter on the Internet with one user quoted wondering what they should do with the curse apparently taking shape.

That and similar posts have disappeared quickly this week. China's censors monitor the Internet carefully and remove any posts deemed inflammatory or not in line with government policy.

Major calamities, earthquakes in particular, were viewed in imperial China as a sign that a dynasty had lost the mandate of Heaven.

Although the Communist Party has tried to stamp out "feudal superstition" since it took power in 1949, the Beijing Games will start on the auspicious moment of 8:08 pm, on August 8 2008. Eight is a lucky number in Chinese.

It's like the Japanese getting all sweaty over Hello Kitty omens.

It's like the four horsemen of the Apocalypse with cute cartoony heads storming the castle. Yet for the Chinese rulers, this is deadly serious. If everyone believes the superstition, they will act is if it is real.

And then the government loses the mandate of Heaven.