Poor China. On the brink of winning the greatest haul of gold medals by any country at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, some people are questioning the integrity of some of their wins. Did they follow the rules? There has been reason to suspect otherwise, not the least of which was reporting done by the government-controlled official news service, which contradicts their now-official story about the age of two of their athletes.
Since the questions were raised, China has produced official state documents, including passports and birth certificates, that "prove" that the young gymnasts, the remarkably young-looking He Kexin and Yang Yilin, are the proper age to compete.
"They have faced groundless suspicion. Why aren't they believed," asked China gymnastics coach Lu Shanzan. "Why are their children suspected? Their parents are very angry."
Well, let's think about that for just a bit.
Why would anyone not believe the official story of an oppressive regime trying to put a happy face on its historical and contemporary tyranny?
But we're told to ignore all that, and we do for the most part because it's more comfortable to think of China in terms of its grand opening ceremony and rich culture on display throughout the Olympics.
Never you mind that elephant in the room. Look how well our 9 year-olds can lip sync "Ode to the Motherland."
It's very possible that the gymnasts and China didn't break a single rule. I want to believe that. I hope that's the case -- for their sakes. Our young should never be used as pawns to further our own selfish ambitions and obsessions.
Even if the worst is true, though, this action doesn't even approach the moral weight of infanticide, but it certainly does nothing to improve their standing.
The sad part is that, if the girls' ages are what they now say they are, they're made to suffer for China's human rights abuses -- and their constant push to cover it up -- over something that should have never been sullied.
A Marketing Lesson
According to USA Today, China now hopes to turn the exposure the country got into increased tourism.
But for all the glitter and glamour, do you believe for a moment the this changes the "product?" This is the same product that prohibits freedom of religion, arrests dissidents for political speech, and confiscates Bibles and other religious literature without compensation.
Of course not.
The pomp and circumstance are just marketing tools at best, and at worst, they represent a fraudulent picture of the very real abuses their government sponsors. Responsible consumers ought to think twice before falling for their marketing ploys that try to cover up or hide their real problem.
Most will see right through it.
As with most things, though, some people will fall for it. Some will continue to shun and condemn China.
A noble few will continue to do what they always have: Fight for the freedom -- in principle and practice -- the just people of China so richly deserve. And they will pay the price for it because they know it's worth the cost. - Cam Beck