The price of national glorification

Human Rights in China has a post-mortem on the Beijing olympics. Here’s their conclusion:

The total costs of staging a show of national glorification will be borne by the ordinary people in China, a fact perhaps not immediately apparent to the foreign visitors who marveled at the splendid new architecture on the temporarily cleaned-up streets of Beijing. The Chinese government spent close to $43 billion to host the Beijing Olympics, the most expensive Games ever in Olympic history. That is almost one-third of the projected $146 billion needed to rebuild the areas devastated by the earthquake in Sichuan.

The serious air pollution and water shortage crisis in China was both temporarily addressed and worsened by hosting the Games. Although Chinese authorities and the IOC insisted that the air quality posed no problems for the athletes, it is Chinese citizens who will bear the health costs for the ongoing impact of environmental pollution, especially after temporary Olympics air pollution measures are lifted. The Beijing Olympics also consumed an estimated 200 million cubic meters of water—the equivalent of the annual water supply for one million people—all diverted from Hebei, a nearby province facing a severe drought over the past several years.

As the post-Beijing Olympics assessments begin, Human Rights in China looks forward to a time when the Chinese government truly puts the people first, and celebrates those working to build a true harmonious society in China.

(Via the Corner.)

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