China’s gold medal gamble

From THE AGE (AU)

With less than 200 days to go until the Olympics, China is preparing to dazzle the world with the most glittering spectacle ever seen.

This is the biggest “coming out” party of all. Now Beijing anxiously waits to see if its giant sporting gamble will reap the geo-political laurels it seeks.

Fifteen years after its failure to win the 2000 Games, which went to Sydney largely because of concerns over China’s human rights record, the planet’s most populous nation has transformed itself, overtaking Britain to become the world’s fourth largest economy after the US, Japan and Germany.

China has embarked upon a buying spree to secure energy and resources on every continent, including Aus tralia, unrivalled in scope since the US became the world’s dominant power.

… After losing the bid for the 2000 Games in 1993, China reluctantly changed tack in its campaign for the 2008 Olympic Games and pledged that the Olympics would improve human rights in China.

Now, with less than six months to go before the Games, a slew of detentions have cast doubt on that claim.

Last week, the trial began of a land rights activist, Yang Chunlin, accused of staining China’s inter national image because he has opposed the Olympics. [continues…]

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