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China’s Olympic Challenge - Pomp and Propaganda
By Peter Navarro
Author of The Coming China Wars

Regrettably, the Beijing Olympic Games will provide strong validation to China's own particularly virulent brand of Maoist totalitarianism. It was not supposed to be this way. The International Olympic Committee awarded the 1988 games to South Korea, which promised to clean up its totalitarian act. South Korea's brutal authoritarian regime did indeed call for direct elections. The result has been a textbook democratic transformation.

Naively thinking it could make democratic lightening strike twice, the IOC awarded China the 2008 Games after China promised a more open system. Regrettably, all we have seen is an even more ruthless repression. Tibet is just the tip of the Chinese jackboot. Muslims in the western Xinjiang Autonomous Region are routinely brutalized, as are practitioners of Falun Gong. And millions of people at the bottom of the social scale have been roughly evicted from Beijing to make way for the Games.

Beyond its borders, China also regularly uses its U.N. veto power to support everything from genocide in Darfur and Burma and nuclear proliferation in Iran to the looting of Zimbabwe by its ruling elites - all for China's access to oil and natural resources. As the Games begin amidst a tsunami of pomp and propaganda, it is essential to remember the broader political context under which they will be conducted. 

©2008 Peter Navarro

Author Bio
Peter Navarro a business professor at the University of California-Irvine, is the author of the best- selling investment book If It's Raining in Brazil, Buy Starbucks and the path-breaking management book, The Well-Timed Strategy. Professor Navarro is a widely sought after and gifted public speaker and a regular CNBC contributor. Prior to joining CNBC, he appeared frequently on Bloomberg TV, CNN, and NPR, as well as on all three major network news shows. He has testified before Congress and the U.S.-China Commission and his work has appeared in publications ranging from Business Week, the L.A. Times, and New York Times to the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Harvard Business Review.