Now What That the 2008 Olympics Are Over?
The 2008 Olympics came to a close tonight in Beijing amidst another spectacular and dazzling performance that featured beautifully choreographed dancing, flying drums and sparkling rappellers descending from a leaning tower, as well as scenes from British culture that featured the likes of David Beckham and Led Zepplin's Jimmy Page. This time it appeared that the fireworks over Beijing which lit up millions of TV screens around the world were real; it was a perfect ending to sixteen days that have arguably made up the most exciting Olympics ever.
Yet as I sat here watching the glorious fanfare that descended upon the Bird's Nest in Beijing tonight, I could not help but be bothered by a few nagging questions which neither the humorous sight of Jackie Chan singing at the top of his lungs or the sound of a hundred fireworks could quell. These Olympic Games were truly remarkable; few can deny that. But now what? What happens after the last foreign Olympic athlete has boarded an airplane back to his or her home country?
What will happen to Tibet?
Some Chinese people who have commented on my website as well as foreign analysts have suggested that China has big 'plans' for Tibet after the Olympic Games have ended. After all, the Chinese government holds grudges for a long time. The leadership of the CCP has certainly not forgotten how the Tibet uprising almost ruined its big Olympic show in Beijing. As the world spotlight fades away from China, I wonder what will be occurring in this province that so desperately tried to 'catch' the world's attention this year. I hope that the world does not forget about Tibet in the months to come.
What does the future hold for the IOC?
While the 2008 Olympic Games were well run and logistically free of any major 'hitches', the IOC still has much to answer for. First, it did not hold Beijing to its promise that it would allow the journalists to have access to uncensored Internet. One broken promise. Second, Beijing did not approve one single protest even though it had promised that protesting would be permitted as long as an official request was made. The IOC had a responsibility to confront Beijing on that broken promise. Third, the IOC failed to open up an investigation on possible age violations by Chinese gymnasts until a few days before the Olympics ended. We will probably never know for sure how old those gymnasts were. There was also IOC President Jean Rogge's criticism of Usain Bolt which drew the ire of many around the world. While Beijing may have put on a great show, the IOC appeared more weak and helpless than ever during these Olympic games. It may be time for a leadership change.
How will stories from athletes,journalists and other Olympic participants differ from what we saw and heard on television this week?
After any Olympic Games have concluded, there are always behind-the-scene stories that are recounted by the thousands of people who took part in the events. Despite the Chinese government's best efforts to hide the more unsavory aspects of a society still under totalitarian rule, there are sure to be plenty of eyewitness accounts which will expose events that transpired which were not mean to be witnessed by the general public. It will be interesting to see how the Chinese react to any such accounts and how the Chinese government handles the backlash, if any.
What will the Chinese people do now?
It had to be an emotional night for the millions of Chinese people here and around the world who tuned in to witness this spectacular closing ceremony. They had waited eight years to witness their country host this premier world event, and now it is all over.The concept of 'One World One Dream' may last for a few weeks following tonight's closing ceremonies, but reality will eventually replace this slogan as the nation returns once again to focusing on the great obstacles that it faces on its long and arduous road of development. While I feel sorry that their moment in the world spotlight has come to an end tonight, I hope that this unique and close encounter with the world will encourage the Chinese people to push harder for reform in their country. Hopefully this taste of glory will help the country to yearn more for greater freedom within their own society. If so, these 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing were not hosted in vain.
Robert Vance is senior editor at TeachAbroadChina.com