Huffpost Politics
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Graham Bensinger Headshot

China Criticism Must Continue

Posted: Updated:

This past week, Chinese gymnastics was vindicated by an investigation into potential wrongdoings.

To be eligible for competition, athletes must turn 16-years-old by the Olympic year. Many accusations surfaced that some Chinese gymnasts in this summer's Olympics were only 14-years-old. They were found to be of age, however, the criticism of China must continue.

There were columnists during the games suggesting that China's image is changing. It's incredibly ignorant to even imply that.

The opening ceremony alone cost a projected $300 million dollars - over six times more than any other opening ceremony in history. The media said the host of the 2012 Summer Olympics, London, is really in a tough spot because that grand of a ceremony will likely never be duplicated. And it shouldn't be. In fact, it'd be disappointing if London spent that much money.

China is a nation of 1.3 billion people. An estimated 300 million people live on less than one dollar per day. Hypothetically, Beijing could have more than doubled what these people live on each day by dispersing that $300 million dollars to the people instead of spending it on the games. Or, maybe as a sign of goodwill, saying, "You know what? We're spending $300 million dollars on the opening ceremony. We'll also spend that much to better our poor community." That's how a country enhances its image.

In a nation with such high poverty, it's astonishing and sickening that amount of money is spent on a sporting event, regardless the magnitude. But that's consistent with China.

The nation would rather spend money to project their desired image than do what's right.

Just look at the pollution. Beijing is multiple times more polluted than even the United States' worst cities. Leading up to the games, the pollution was over five times worse than levels deemed safe by the World Health Organization. By comparison, Beijing was ten times more polluted than Atlanta during the 1996 Games and five times more than Los Angeles during the 1984 Games.

Instead of taking the necessary steps to effectively reduce pollution over a long period of time, Beijing took the quick fix. During the Olympics, the government strictly limited the number of cars on the streets and shut down all of the factories. All of this put out their citizens. People were without work during the games. Of course, the government didn't reimburse the poor workers for lost wages.

But that's China.

There haven't been changes in any other substantive issues either. The Chinese government is still close with the Sudanese government even amid the genocide in Darfur. At least one former U.S Olympian's Visa was revoked right before he left for Beijing to prohibit him from entering the country because he supports Darfur. China even put restrictions on the press covering the games.

So the criticism of China must continue. Insinuating the Olympics were a great leap forward for China is a joke. China spent an estimated $50 billion dollars on the Olympics -- exponentially more than any other host country. The nation seemed to think by investing a lot of money in the Olympics, the games could deceivingly be used as a platform to change their image. Even though their government's self-centered actions remain the same.

Email Graham Bensinger

Visit Graham's Website: www.GrahamBensinger.com