Saturday, August 23

We are not qualified

Beijing's gleaming new sports stadiums, efficient subway lines and legions of smiling volunteers are a testament to the Communist Party's power to mobilize a country of 1.3 billion people. But to do so, the party has had to draw vast resources from faraway towns and villages, where millions of ordinary citizens ...are now suffering from water shortages, blackouts and business losses brought about because of the Games.


While few are willing to publicly criticize the Olympics, outrage has spread online among the anonymous.

"I just want ask this one question: Are farmers not people?" a resident of the coastal province of Shandong wrote on one online message board, expressing frustration over the blackouts in his area. "We are in the dark, sweating all over.

"A number of farmers are not big earners in income," the writer continued. "They can not spend money to see Beijing Olympics. . . . From within the heart it is not fair."

Others say they are torn between their duty to the state and their individual losses.

The article suggests that one Cheng Linpeng lost his job as a fish farmer when the central government approved a water diversion project aimed at relieving shortages in Beijing and other parts of the arid north.
He said he's excited China is doing so well but doesn't know anyone who is going to the Games. When asked if he thought about going, he looked surprised.

"Would we be allowed?" Cheng asked, explaining that migrant workers are considered second-class citizens in Beijing. "The place is not so big, and it wouldn't be able to hold everyone who wants to come. We are not qualified."

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