I majored in East Asian Studies with a heavy dose of Chinese language and culture. I lived in Tianjin (2 hours south of Beijing via train) for one year in undergrad and Taipei for three years after graduating. So I’ve been exposed to the dialogue on China for years.
The torch relay in San Francisco will be tumultous. Though I don’t support disrupting the runners, I am amazed at how “organized” some of the protests have been.
I believe that the run up to the Olympics will not be what the Chinese government wanted. An opportunity to showcase China around the world. But i also believe that they underestimated the response. Whether it’s too late or not, the government is seeking a PR agency to inevitably help in the run up.
This will be a fascinating inflection in China’s global relations. The question is whether China considers this a loss of face or an opportunity to open up. If history is any indication, I think the former will be true and further isolate China from the rest of the world.
In the end, I hope the politics don’t prevent the atheletes from fulfilling their lifelong dreams.
Update: The route was changed to avoid the large crowd of pro-torch and protesters near the previously announced route. I tried to catch a bit of history and missed it unfortunately. Sounds as if protesters were able to catch up to the torch. I’ll have to see it on TV tonight.