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The Real News Network: Winners and Losers in the New China

August 14, 2008
11:30 AM

CONTACT: The Real News Network
Taruna Godric, 416 916 5202

Winners and Losers in the New China
Prof. Minqi Li, a former political prisoner, on Confucianism, capitalism and harmony. Part (1 of 4)
August 14 - Forty three billion dollars is the official amount that China will spend on the Beijing Olympic Games. Some have called it China's global coming out party, others, one of histories most expensive PR campaigns. But according to former political prisoner Professor Minqi Li, all the dazzle of the Olympic Games does not cover the growing social inequality in China.

Professor Li believes multiple things have changed since the 1989 Tienanmen Square crackdown, but would not say, in general, things have changed for the majority of the Chinese population. Li says that "things might have changed for the better for some of the, let's say, relatively privileged section of the Chinese population, including the intellectuals from all different political perspectives."

There are also others who like to point out that there are many among the Chinese, for example, who work as peasants and who have lost their jobs, or even some middle class members who are struggling, who pay the mortgage, and not necessarily so enthusiastic about the Olympics. Some have also pointed out that those migrant workers who have laboured to build the architectural achievements for the Beijing Olympics will not be among the privileged audience to enjoy them.

With the celebration of Confucianism in the spectacular opening ceremonies, some have pointed out that Confucianism is a symbol of obedience, subservience, oppression, instead of peace and harmony. Professor Li has said "It is quite ironic that at the moment, when this Olympics thing is celebrating, supposedly, peace and harmony, a war is breaking out in Georgia."

Watch out for the rest of Senior Editor Paul Jay's interview with Professor Minqi Li over next coming days on The Real News Network


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