China and the Olympics: Expect the Unexpected

As the Chinese politburo lines up on the podium during the Olympic opening ceremony, the sound it most fears is not the distant rumble of clashes with protesting Tibetan independence supporters beyond the ornate walls of the newly-built bird’s nest stadium. Nor is it worried about any seats left empty by boycotting foreign heads of state. The sound that would really strike fear into it is the murmurs and hisses of a disapproving Chinese middle class – the urban population – some of them in the stadium. And the very fact that this looks even a little bit more likely than it did a few months back must cause President Hu Jintao, and Premier Wen Jiabao, to sleep just that little less peacefully each night, as we get towards August 8.

The World Today Published 1 May 2008 Updated 15 October 2020 3 minute READ

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