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This blog wishes it be known that the opinions presented herein are the sole responsibility of the author, and do not represent the feelings, opinions, ideas, or conclusions of any affiliated organization or group. Additionally, the author has chosen to keep the blog confidential during the Olympic Games 2008, as the reaction of the PRC towards foreign opinion remains ungauged. Thanks for reading.
Beijingfuturesdreams, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Opening Ceremonies and First Impressions

The following video clips are the first pieces of evidence gathered as Images of the Future.

Image 1: PEOPLE

If there is no other factor that is of the utmost concern to the future it is the people that will populate it. To be in the People's Republic of China, therefore, on the eve of the Olympic Games and to see the throngs of security forces, volunteers, and fans that the event drew, forced this fact to the forefront of this blog.

In the videos above, you will see that people were in fact everywhere. It has been estimated that seating capacity for the Bird's Nest, site of the Opening Ceremony, is 90,000. Of those seats it has been estimated that approximately 80,000 were reserved for athletes visitors, sponsors, industrial partners, and other members of China's elite. This left approximately 10,000 official seats for sale, and those have been sold out since October 2007. The population of Beijing alone is 17,000,000.

This meant that most of Beijing would be watching the Olympics on a television screen, as would most of the world.

As a resident of Beijing, and humble researcher, I thought it my duty to do my best to get some fieldwork done, and I headed up to the venues by subway. After all, any digital remnants of the television broadcast would be available via YouTube, BitTorrent, or other online source. This experience, no matter the end proximity to the event could not be missed. I found upon exiting the subway, that I was not the only person to have had this thought. Thousands of pedestrians were out and about, and the local government had very well prepared itself for such a contingency.

Security barriers were established with a one block buffer zone for the venues. However, as barriers were confronted by the masses of people just wishing to be close to the event, small gaps in the barriers opened. Every time a gap was made or exploited by the prodding pedestrians, the police would temporarily give way, regroup, and establish a new barrier from which to push the people back. Each time this process occurred the barrier shrunk in size, and the outside onlookers were able to peer at the firework spectacle from closer and closer.

The chant:

"Zhong Guo, Jiao Yo!" (Go China!!!)
Rose up time and again.


With the limited number of tickets to all the games, and all having been sold out months in advance, my first impression was that getting a closer view of the Futures Images of the Olympics 2008 was going to be a challenge.

The visual analogy of a cell wall buffering the contents of the cell from foreign entities ran through my mind a number of times while circling outside the security lines. The constant testing of the security lines by us "outsiders," coupled with the organic movement of the security forces compelled this picture in my mind. The enlivened movement of people who had found a weakness in the barrier, and the excitement in their eyes, spoke to the positive intentions behind their rule breaking. These were not terrorists or protesters looking to pursue alternative agendas, but workers and citizens trying to get a closer look at this long-hyped event.

Taking this analogy to a different arena, what does the analogy above represent in terms of the economic boom in China, the rising middle class, and the dreams of success that fill the workers minds? In my opinion, their actions on Friday night speak loudly to the general behavior of the people who are looking to become a part of the bigger China event--its rise to be a second-to-none global superpower. In this event, the barriers take on a different form, and the pursuit of entrance to this event requires different actions, but the will is no less evident.

By the end of the night, I and hundreds of others found ourselves standing across the street from the bird's nest for the final fireworks display. Albeit, the 12 lanes of the fourth ring road made a quite uncrossable street, we had all gathered here for a view unimpeded by skyscrapers, and distance. We watched as volunteers for the event were bussed away, and security forces transported in to establish a new, closer, protection zone. Persistence and mass prevailed, like an ocean establishing a new shoreline, and when the show finally began our ocean had front row seats.

1 comment:

david santos said...

中国,祝贺!!!!!! " 08-08-08"