As with any Olympic year, the greeting the New Year in 2008 will set a lot of butterflies flapping in a lot of people’s stomachs. The athletes for example (particularly those of the host nation), and of course the organisers. However, the Beijing Olympics will not be like most Olympics (for both reasons within, and out of the control of the organisers).
“The number one anxiety in 2008 for China’s political leaders, is, of course, the Beijing Olympic Games. Whether they will bring China glory or stigma is a major concern in 2008. No one is clearer than China’s leaders that the real issue is not how many medals China can win, not even whether the opening is brilliant, but how much of the dirty linen of China’s political darkness will be aired thanks to the “great Games”.
“While we can’t tell how many people share the regime’s anxiety over the Beijing Olympic Games, no one doubts the general anxiety about the economy in 2008: everyone, rich or poor, officials and populace, is anxious.”
Liang Ting describes the “thousands of “petitioners” with grievances of every kind all over the country, who may very well bring their petitions to Beijing over the period of the Olympic Games”. Onlookers may also be anxious that “if various levels of local governments unscrupulously “curtail petitioning” under high pressure from Beijing, more vicious incidents will be produced and China will lose face”.