Will Kim Jong-Il still be in power come Beijing 2008?
As I am sitting here watching the pundits tear each other to pieces on the FoxNews show Forbes on Fox, I am struck by what should have been a rather obvious point. The Beijing Olympics (a.k.a. China's great coming show) has the potential to make or break the emerging superpower in the eyes of the apprehensive western world. In Nicholas Kristof's brilliant book, and the inspiration for the name of my other blog, China Wakes he descibes a rather gruesome story that was recounted to him by a local party official in Beijing about the extent to which the government was willing to go to ensure the cities selection as the host of the '08 games. In touching detail and sincerity he tells the story of a young man who suffered from downs syndrome and suffered and sudden fits of seizure. This young man's parents' home was located along the route planned for the Olympic Committee's tour of Beijing and local police began to worry that he may unwittingly embarrass the city and cause the country their opportunity at securing the games. The government's solution was to kidnap him from his crying mother's arms and send him to a rural prison camp, where he was subsequently beaten to death without any recourse taken by the local government to compensate the family or bring to justice the guilty party. If the government is that paranoid about the impact a single mentally disabled Chinese may have on the image of their country in the eyes of the world, I find little reason to believe they are going find any benefit in allowing the North Korean leader to stay in power for very much longer. I have yet to see any indication that the US plans to change their policy, which is the obvious goal of the recent brazen tactics of Kim Jong-Il's regime, an thus it seems likely they will continue to flex their muscle and further pressure the Chinese to withdraw their support. Either way, a peaceful solution is quickly fading on the horizon.