I would imagine that, immediately Britain won the right to host the Olympic games in 2012, the Chinese pulled out all stops to ensure the British would be demoralised by the show the Chinese intend to put on. More about the reasons later.
I watched the opening ceremony and, if that is going to be anything to go by, the games are going to be magnificent. I wonder how many of you noticed the three languages used in the opening ceremony. English, French and Chinese. The Chinese language has the most speakers. Next comes English which is also the widest spoken language in the world (outside of China), followed last by French which is rather a minority language.
Although Chinese is spoken the most, the Chinese, as is their wont for politeness, used their language last. However, I did note two items of interest. French was used first, in place of English, and the English commentator was not British but American. Admittedly, the Chinese have a high regard for the Americans, but there could be another reason.
That reason goes back to the Opium Wars. The first Opium War lasted between 1839 and 1842, the second between 1856 and 1860. To cut a long story short, Britain traded with China and paid for their goods with Opium. China tried to protect their citizens and stop this evil trade. Britain was outraged and the wars ensued.
The Chinese have long memories and have never forgotten the inhuman ways of the British. If they can show us up in any way, you can be certain they will.
The British have a lot to answer to in the history of the world. Even as late as 1900 they invented Concentration Camps and actually killed off 50% of the women and children of the Boer race. The British burned their farms and killed their animals in a “scorched earth” policy. These two campaigns were run by Kitchener and Roberts respectively. Then when Hitler adopted these two British actions we were incensed! Why? Wouldn’t he pay us royalties?
But, you know, all this was before any of us was born. Apologies are not in order. The world moves on. Take the Turks for example, the Ottomans were a cruel and heartless race, but present day Turks are not.
Zulu chiefs, Shaka, Senzangakhona, Mpande, Dingiswayo, were barbaric. Chief Shaka, to demonstrate to a visiting dignitary, how his men were so obedient, ordered an entire regiment to march over a cliff to their deaths. Nowadays no Zulu would even dream of being so barbaric.
Many moons ago an American black said the whites should apologise for what they had done to black people. (I will not use the term African American as these people are so divorced from Africans it isn’t true!) Take also the “Native American”. The Red Indian came over the Bering Straights from Mongolia, through the lands now known as Alaska**, and Canada, to the United States. Amusingly, the “Native American” is a Russian! However, I digress! I said to him; “I will apologise for anything I may have personally done. I will commiserate for anything my people have done since I was born, but cannot apologise for the action of others. If the action was committed before I was born, and you have proof that one of my ancestors was involved, then you have my permission to dig up their grave and demand an apology from their dead bones.” And I meant it.
Do not dwell in the past! The Chinese, and others, could well learn from my philosophy which is; “We must live in the present, look to the future, and only learn from the past so we may avoid making the same mistakes again.”
PS, Watching Newsnight on television, I came Upon this for the first time: “Study the past if you would define the future”. This was written by the Chinese philosopher and reformer, Confucius, between 551BC and 479BC. So I am lot totally alone with my philosophy. But I probably have heard it at sometime during my sixty-nine years of life.
** Although Alaska is now part of the United States, it is still shown on maps as Alaska.