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08/08/08 Usain Bolt - Fake THAT!

After his world record-breaking 200metres victory this afternoon, Usain Bolt poses a lot of problems. For his competition - obviously; for his production line of accountants desperately trying to keep up with the workload; and for the coaches who have been preaching the gospel of Power-Sprinting for the last few decades. The same gospel of upper body strength and bulk which produced the likes of the hideously distorted Ben Johnson, and which fuelled the market for steroids and other bulk-enhancers.
Usain Bolt therefore poses
the biggest problem to the chemists. From now on, coaches will be looking for long, rangy sprinters with excellent technique. These things are not easily faked with drugs. Not as easily as bulk, anyway. So the task of the cheats just became a little harder, and sports lovers can believe a little more easily.
If long and lean becomes a new body fashion, and leads to fewer immobile neckless gymnauts, so much the better. It might even reduce the amount of rage on the streets a fraction.
Unfortunately, all this depends on not thinking the unthinkable. And that doesn't feel right.

add. 21/8/08.
'Bolt Stakes His Claim As The Greatest Ever Sprinter'.

Richard Williams.
Guardian 21/8/08.

"Perhaps it is too much to hope that he has also banished the suspicions that have undermined the integrity of Olympic sprinting for so long. But when you look at him, at his 6'5", 13st8lb frame and at the articulation of his limbs as he devours the track you might be forgiven for thinking that he, more than any other leading sprinter for several generations, might just be able to achieve such feats without artificial assistance. There is none of the physical distortion created by the excess muscle that powered recent generations out of the blocks. He looks balanced and natural.
Well, we can hope."
Olympics: Why a negative will be a massive positive.'
Paul Kelso, Guardian 18/8/08.

"There was no one aiming daggers at him as Carl Lewis did at Johnson in 1988, instead there were only compliments. Everyone who was gripped on Saturday will hope it stays that way."

Beijing Olympics 2008

08/08/08 Lucky Number Team GB

Does every British medal winner carry a number 8 on their back? To the casual but surprised TV viewer, it does seem as if this Chinese talisman has done no harm at all to the glorious medal tally of 'Team GB'. Which prompts the nerdiest Olympic question so far. What is the Olympic numbering system anyway?
People are naturally wondering why the British team are doing so well. On the principle that everything Gordon Brown touches turns to dust, and because he is hiding in Scotland, he can't posibly be to blame. Both John Major and the playing fields of Eton have been held responsible, which was worth a laugh. But no mention of astral forces. To be fair, The Mirror did print a feature on Chinese Numerology, but then forgot all about it in the goldrush.
The Chinese believe in this mumbo jumbo, and they seem to be doing fine.

Beijing Olympics 2008


08/08/08 Wanting To Believe In Sport

One sporting commentator after another is having obligatory doubts about the cavalcade of olympic superlatives of the last week. Not about the legality of the performances, but about sport itself as a form of drama.
Any columnist worth their ticket agonising about whether they actually enjoyed what they saw, or whether the experience was fatally tainted by the background echo of drugs. Was this almost superhuman display of speed and strength an authentic sporting achievement, or merely another disillusionment in waiting, like so many Olympic glories of the past 20 years? Is it even now possible to appreciate sport in the same way it once was? Is sport dead? At least, until there is some guarantee of authenticity.

The climax was the Jamaican track team's performance on sunday. Usain Bolt's contemptuous 'I Am The Greatest' before he'd even crossed the line, followed by the women's clean sweep of the medals in their 100m event were, sadly, almost unbelievable. And we want to believe. In sport, we have to believe. That is the point, the outcome must be fair. And in athletics, this is reduced to a simple matter of mathematics. Fastest, furthest, highest. This clarity is one thing which seperates it from fictional drama. Without genuine achievements and a result which can be trusted, sport doesn't exist. It fails to create the right chemistry in the viewer, and is reduced to a staged tableau. A cheap display of freaks and masochists.

After the hideous damage to the lives of the users, the worst damage of drugs in sport is their destruction of the bond of faith between performance and audience. The cynicism and doubt which every event now faces. And it doesn't matter if, as with Usain Bolt, he looks nothing like a Ben Johnson knucklehead on crack. Or even if the winner is as obviously innocent as the lovely Shelley-Ann Fraser, claiming after her race that

"Yam, banana and dumpling make top three!"
There will always now be a splinter of doubt digging into what should be a moment of joyful identification with a human being achieving something they want more than anything else in the world. The essential sympathy between 'player' and audience is destroyed, or cut short at best. It is not possible to feel sympathy with a cheat. And the prevalence of drugs makes everyone a possible cheat. Everyone is guilty until found innocent, which is not very sporting.

The victory today of Christine Ohuruogu was a very ambiguous experience. Giving the benefit of the doubt, it was a great personal achievement. Her 1 year ban and victorious appeal were hardly a perfect build-up. And she is now legally free to perform. But she is an exception, The truth is that by allowing the cheat to benefit more from the same amount of training as the athlete, it is of as much use in preventing injury and strees as it is in inducing more intense muscle activity.
Also, the enhanced performances achieved by cheating 'stay in the legs', as the athletes put it. So during the period the undetected cheat is in competition, he is setting the standard for the genuine athletes and forcing them to train harder than they might otherwise, causing injury and poisoning the competition. Like a rhodedondron bush poisoning the ground beneath it.
A temporary ban is therefore a puny punishment for the network of suffering caused by drug use in sport. It is almost something a businesslike cheat could budget for, or get someone else to budget for them.

If drugs do win the damage will be even more wide ranging. Until now, sport provided a useful antidote to the need to believe in Father Xmas. Somedays your team won, somedays it lost. That's life. But if the winners in sport are not really the winners, to enjoy the spectacle we have to use a lot of wish-fulfillment. Those nice hardworking supermen and women deserve their glory because we believe they do. The world is nice because I believe it's nice. All is perfect, C21st, Confucian Harmony. As the games come to a close, we go back to the unrelenting theme of the opening ceremony in a huge pretentious cosmic circle.
Not the most progressive of political symbols.
Beijing Olympics 2008

B.B.C. 'good value for money' says Daily Mail

According to a MORI poll commissioned by the Guardian, and quoted in the Daily Mail, 53 per cent agree that the corporation represents 'good value for money'. More than 24% disagree strongly.

41 per cent agree that the licence fee is an 'appropriate' way of funding it, with 37 per cent disagreeing. 59 per cent of viewers agree that the corporation is making unique programming.

Only 30 per cent agree that the broadcaster is being successful in its stated aim.

Who'd have thought it?



The Tories face an uncomfortable truth, namely, that urban regeneration is meaningless without the regeneration of communities. And with communities comes social cohesion, and with that comes a collective understanding of the real problems and the real enemies. And after the abject failure generations of Conglomerate Great Redeemers to deliver anything but inner city decay, drunken orgies and a workforce of shelf-stackers, some of the enemies are clear, and they also happen to be friends of the tory party and their defunct dogma of Free Market Worship.
Tory funded, market-worshipping political WonkTank 'Policy Exchange' condemned Liverpool and other minor British conurbations to extinction in their report 'Cities Unlimited' and are promoting mass-migration to new purpose-built developments on green belt land in Chipping Norton, Maidenhead and Guildford.

"Many of Britain's towns and cities have failed - and been failed by policy makers for too long. It is better to tell uncomfortable truths than to continue to claim that if we carry on as we are then things will turn out well. Just as we can't buck the market, so we can't buck economic geography either. Places that enjoyed the conditions for creating wealth in the coal-powered 19th century often do not do so today."
This is the ideology of the same Steam Age it pretends to be burying. Which is the same schizophrenia which makes David Cameron hijack the word community for propaganda purposes. He clearly doesn't understand either community or modern society, if he did he would realise the dilemma he is making for himself. If he does understand, then he is simply lying through his teeth.

Doktor Oliver Marc Hartwich, German chief economist of Policy Exchange appeared on daytime TV today to claim that:

"Canary Wharf, financial services, that's where the opportunities of the future are."
And that people in Liverpool are desperate to work in Canary Wharf, and should be encouraged to relocate. That would apparently solve the problems created by the wilful, needless devastation of the industrial areas inflicted by the policies of Margaret Thatcher, Keith Joseph and other revered tory witchdoctors. All of which makes the most visionary forms of communism look as practical as erecting a deckchair - financial services being a universally acknowledged source of mass employment with a fantastic record of creating happy family life and vibrant, friendly communities. As in the case of Guildford, for instance.
As long ago as 2004 Guildford won double honours in a report by the government-backed Giving Campaign, as both the richest and the meanest town in Britain. The losers in this competition were places such as Newcastle, Blackpool, Motherwell and Liverpool, but with poor old decrepit Sunderland clearly last. These defunct northern hellholes are also in disgrace for just not being unfriendly enough. Sheffield University's Friendship Report apparently rates Yorkshire as the least unfriendly place in Britain. The obviously need to learn the lessons of the sterile ratrace suburbs of the affluent, financially serviced south, where neighbours never meet, and the hospitals are among the worst in Britain, according to this year's The Healthcare Commission report.

The Queen Victoria Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and The Cardiothoracic Centre Liverpool NHS Trust were rated second and third best respectively.
Bottom of table was Ealing Hospital NHS Trust in London, with a patient score of 65.06.
Mayday Healthcare NHS Trust (Croydon) and Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust (Hackney, right next to Canary Wharf) also made it into the bottom three.
David Cameron finally woke up to the problem and called the report 'insane', possibly because he was touring the north at the time, and didn't want to be stoned in his carriage like Wellington after Peterloo, possibly because of the effect on property values in his leafy suburban hinterland. But if he really believes what he says, why does his party continue to support the lunatics who dreamt up this Thatcherite relocation of the Kulaks, and the ideology which created it? The uncomfortable truth is that Policy Exchange are the real tories, Cameron is just NuLabour with a Nu Haircut. Same cage, different circus.
Policy Exchange was set up in 2002 by Nicholas Boles, until recently London Mayor Boris Johnson's chief of staff. Say no more, and say it loud.


And now it turns out that the brilliant
Dr Oliver Marc Hartwich doesn't think London is worth relocating to in the first place. It's too expensive, inefficient, the IKEAs are all wrong, the chips are the wrong shape, and the whole place is just not German enough. Just the sort of place to dump millions of resentful, lonely, unemployed northerners. So he's off. He's had enough and is going to cause trouble in Australia.
 The monumental blunder of his entire view of the world is his assumption that, allowed enough 'freedom', the market will generate a stable, law-abiding, harmonious community. And that healthy communities are only ever a bonus, a benefit of succesful capitalism. That the social duty of the workforce is therefore always to obey the demands of the market and know their place and be grateful.
 The truth is now the opposite. A genuine, functional community is now a marketing point for a workforce. A commodity in its own right. And in a world which has heard of email, thank you Doctor Hartwich, distance from London and all its horrors is not a problem for business. Proximity to London and its wasteland of community values, with all its crime and bitterness, is.
In a desperate age when the discovery of iron ore in Yorkshire would trigger mass migration, and the steam engine was the wonder of the time, Dr Hartwich's dogma may have been a brutal necessity in the progress of industrial capitalism.
This dependence on locally sourced raw materials is largely over, except for one, the workforce. Businesses will have to learn to 'source' the most important raw material first. And that is the workforce. And the happiest workforces live in healthy communities.


08/08/08 Ling-A-Long-A-Lympics.

It's only a matter of time before Adrian Chiles gives in to temptation or exhaustion and blurts out:

"I wanna tell ya a STORY."

The cosiness of the BBC output from the Ling Long Pagoda is positively Bygravian. With Granny Sue Barker as his sidekick, every elasticated slipper in the country will be at attention for the rest of the games.

But how long can this approach last? Is it an inevitable result of an ageing population? The voice of the grey pound? As Maxie himself might well have said, will it Linga Longa or pa-Go Da way of all flesh? Surely it's time for the BBC to get over the loss of Des Lynam, and employ some livelier presenters who know just as little about sport. More Russ Brand and less Russ Conway, in other words.
As Maxie used to say:

"That's a good idea, SON."

Ling Long Media Centre
Beijing Olympics 2008


Dawkins Says: Some Politics Are More Natural Than Others

Richard Dawkins' series on Darwin (11/8/08. Channel 4) made the important point that nasty nature does not excuse nasty people or societies - something which all grown ups already knew. Evolution is no more an excuse for barbarism than, well, religion. The only appropriate response to those who condemn evolution on the grounds that Hitler was inspired by Darwin's version of nature is the first rhetorical question of infancy:"And if Nature told you to put your finger in the fire?"
Except, of course that Hitler was not inspired by Darwin at all, but simply by the age-old technique of stock-breeding. If Hitler had understood the principle of Reciprocal Altruism which holds our complex society together and stops every post-office queue becoming a blood-bath, he would have been a much healthier person. Then he would have been ready for the revelation that the goal of evolution is merely change itself. It is the fear of change which is the real phobia at the heart of all anti-evolutionary propaganda. The morbid infantile need for the security of stasis.
Dawkins goes on to make the point that evolution has also been hijacked to justify the ruthlessness of capitalism. The delectable example of Enron was worth the hour alone, where Survival of the Fittest was perverted to The Mass-Suicide of The Ruthless. The selfish gene gains its objective by the dictum of You Scratch My Back - I'll Scratch Yours not by Look After Number One. And on a social scale, by co-operation, not competition. The nurturing, social instinct is genetically programmed in normal healthy human beings, it is environment and misfortune which distorts and distracts this true nature. Right wing politics are therefore unnatural; created by and for these poor casualties of humanity, who, if their ideology was implemented, would be the first in line for compulsory sterilisation.
Reciprocal Altruism is just another way of saying socialism, the collective organisation of humanitarianism in the effort to deal with the immense, dangerous complexities of the industrial world.
Of course, as a liberal, Dawkins cannot understand this, yet. He confuses co-operation with charity, and romanticises liberal reformism. He shows that he understands society less than the evolutionary forces underlying it, not realising that social reciprocal altruism does not lead to soup kitchens, but to political and economic power.


08/08/08. Georgia, The Olympic War.

The Olympic Wrestling tournament in Beijing should be interesting. Russia is one of the dominant powers, but Georgia has a long history of the sport, which it is very proud and possessive about.
Georgia does tend to specialise in the more physical Olympic events.

"Vano Grikhurov, the head coach of the Georgian National Weightlifting team, said that the sportsmen are in good shape, and that as they are highly skilled at judo their chance of winning is high. “I think that Georgia once again will get gold from Olympic Games this year,” said Grikhurov.
Their boxing team also has hopes.
It is not very hard to imagine the atmosphere when a Georgian hopeful meets a Russian in combat. It is to be hoped that this will happen, not for the headlines or sick spectacle of two innocent sportsmen performing a puppet war for our amusement, but to help settle the old question of the role of politics in sport.
If sport really is the panacaea preached by the blazers, Russia Vs Georgia for the Olympic boxing title will be a triumph of pure human endeavour and mutual respect over squalid, materialistic political squabbling. If not they will kick the living shit out of each other.
Perhaps the failure of rugby to be included in the Beijing games isn't such a bad thing after all.
Beijing Olympics 2008


08/08/08 China - The Opera.

No-one was going to be really surprised by the superiority of Chinese orchestration and mass choreography. But this was a production with some style and no cheesiness. Possibly the least laughable Olympic opening ceremony ever. Scary, some might even say.
The scale of the show managed to capture the scale of Chinese history and achievements and be visually stunning and mysterious. The general story being that China invented everything; that it is the senior
civilisation, beating the other whippersnappers by thousands of years; and that it achieved all this through constant, ruthless Harmony in the Confucian tradition. No mention of Mao anywhere.
 Militaristic drumming, booful ickle kiddies in red frocks, flourescent flying spirits of the air and earth and fire and the glorious proletariat followed each other through the endless generations of firework-lit Chinese Time. Animism came and went. Buddhism arrived in a flourish of silk. Writing and paper and printing were scrolled out in an epic gleaming claim to global intellectual rights, patents and copyright. After a bizarre burst of Laughing On Command, the dancers lined up obediently behind Men In Black manipulating puppets.. What did that mean? And the depiction of Chinese pioneering navigators (well before anyone else, naturally) with scores of oars flailed by strong men in unison could only trigger one response in anyone who's ever seen Ben Hur. Slavery, which wasn't on the agenda at central committee planning. But this is China, slavery of one sort or another was and still is essential to its economy and success.
 There was very little to represent the New Fantasy China of liberty and unfettered exchange across borders, in spite of all the promises. Overall, the message was that China is essentially the same now that it was 5,000 years ago. The same doctrine of Peace and Prosperity through Unity and Harmony. An unconquerable regime built on the most stable of power structures, the pyramid. The constant glorification of the feudal past and its achievements cannot be brushed off as sentimentality, they mean it to continue, but with the help of the modern technologies and financial black magic of Wall Street and Canary Wharf. In return China is offering its political Wisdom of the Ages as a possible future model for the unstable, feverish west. You too can be immortal. All you need is to surrender to 'Harmony'.
 Orwell once described fascism as adopting from socialism only those aspects which were useful for the purposes of war. Chinese feudalism initially adopted those same aspects, now it chooses to cherry-pick from Consumerism instead.

Ken Livingstone in Beijing
Beijing Olympics 2008


08/08/08 - First British Gold!

They're wild, their noisy, and thank god, they're British!
Britain claimed the first gold medal of the games when its team were the first to be arrested in the Political Demonstration Event (Pro-Tibet Class).
Iain Thom and Lucy Fairbrother performed their winning routine at the very epicentre of the games, the enormously pompous 'Bird's Nest Cage', and therefore gained marks for difficulty as well as beating the rest of the field by days.

The IOC have not decided yet whether this trial event will be retained for the London Games. And it remains to be seen whether being arrested for fomenting unrest in China is umpired in the same way as fomenting unrest in Britain. There are hopeful signs however in the recent record of the British government and the score it awarded to Maya Ann Evans for her Whitehall appearance in 2005 under Section 132 of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.
Naturally, the defamation has started. The messageboards are full of the usual miseryguts smearing Thom & Fairbrother as self-interested egoists in classic Pravda style. These people can never actually name any of the rewards of being put in a Beijing jail for broadcasting unwanted messages from the heart of a totalitarian regime, but they do know their gimcrack philosophy, like: 'Look after Number One', and 'Stuff you Jack, I'm Allright'. They have been taught that the weak should go to the wall, and are determined to stand by their dogma. If they only knew that 'Swampy' is now living in a mansion in Beverly Hills.

There are others who merely sneer at the mismatch. The defeatists who would have said the same to Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott. The type who don't even try.

Beijing Olympics 2008

Hitler's Chauffeur Goes Free!

Neither Emil Maurice nor SS-Sturmbannfuhrer Erich Kempka , Hitler's drivers, were ever prosecuted at Nuremburg. Why should poor schmuk Salim Ahmed Hamdan face the same vengeance as Goering, Milosevic or Saddam?
The U.S. case is that Terrorism is different to War. 'Tis expressly against the law of arms' - and so the gloves are off. As George W Bush texted:

"If you feed a terrst, or fund a terrst, UR a terrst!".

Fine. In that case those who sabotage civilian aircraft are terrsts, as are those who fund them. Why isn't self-confessed terrorist Luis Posada Carriles subject to the same military process instead of being granted bail by the US legal system? Why wasn't Bin Laden's chauffeur treated the same as a man wanted in several countries for the first act of midair terrorism in the western hemisphere and a string of other attacks on non-military targets?
 And why aren't those who funded him and his bloody campaign being prosecuted? Such as George Bush.


Carriles admissions to NYT.


'Shoot Forty Dustmen' - says Arthur Lowe

Captain Mainwaring's pomposity is funny, but we don't want to be like him. Our sense of humour is there partly to protect us from things we don't like by making them seem ridiculous. Arthur Lowe's performance does this job perfectly. His skill as an actor combined with equally skilled (or fortunate) casting created one of the classic comic characters of English literature.
The writers of Dad's Army' repeatedly claim that 'Mainwaring became Arthur and Arthur became Mainwaring' - in the manner of many famous personalised roles. Yul Brynner was famous among the technicians who worked his stage show at The Palladium for 'being' the part. Arthur Lowe seems to have been closer to his masterpiece than most. Accounts of him by wartime and theatre colleagues seem to confirm this.
When this kind of extreme sympathy exists between a fiction and its creator, the character of one is likely to reflect on the other. Fans who shout 'I Don't Believe IT!' at Richard Wilson in the street are displaying the way in which the fiction is identified with the creator. So what happens when facts about the creator become known to the consumers of the fiction?
Warren Mitchell was known for political beliefs which were the opposite of his creation, Alf Garnett, and that only served to give Johnny Speight's monster more depth, if anything. For generations, gay actors hid their sexuality in order to keep acting. Rock Hudson knew that audiences of the time would not have been able to tolerate his depiction of macho roles knowing that he was gay.
Having been given a copy of The Complete Dad's Army Scripts by a perceptive friend, I was a little disturbed to read this reminiscence by Bill Harman, Assistant Floor Manager for the early series.

'Arthur's politics seemed to a young, idealistic naive liberal thinker like myself to be somewhat to the right of Genghis Khan. He was a big fan of Enoch Powell, and claimed to be a prominent contributor to the fund set up to promote Powell to the PM's job. A Labour government was in power, and one day at rehearsals, while a national garbage strike was causing major sanitation problems countrywide, Arthur unfolded his Daily Express, tapped his finger on the headline and said "Look at this" and he read out loud - "Edward Heath says it will be a hard road to victory." He put down the paper and said: "I don't want to read that sort of pathetic nonsense, I want to open my morning paper and see 'Forty dustmen shot this morning." Then we'll get things moving!" Noting my surprise at this outburst he said to me, "Do you know what the eighth deadly sin is?" "No." I replied. "Tolerance" said Arthur. I could see a twinkle in his eye as he said it, obviously tickled at the reaction his statements provoked.

'Bill Harman Remembers'. Series Three, Episode Ten. Dad's Army Complete Scripts. Jimmy Perry & David Croft.
Now, we cannot be absolutely sure what kind of 'twinkle', and have to accept that the Assistant Floor Manager ranks only slightly higher than the studio cat in the production hierarchy, but Bill Harman's memory seems clear enough to be taken more or less at face value - and Lowe was not known for his drunkenness on set. Harman also seems to be basing his account on more than one event. So what effect does this knowledge have on our sense of humour? How does it invoke the Rock Hudson Effect? How do artistic appreciation and political hostility co-exist?
After thoroughly enjoying Saturday's BBC special, I can testify that they can co-exist. But how is it possible to put aside extreme political hostility and laugh? The character of Mainwaring isn't tainted in any way by this knowledge of Arthur Lowe's politics, but then, the real-life Mainwarings of the 40's and 50's would have been the sort of people backing Powell in the 60's. In their golf clubs and Rotary dinners, anyway.
As reactionary clowns go, the role of Mainwaring and its actor are very close, but unlike the Mitchell/Garnett chemistry, the sins of the actor tend to reinforce the absurdity of the role, increasing the deflation when the pomposity is pricked, and making us laugh more. In that case, the only people who should be worried by this revelation are, firstly, the latter day Powellites. Captain Mainwairing is making us laugh at Powell as well as himself and Hitler - the ultimate comic target. And secondly, those who feel that Arthur Lowe does not deserve to be made a Licensed Fool in this way, that his personality should not become part of the joke. That he deserves a better fate than Jeremy Clarkson.


08/08/08. Plus an Eclipse on a Leap Year. Propitious Omens for Olympics?

"An admirable evasion of whoremaster man, to lay his goatish disposition to the charge of a star."
(Lear Act I scene II)
China has unblocked internet access to human rights sites such as Amnesty; and also the BBC and other western news agencies. Which raises the question; If now, why not a long time ago? Why now?
But that only raises the further question: 'What are the Beijing Olympics for?'. And when they are over and have done their job, will this new liberalism end? With that surely in mind, how many Chinese will be prepared to be one of the thousand flowers prepared to bloom? Given that they know that the purpose of Mao's famous dictum was not a poetic version of Glasnost, but a simple trap for unwary and over-exhibitionist dissenters.
On the day of its total solar eclipse, China unblocks the BBC, Amnesty and other western news agencies. Which raises the question, if now, why not before? The theory is that this is due to something called 'Olympic pressure'. On the day of its total solar eclipse, China un-eclipses the internet, which is another alignment for the mystics to chew on. Will this event be as passing as the cosmic one? Will the 'light' of information be as brief as the darkness of the eclipse? The policy wonks in the Beijing Ministry of Truth will be laughing at the cruelty of this joke at the expense of hope and freedom.
The current Chinese dynasty are wearing all their astrological belts and braces. The time, date, the year, and they would have known about the eclipse. So how does this primitive superstition marry with the doctrine of dialectical materialism which, as professed communists, they are bound to with hoops of steel . The truth is that the P.R.C. is merely a modern incarnation of the feudal oligarchies which have ruled it for thousands of years, with all the primitive baggage of that system, and just as far from socialism as any of the other super-powers.