The New China Syndrome

Posted: Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 12:00 am
By: Doug Lund
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Years ago our Aberdeen bureau reporter for Keloland was reprimanded for what might be considered to be multi-tasking to the extreme. A viewer spotted him in the news vehicle on his way to cover a story.Not only was our guy speeding but he was also smoking a cigarette, drinking a cup of coffee and had the newspaper spread out in front of him across the steering wheel. He did get called on the carpet for it but was darn lucky not to get killed.
Well, this morning I spotted a guy doing something just about as stupid; he was riding his motor scooter along busy 41st street and blabbing away on a cell phone.  I couldn’t believe my eyes.  If he makes it to the end of the day unscathed I’ll be surprised.
I try to avoid 41st street whenever possible because the crazies and the traffic cause my already high blood pressure to soar past boiling.I had no choice this morning, though.  I had to pay a visit to Karl’s TV to buy yet another replacement lamp for my Toshiba hi-definition DLP television set.  This is the third time it’s burned out in the four years since I bought the blasted thing. Nobody mentioned in the sales pitch that these high voltage lights were only good for about a year and that replacements cost over 200 dollars a pop. That little fact coupled with the frustrations in dealing with the craziness of 41st St. drivers made for a rather sour morning.I couldn’t go without my TV this weekend, though.  It’s the last major golf tournament of the season, the Twins are in hi-def and so is the NASCAR race from Watkins Glen.
One thing I probably will “not” be watching is coverage of the Olympic Games from Red China.NBC is trying to hype-up interest by manufacturing some story lines to follow but I just can’t get all that excited about the Olympics even though they are in Communist China for the first time in history.Boy, just the mention of that country brings up memories of fear and uncertainty.When I was a kid in the 50’s and 60’s, China was the frightning dark mysterious country that contained one fifth of the world’s population, had the “A” bomb and chosen to shut itself off from the rest of the world presumably to make plans for conquering it someday.During the Korean War, I remember seeing comic books depicting evil Chinese commie soldiers in their pajamas and flop-eared hats with the red star on the front, sweeping down the mountains in huge numbers aimed at slitting the throats of American GI’s. 
China remained a deep dark secret for the next twenty years until, ironically, relations began to thaw because of a “game.”   Table tennis is the national sport of China and in 1971, the ping pong team from the United States was invited there for a tournament. Reporters were also allowed in and what became known as “Ping Pong Diplomacy” led to President Nixon’s historic trip to China a year later and bingo..today we’re the best of pals.Heck, if it wasn’t for the once evil and foreboding Chinese, Wal-mart and the other big box stores in America wouldn’t have anything to sell. China in the 21st century is communist in name only. Thanks to the insatiable American market, it now makes and provides us with everything from cheap furniture to under pants; tennis shoes to swimming trunks.  Chinese have become so industrialized that it’s billions of people can now afford to drive cars instead of having to peddle around on bikes. They’re using up all the oil which is driving up the price of gas around the world. They’re putrefying the atmosphere with clouds of yellowish smog hanging over Beijing. 
It’s been nearly 20 years since that guy stood in front of a People’s Republic of China military tank willing to be run over rather than continue living under communist rule.
If the object of that unsuccessful revolt was to have China become more like America, there’s every indication that it has been “mission accomplished.” And it happened without  a shot being fired or some dreamy idealist having his bones crushed into the pavement of Tianaman Square.
Oh, by the way…guess where that lamp I had to buy for my TV was made.

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