FROM Daniel Bell
Olympics and Politics Seven years ago, the secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee said this summer's games would "not only promote our economy but also enhance all social conditions, including education, health and human rights." But, just four days before the Games will get underway, China's accused of breaking its promises to clean the air, relax controls on political dissidents and open up to the western media. One sports historian says nobody should have believed China's promises in the first place. But are the Olympics a sure path from despotism to democracy? We look at what Beijing does not want us to see, as well as what's on display, including architecture that rivals the Forbidden City and the Great Wall.
Political Aftershocks of the Earthquake in China Three days of mourning are over and the Olympic torch relay has resumed, but the earthquake aftermath will trouble China for years to come. More than 51,000 have died and 29,000 are missing. Five million are homeless and 300,000 are injured. Officials in Beijing say hundreds of dams have been damaged, and that landslides have created 30 new lakes behind fragile mud flows. The UN has praised China for unprecedented openness since the quake struck a week and a half ago, but a return to restrictions on news coverage seems to be under way. We update the damage and the risks to come. Can an authoritarian government survive the free flow of information?
After Syria strike a new Trump doctrine emerges The President who promised an end to entanglements in the Middle East and snuggled up to Vladimir Putin has now outraged Russia with surprise missile attacks on Syria. That's raised questions about who's running the White House? We hear a variety of answers.