This weekend the Formula One circus is at the ShangHai Circuit, their first visit to China. The richest sport in the world is spending the weekend next to some of the poorest peasants in the world working in the rice fields. I’m not sure how I feel about this.
Should I be boycotting F1 racing because they are supporting the censorious and repressive regime of Chinese government? Should I be hopeful that this is one step closer to the downfall of the obviously corrupt communist system in China? Should I be cynical that Bernie has decided to take F1 to the country that has the most smokers in the world? Should I just enjoy the race and forget about the politics?
According to a report on the radio this morning, nearly 300 million people in China are considered ‘middle class’, although the more conservative figure is 100 million. I don’t really understand how you get to be middle class in a supposedly classless system, but it seems something isn’t working quite right over there.
It was also mentioned that Disney have partnered with China’s Communist Youth League to promote Disney characters and movies with a view to opening a Hong Kong Disneyland in 2006. They also have plans to build two more Disney parks on China’s mainland in the future.
By 2005 China will have overtaken Britain and France in terms of economic power. By 2015 they will overtake Germany and by 2020 they will overtake Japan to become the 2nd largest economic power in the world. How long can communism last in that kind of environment? Is China heading towards violent revolution or a quiet slide into democracy?
Yes, I will be watching the race, but the whole sport is becoming something of a guilty pleasure for me.