of smog, environmental and political

As the Universiade closed, Shenzhen’s clear skies and bright sun caused a friend to jokingly speculate that, “Even Heaven is cooperating with the Municipal Government [to put on a great universiade]”. Nevertheless, a mere 24 hours after the Universiade closing ceremony, the smog was back. And yes, it rained yesterday, so there were cloudy grey skies, but. The smog is back.

Alas, the smog is not only environmental. I remain unclear as to why Longgang’s “Crystal (水晶石)” stadium not only lost the opening ceremony to Nanshan’s “Silkworm Cocoon (春茧),” but also lost the closing ceremony to the Window of the World theme park. Now, I can understand moving the opening ceremony to the Cocoon because the stadium has been explicitly heralded as the perfect match to Beijing’s Nest, allowing Shenzhen leaders to deploy universiade internationalism to assert the Municipality’s position within domestic politics。 However, why move the closing ceremony from a state of the art, technically cutting age sports stadium to an aging theme park? This decision baffles me.

According to closing ceremony directory, Luo Wei, the venue for the closing ceremony was moved six times and the program was changed 45 times. He expressed dismay at the process until Guangdong Provincial Party Committee Secretary, Wang Yang (汪洋) reminded him that the Window of the World theme park boasts beautiful reproductions of famous global tourist spots and that the closing ceremony would be a huge party for all Shenzhen’s international friends to go wild.

And there’s the rub. Shenzhen’s boosterism not withstanding, both the Central Government and Guangdong Province have participated in staging the Universiade and in that shuffle, Longgang District, which remains the poorest and least developed of Shenzhen’s Districts, lost the opportunity to take center stage in an international event. Nevertheless, they’re footing the bill for constructing the Olympic Village. Such are the inequalities of “face projects (面子工程)”. Sigh.

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