Olympic Games: Depicting Athletes as Abusers in the Issue of Human Rights in China

An advertisement is a form of communication meant to persuade target audience through conveying certain message. It provokes audience to think and act in a particular manner as expected by the advertiser. In most cases, advertisements are aimed at publicizing particular products or services. Advertisement images tend to optimize the quality and underscore the merits of the object to reach the values of readers. For example, an advertisement with the image of a model demonstrating her admirable body, is shaped to advocate that use of diet pills that can spur more and more girls to buy them. Additionally, advertisers can take the advantage of advertisement with exaggerating murky images and words to incite the audience to oppose something.

This advertisement pictures two men portrayed in a boxing ring. One of the men is dressed in boxing gloves, mask and vest. He is used symbolically to represent China government. He appears to be a professionally trained boxer fighting against an inexperienced opponent. This other man (boxer’s opponent) is used symbolically to represent the detained political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. This symbolic contrast indicates the power and authority of China government against the detained political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. The detainees lack capability and means to defend themselves against the government. The boxer’s opponent (representing political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers) is dressed in prison uniform and has bruised face. This is a clear indication that the person being hit by the boxer is a prisoner. He is leaning on the boxing ring ropes, a sign of surrender, but the boxer is still hitting him with blows. His facial expression indicates agony and helplessness. There is no referee present during the match as expected in a boxing match indicating the oppression and the brutality the prisoner is exposed to. This also indicates illegality of what is happening to the prisoner. Additionally, the boxing ring appears to be in a small room and there are no fans as expected in boxing match. This is to show the secrecy of what is happening and its illegality.

Comparing body size of both people, the boxer is smaller compared to the prisoner perhaps to show how the majority in the country are being oppressed by the few in the government. From a close scrutiny, the prisoner has African hair and Caucasian skin color perhaps to indicate that the prisoner is not a China native. The image of boxer is vague and his face is not precisely visible, but the viewer can perceive sense of callousness. The advertisement is labeled 2008 Beijing Olympics on bottom right corner with little candle below the label to draw audience’s attention to what is happening in China’s preparation for 2008 Olympic games. The intention of this advertisement is to highlight China’s poor human rights record and to appeal the audience to protest against China hosting of 2008 Olympics. The title “China is getting ready” is ironical. It is meant to create impression that China violates human rights and does not qualify to host 2008 Olympics. This idea is supported by brutality of the boxer (China government) against the prisoner who represents political activists, journalists, lawyers and human rights workers. The brutality and impunity portrayed in the advertisement are meant to draw the audience’s attention for them to disagree with decision of China hosting 2008 Olympics.

Despite the fact that this advertisement is immoral to some extent, it represents reality. In China peoples’ freedom of speech is not exercised exclusively and some radical human rights workers would be construed as mutineers, thus ending up being in detained. The advertisement excessive exaggeration of violence may distort the audience view on China. People who obey human rights may be very annoyed by the implications of this advertisement. Some of people who are radical may end up publicizing that China violates human rights. In instances of neutral audience they can probably change their perceptions of China and feel pity for China people. They may consider that people in China have a stressful and depressive life due to the autocratic government and generalize the idea that China people are quite brutal and rude. China people are capable of having relatively comfortable and harmonious living conditions without violence despite them enjoying curtailed freedom of speech. China people have relentlessly fought for human rights freedom which has led to the government to obey human rights as evidenced by its success in securing the bid to host 2008 Olympics against most developed countries in the world.

To conclude, Olympic spirit emphasize on equality, justice and peace. Any country which shows efforts in meeting the hosting criteria can be granted the chance to host Olympics. Moreover, the athletes are merely the normal people who want to show their talent and achievements through hard competition in the global stage. Depicting athletes as abusers is unreasonable and can lead to misinterpretation. Finally, it is not wise to use this form of advertisement image to catch people’s attention to human rights in China.

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