"China's will to win" is probably not rivaled anyplace else in the world. I suppose this could be said about China's will to win generally. But right now everybody is focusing on its determination to triumph in athletics. As with many of China's goals historically, they are pursued fanatically. The cultural revolution which destroyed the lives of millions was one such aim, an obsession of Madame Mao's and the will of her champion Yangtse River swimmer. If you don't recall the heroic image, look it up in a book of Andy Warhol's prints.

"China's will to win" is the title of a hair-raising article by Mure Dickie in the weekend Financial Times: "China's success depends on levels of discipline unthinkable for western athletes. Many go years without seeing their hometown or parents." And this is barely the beginning of the horrors.

I don't especially like historical analogies. But the choice of Beijing as the site of the 2008 Olympics was as cruel and crude as the choice of Berlin in 1936.  Except perhaps the ordinary people of China probably will suffer for me than ordinary people of Germany did during their great fete.  But why, after all, should I hesitate to compare Naziism with Chinese communism?  Didn't the Mao regime murder many more innocents than the Hitler state?

Then there is the whorish cynicism of Western capitalism and of American corporations, in particular.  A front page article by David Barboza in yesterday's Times details details the advertising support by big business for China's will to win at any cost.