There is something eerie about the sameness of thousands of terracotta warriors and the drummers in both the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Olympics in China.The Olympics are over, China has accomplished most of the goals it's authoritarian government set out to do. For almost all of China's 5000 year history the goal has been to demand tribute from lesser states whom in their view was every other entity on earth. They were less inclined on conquest, except during the short time of Mongol rule. Even they stopped their forays as soon as the good grassland for their horses began to run out in Eastern Europe and the sands of Levant.
Now it begins to see what China will make of it's new found pride and sense of greatness. The articles below begin to question the afterglow, and ask if this will lead to a more open China, or a China that for 5000 years of history, placed most people at the bottom, to sustain first the emperors, and their nobility. Then today, the central authority, and some of the newly rich whom have become an economic nobility.
News Analysis: After Glow of Games, What Next for China? From the New York Times
For Beijing, a 'Perfect' Olympics - Thomas Boswell, Washington Post
Melting Pot Meets Great Wall - Thomas Friedman, NY Times