Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Beijing games.


Amanda Beard photo © Reuters/Scanpix
Free Tibet photo
© AFP/Scanpix

The Beijing games are going to drag China to the democratic world. The ruling communist party will undoubtedly be kicking and screaming but it's going to happen. Already there have been two publicity stunts there. First, Amanda Beard showcased her anti-fur photo in Playboy (to the great enthusiasm of the journalists present). Then two Brits and two Americans were arrested for putting up a 'Free Tibet' banner near the 'Bird's Nest' stadium. Obviously, the foreigners can get away with such things. The last time the Chinese citizens tried something like that, it turned into a riot with troops brought in (the protests in Tibet a few months ago).

Let's just hope that the reaction of the communist party will not be isolationism but loosening their grip on freedom of speech.

8 comments:

Ani said...

Well, I just read this before reading your entry, apparently China doesn't think peace initiatives and Olympics go together:

http://tinyurl.com/6ahcdc
China revokes ex-speedskater Joey Cheek’s visa
By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

Former Olympic speedskater Joey Cheek had his visa revoked by Chinese authorities Wednesday, hours before he was set to travel to Beijing to promote his effort urging China to help make peace in the war-torn Darfur section of Sudan.

Cheek, the president and co-founder of a collection of Olympic athletes known as Team Darfur, was planning to spend about two weeks in China, when he received an unexpected call from authorities.

The 2006 American gold medalist said they told him they were denying him entrance into the country and were “not required to give a reason.”

“I didn’t see it coming,” Cheek said. “I figured once they gave me a visa, I wouldn’t imagine they wouldn’t allow me to come in later. That was a big shock. I wasn’t expecting to get a call the evening before I was leaving for Beijing.”
...

One of Cheek’s key initiatives was urging the international community to persuade Sudan to observe the ancient tradition of the Olympic truce during the Beijing Games.
...

The Olympic truce dates to the ancient games in Greece, when fighting was halted to ensure athletes had safe passage to travel to and from the competitions. Attempts to revive the truce in modern times have met with only modest success, most notably in the Balkans during the 1992 and 1994 Games....

Ani said...

Also, on the subject, a friend of mine has a daughter who is studying in China for a month. Basically all the schools have been shut down and they have to go to a private building for classes. Meanwhile, for a while they didn't allow anyone under age 18 to use the Internet--and gave the reason that it interfered with their studying!

nazarian said...

The Chinese are facing a number of issues. Tibet is the most famous in the West. But domestically it's not a big problem. They have far more serious secessionist issues in the Uighur areas. Then there is the poverty in the rural areas. The contrast with the relatively prosperous coast is hard to dismiss. Then there is the issue of the environment. The smog in Beijing and the other big cities is not that bad for short term (I've never seen the sky while in Beijing), the rampant pollution of the drinking water and the rivers is causing health issues especially cancer.

So there are quite a few unhappy people. When they number 1.2 billion then any spark can cause big problems. The line the communists sell is 'harmonious society'. They basically want people to stop thinking controversial things and just make money.

People who don't do that get punished.

nazarian said...

Yes, they block a lot of sites. For example, you cannot access the BBC from there or you will never be able to find the Man and a Tank photo of Tiananmen Square.

Ani said...

Nazarian, please try to withhold your cheering for Serzh Sargsyan in China...

http://tinyurl.com/5dhats

“Armenia is in awe of reforms implemented by the leaders of the People’s Republic of China and aimed at development, modernization and the establishment of a harmonious socialist society,” Sarkisian told Xinhua.

nazarian said...

It's probably a misguided effort to build guanxi with the Chinese officials.

I just hope he doesn't try to emulate the successes of the Chinese government in regards to the human rights and democratic development in China.

Ani said...

Sounds like guanxi, smells like guano...

Haik said...

Bringing environmental catastrophe in Armenia is one of the steps to "Forward Armenia".
As somebody said it will be the Teletubby world but without the greenery.