Pop politics at its best

Manjit Bhatia

Aug 25,08

from Malayisakini

From my hotel room window, China’s new national Olympics stadium is shrouded in a thick, gray mist. Visibility is approaching near hopelessness. Mr Magoo would’ve had no chance. Only it isn’t mist.

 

It’s smog. Pollution. The air outside, from which I had just escaped for the sanctuary of my hotel room, is thicker. The humidity is staggering. In the last few days more and more Beijingers began to wear facemasks, but many more braved the ‘mist’.

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Playing for human rights at Beijing

Playing for human rights at Beijing

Malaysiakini article by Vaclav Havel, Desmond Tutu et al | Aug 8, 08

beijing olympic games bird nest stadium with military personnal looking at fireworks display 040808VÁCLAV HAVEL is a former president of the Czech Republic, DESMOND TUTU is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, WEI JINGSHENG is an activist in the Chinese democracy movement, most prominent for authoring the document ‘Fifth Modernisation’ on the ‘Democracy Wall’ in Beijing in 1978 , ANDRÉ GLUCKSMANN is a philosopher and essayist.

The selection of Beijing to organise and host the 2008 Olympic Games was accompanied by the Chinese government’s pledges of visible progress on respect for human rights.

beijing olympics stadiumWe understood these as a condition whose fulfillment the International Olympic Committee would demand.

That is how this year’s Olympics could contribute to a greater openness and respect for international standards of human rights and liberties in the host country.

 

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Twenty years on, Burma’s opposition lacks unity

WHILE the whole world is busy watching the Beijing Olympics, many Burmese are preparing for the 20th anniversary of the August 8, 1988 uprising, or “8888”. But the question now is how many Burmese can seriously review this journey of 20 years and the goals of the democracy movement? There is no sign of any big ceremony inside the country as all key members of the 88 Generation Student Group, including Min Ko Naing, are in jail.

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Tibet like Burma

Tibet like Burma: the same abuse of power, the same suppression of human, civil and religious rights. In Tibet as well as in Burma mass protests have been led by Buddhist monks melting the religious and political parts of the society asking for a different regime. Records of 1988 demonstrations in Tibet show violence everywhere, beating ups, blood, police beating monks savagely and dragging them from their monasteries.

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Chinese leader pledges (FOREIGN)media freedom (ONLY) during Olympics

BEIJING (AP) – A top Chinese official reiterated Beijing’s pledge Friday to give foreign journalists unfettered access during the Olympic games, despite skepticism by human rights advocates and continued harrassment of reporters in China.

Li Changchun, the fifth-ranked official in the country, is encouraging foreign journalists to report “extensively” on the games, the China Daily newspaper said.

“China will earnestly abide by relevant regulations regarding foreign journalists’ reporting activities in the country,” Li was quoted as saying, while touring the newly opened Beijing International Media Center Thursday.

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As Olympics Approach, Oppressive Grip Tightens

 

By Ally Wang, Mimi Li, and Shaoshao Chen

Jul 09,2008

NEW YORK—In less than 30 days, Beijing will kick off its opening ceremonies for the 2008 Olympics. While China prepares for its appearance on the world’s center stage, the Tibetans, Uighurs, Falun Gong practitioners, and political dissidents of China will undoubtedly suffer 30 days of persecution and oppression.

These groups who are denied rights by the Chinese regime cannot have their voices heard in China. But here in America, where freedom of speech is not muffled, protests and calls for human rights have strengthened recently as the start of Beijing ’08 draws closer.

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China detains 82 Muslims, wrongly accusing as terrorists

China detains 82 Muslims

wrongly accusing as terrorists

AFP

BEIJING (AFP) – Chinese police have this year detained 82 suspected terrorists in the nation’s Muslim-populated far northwest who were planning to attack the Beijing Olympics, state media reported on Thursday.

The 82 belonged to five groups that “allegedly plotted sabotage against the Beijing Olympics,” Xinhua news agency reported, citing the head of the police in Urumqi, the capital of remote Xinjiang region that borders central Asia.

It was the first time that Chinese officials had given a total number of suspects detained in a series of raids this year.

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Beijing shuts out and pressures unwanted voices ahead of Olympics

BEIJING (AP) – Lu Jun, a campaigner for the rights of millions of Chinese with hepatitis B, seems an unlikely threat to the Beijing Olympics.But the popular Web site he runs was blocked in May.This month, police detained him for four hours when he returned to China from a hepatitis conference in Los Angeles.

They wanted to know what he intended to do with a large red banner he was carrying that urged the government to provide support to people with hepatitis B.

“Everyone believes it’s because of the Olympics,” Lu said.

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Soldiers told the time is right to topple junta

June 21, 2008 03:54am

BURMA is awash with rumours of a national uprising on August 8.

The day represents 8808 and is a significant number in a country driven by numerology and astrology. Flyers being distributed inside Burma appeal to the foot soldiers of the military junta to turn on their overseers. The date is strategic because the Olympic Games opens in Beijing on that day. This links with efforts by American activists to make the Olympics a focal point of protests against oppression in Burma.

The US Campaign For Burma wants to rally one million citizens around the world to boycott television broadcasts of the Olympics unless China ends its support for Burma’s military regime. The 8808 appeal is a powerful message for dispossessed and poorly paid Burmese soldiers working in hostile environments.

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Torch the Beijing Olympics

Torch the Beijing Olympics

Extracts from Manjit Bhatia’s article in the Malaysiakini

MANJIT BHATIA, an academician and writer, is also research director of AsiaRisk, a political, economic and risk analysis consultancy in Australia. He specialises in international economics and politics, with a focus on the Asia-Pacific.

I just saw an advertisement for Visa on television featuring Jackie Chan.


Now that he’s been plugging the Beijing Olympics, starting in August, one wonders if Chan sanctions_

  • Beijing’s barbaric annexation and colonisation of Tibet,
  • including the brutality that Chinese security forces have been routinely meting out to pro-independence Tibetans.
  • Is Chan saying Chinese barbarism in Tibet is justified?
     
  • a loony form of Chinese patriotism,
  • one that exemplifies China’s loony provincialism mentality. 
The Hu regime, on April 18, instructed its official mouthpiece, Xinhua, to issue an edict. In its editorial, approved by the Communist Party’s politburo, Xinhua extolled the virtues of Chinese patriotism, suggesting that it should be “cherished hundred-fold” whilst harnessing “rationally” in the pursuit of “sound and fast development”.
 
This is Chinese hyperbole at its ridiculous sloganeering best. Beijing is nervous. It fears that the recent state-organised Chinese street protests against criticism by the West of the regime’s barbaric attacks on Tibetan human rights, could turn on the regime. After all, only small number of Chinese, including the political elite, controls the bulk of national wealth. If ordinary Chinese should turn against the regime’s economic and political excesses, bloody mayhem is not imponderable. Recall Tiananmen Square in June 1989, and its bloody crackdown.
 
To many Chinese, Tibetan lives are pointless and worthless, much in the way that the lives of guest workers in many countries are treated.

Nervous Beijing
 
Despite its growing global presence, China deliberately spawns_

Taking Tibet in the name of ‘recapturing’ an old Chinese sovereignty and settling it with Chinese citizens has parallels elsewhere. Beijing’s brutalising persecution and murder of Chinese Muslims and the Falun Gong (Buddhists) approximate Nazi Germany’s of the Jews. 
  
The organised protests in China are Beijing’s attempts to counter protests during the torch relay run in several countries. China is desperate to save face after it is latest Tibetan odyssey – or misadventure. 

Purists argue that sports must not become entangled with politics. That’s as dumb as saying that religion and politics are mutually exclusive. Or that Tibet is nobody’s business but China’s. It’s every country’s business the way one country brutalises a weaker one.

If China gets away with murder_

  • it’s because of the collective hypocrisy of the West and Asia.
  • All have pervasive economic interests in China. 
  • Add, too, Asia’s conspicuous silence.
  • Such gutlessness is stunning.
  • It’s staggering and disgusting the way the Asians have kow-towed to China. 
  • It says plenty about India’s spineless foreign policy vis-à-vis China.
  • Similar displays of hypocrisy were exhibited in Thailand, Malaysia and Australia.

 

 
It’s precisely because of such despicable and entrenched hypocrisy among nation-states, including the pusillanimous attitude of the International Olympic Committee –  
It’s precisely because of such despicable and entrenched hypocrisy among nation-states, including the pusillanimous attitude of the International Olympic Committee

 

  • all devoid of morality and sensibility –
  • that Beijing will host the Olympic Games. Clearly, it does not deserve the privilege.

    The Beijing Olympics should be torched.

But powerful and greedy global and Chinese commercial interests, including the Chinese regime, will lord over human decency.

 

 

 

Boycott China Olympics in support of Tibet

Boycott China Olympics

in support of Tibet

Copied part of CNN politics*com, Cafferty File, Jack’s blog
ALT TEXT
A burning car sits on a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa after violent protests broke out on March 14, 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

Dalai Lama 'to resign' if violence worsens

art.wen.ap.jpg

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said China’s response to the protests in Tibet has been restrained.

  

art.lhasashops.afp.gi.jpg

Pedestrians walk past shops damaged by fire in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa. 

art.policelhasa.jpg

A video image of Chinese police carrying out door-to-door searches in Lhasa. 

FROM CNN’s Jack Cafferty:

China has been hoping to boost its image in the eyes of the world as it gets ready to host the Summer Olympics in Beijing, but the Chinese government’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet is not helping.

What began a week ago as mostly peaceful protests by monks has spiraled into violent clashes, with Tibetans attacking the Chinese and burning their businesses. The Chinese government is now vowing to protect its territory and issued a midnight deadline that’s now passed for protesters to either surrender or face harsh consequences.

There are reports of Chinese authorities parading handcuffed Tibetan prisoners in the capital of Lhasa. Chinese police are going house-to-house checking id cards and residence permits. The Chinese government puts the death toll at 16, with dozens injured. But the Dalai Lama’s exiled government says 80 people have been killed.

Meanwhile, the protests that started in Tibet have spilled into three neighboring provinces and even to Beijing. And sympathy protests are also going on around the world.

China insists the violence won’t harm the upcoming Olympic games. The U.S. has called on China to show restraint.

However, it’s getting support from who else but Russia – another beacon of human rights. The Russian government says it hopes China will take “all necessary measures to stop illegal actions.” It adds that any efforts to boycott the Olympics are “unacceptable.”

Olympic officials also say they are opposed to a boycott because of the violence in Tibet.

Here’s my question to you: Should countries boycott the Olympic Games in light of China’s crackdown on protesters in Tibet?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

 

Jeff from Carmel, New York writes:
It’s a travesty. We stomp around the world fighting for freedom except when the offender is someone like China, whose money we desperately need. The world should rise up and boycott everything Chinese until the people of Tibet regain their freedom. These are the most peaceful people on earth; they should be role models for all of us. They deserve better.

Terry writes:
I remember in 6th grade participating in a school debate over boycotting the 1980 Olympics in Moscow. I supported that boycott, but today’s world is different, as is my opinion. Go to China, enjoy the games, and take your digital cameras. The citizens will be putting on a display for you. Send your pictures to CNN. Don’t get caught. Sunshine in China may be the best thing to happen to them. If you want to boycott something to really hurt China, stay out of Wal-Mart.

Brian from Redondo Beach, California writes:
Yes, boycott. China reminds one of Germany in the 30s. Will our people be safe there? And will the judging be fair even if we do attend? Hit them economically, which is what a boycott would accomplish.

James from Canada writes:
Given Guantanamo, rendition, Abu Ghraib, waterboarding, etc., the U.S. is hardly in any position to lead a human rights boycott of the Olympics.

Krake writes:
Boycotting will be a late and inadequate reaction. Allowing China to have the Olympics was the big mistake, especially since it was already known that the Chinese government is a human rights abuser and cruel regime. The violence in Tibet simply highlights what was already known.

Troy writes:
I would rather see our athletes wear “Free Tibet” T-shirts in Beijing during the opening ceremony. Oh Mao goodness.

Filed under: Beijing Olympics • China • Tibet

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