Tag Archives: Olympic Games

Dissidents Protest In Beijing–Let The Games Begin!

Four foreign activists challenged the Chinese government by unfurling pro-Tibet banners and spoke out against the abuse of human rights in China. No arrests were made for the unusual display of dissent in the rigid regime of China although the four people were quietly led away by members of the security force. Sun Wede, spokesman for the Beijing Olympics committee, expressed “strong opposition” and hoped “foreigners will respect the related Chinese laws and regulations.” The International Olympic Committee said the Chinese government should expect people to “use the platform of the Olympic Games to draw attention to their causes” and urged Chinese authorities to use “tact and understanding.

Last Wednesday, three Americans spent almost an hour in Tiananmen Square speaking out against Chinese policy on many issues and then set up a banner in the square that said, “Christ is King.” Beijing has announced there were designated areas in which to hold protests but so far no one is using those places to express their views. The bottom line is a few people have expressed their views, the Olympic Games will proceed, and the government of China will continue existing.

Muslim Terrorists Continue Campaign Of Terror In China

The western areas of China mark the point at which Muslim invaders were able to establish their presence and over the course of time to create a Muslim center in China. During the past few years, Muslim terrorists belonging to the East Turkistan Islamic Movement(ETIM) have been conducting attacks on local Chinese forces. Two days ago, in Kashgar, sixteen policemen were killed when two terrorists drove a truck into an electricity pole and then began throwing bombs. Kashgar is China’s westernmost city and the attack resulted in the death of 16 policemen and the wounding of over a dozen.

There is little doubt the ETIM is behind the attack and it most probably is an attempt to gain some publicity as the Olympic Games prepare to begin. The terrorist group does not have the power or resources to pose any serious threat to the Games or to the Chinese nation. The main point to be gained from such attacks is the need for the Chinese government to become more sensitive to the needs and aspirations of local people.

China Lifts Restrictions On Internet Access

The assumption held by members of the media is there would be no restrictions on the part of the Chinese government for their reporting Olympic events. However, an uproar arose several days ago when members of the media discovered several web sites were being blocked by authorities. After an outpouring of criticism by foreign journalists, Chines authorities have agreed to lift restrictions on Internet access for the media during the Games. Many people had hoped the Olympic Games would provide, not just foreign members of the media, but the average Chinese citizen free access to all components and sites of the Internet. However, for ordinary Chinese the Internet remains blocked unless the government says an individual can access a web site. Western corporations like Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft have cooperated with the Chinese government in denying access to sites such as those reporting on Tibet or human rights abuses.

Chinese President Hu Jintao urged western reporters to “abide by Chinese laws” which is another way of saying toe the government line on what should be seen and what should be reported. Early in July, Johannes Hano, A German TV commentator, was interviewing an American expert on China’s Great Wall when police intervened. Hano was told by officials: “Thee is no such thing as American experts on walls, because there is no Great Wall in America.” There definitely is no Chinese government expert on freedom of the press.

Are Olympic Terrorist Threats Much Ado About Nothing?

The Chinese government and media insist there is a potential threat at the Olympic Games from such terror groups as Tibetans, the Fulan Gong cult, pro-democracy activists and Islamic militants. The list includes a wide variety of groups who obviously have no connection with one another and one might raise the question: Are either of these groups actually planning some type of terrorist activity at the Olympic Games? For example, Tibetan activists have gained world-wide sympathy for being attacked by Chinese forces, why would they turn around and kill innocent athletes? They would be transformed from heroes into villains. At best, any “terrorist activity” on the part of pro-democracy advocates would consist of holding up placards or talking to the western press. Perhaps, the key issue is how China defines what constitutes “terrorism.”

The People’s Liberation Army has assemble 34,000 soldiers, 74 planes, 47 helicopters and 33 naval ships to deal with the suspected Olympic Games terrorism. There are probably another 70,000 police and other forces stationed in Beijing to deal with any terrorist activity. One is left with the impression that China is attempting to create a fear about non-existence forces who are engaging in non-existence terrorism.

Sarkozy Will Attend Olympic Games

The Olympic Games began over a hundred years ago as part of an effort to foster peace and friendship among nations. Its originators (French people among them) hoped bringing together athletes from nations throughout the world would be a way to create peace in the world. Since then, during the Olympics the even has been used to glorify Nazi Germany, to challenge Russian policy in Afghanistan in 1980, and to have Israel athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists. President Sarkozy in March expressed the view he might not attend opening ceremonies in protest over China’s policies in Tibet. Yesterday, the French president made clear he would be present both to represent France and the European Union.

His change in attitude is most probably due to fear of antagonizing the powerful Chinese nation which has become an economic factor for all nations in the world. Sarkozy kept open his option to meet with the Dalai Lama in August which naturally led to Chinese threats of retaliation. Somehow, lost in all the threats and counter threats are the athletes who are there to display their talents. Let the Beijing begin.

Adidas Runs For Cover On Tibet Issue

In an interview published in Der Spiegel today, CEO Herbert Hainer launched into an attack on protestors who have endeavored to disrupt the Beijing Olympics. “It’s OK if people use an event like this to proclaim their political views, but it is my opinion that they do not have the right to disrupt the torch relay or to try to extinguish the flame.” His company is one of the prominent sponsors of the Olympic games. He said neither he nor his compnay had any guilty conscience and insisted China had a right to use security personnel to protect the flame. “If we had nothing to hide, then we wouldn’t be sponsoring anything. The Olympic games have been part of our brand for years. It is our goal to have over $2 billion in sales in China per year by 2010.”

Hainer’s essential argument is that in sports there will always be nations with whom one might disagree regarding their adherence to democratic values, but that lies in the nature of international sporting competition. He rejected calls by those who want his company to exert pressure on the Chinese government to enter into dialogue with the Dalai Lama. He regards selling sporting materials as a non-political activity and to once enter the slippery road of taking one stand will invariably result in being compelled to take many stands.

Mr. Hainer raises important issues as to is there ever a point at which a business organization should allow political or ethical issues to intrude upon its commercial activities. There is no question such considerations will not be seen in the forseeable future by Adidas executives.

Next Olympic Nightmare-Russia In 2014?

The Olympic Games were resurrected at the end of the 19th century in an effort to foster world cooperation and peace. Since that moment of hope, there have been repeated examples of politics impacting the sporting events and the current situation in which angry protestors batter those carrying the Olympic torch. The Olympic committee awarded the 2014 winter games to Russia which intends to have events unfold in Sochi. The original estimate was for a $12 billion expenditure, but now, according to Russian dissident, Gary Kasporov, the cost will be closer to $20 billion. The Russian government insists it has the right to confiscate any land in the area in order to construct Olympic facilities.

Kasparov claims Russian leaders use their power to accumulate vast amounts of money at the expense of Russian citizens and the Sochi effort will entail massive transfer of money from the average citizen to the oligarchs of wealth. Kasparov notes: “Three weeks ago, I and other Rusian opposition members held a press conference with residents of Sochi. We read aloud from a new law pertaining to the Olympic site. It gives the State the abillity to confiscate as much land as it wants in the area, with no possible appeal. With one decisioin, the people will lose ttheir homes and businesses and will have no avenue of protest.”

One can envision protestors following the Olympic torch or disrupting Olympic ceremonies when 2014 rolls around in Russia.

Is Chna Serious About Dalai Lama Talks?

A few days ago, the Chinese government expressed a desire to engage in serious discussions with representatives of the Dalai Lama regarding recent events in Tibet as well as its future. But, the state-controlled press continues to heap scorn on the Buddhist leader’s clique as the cause of violence in Tibet last month. “The Dalai clique has always been masters at games with words and the ideas that they have tossed about truly make the head spin,” blasted the People’s Daily. The leading government newspaper warned, “questions of sovereignty are beyond debate and splitting China is sure to fail.” It heaped praise on ethnic Chnese demonstrators who have defended Tibet policies and attacked the world’s media for insulting their nation. “Those who follow national unity are national heroes and those who split the nation are criminals to history.”

The Dalai Lama has made clear his intent is to establish a relationship with China in which local Tibet customs and traditions are respected. He has avoided seeking independence from China knowing full well going in that direction leads nowhere but to failure. The issue is whether or not the Chinese government is willing to engage in meaningful dialogue or is it simply holding talks in order to deflect pressure on the Olympic Games and its opening ceremonies?

We Got A Mess Admits Olympic Head

Behind the closed doors of the Olympic Committee men and women must be sighing in despair how they ever got themselves into the present situation by selecting China for the site of the 2008 games. International Olympic Chairman Jacques Rogge admitted the turmoil surrounding the torch relay is posing a “crisis” for the Olympics. He urged China to respect its “moral engagment” to improve human rights and to fulfill promises of greater media freedom. The recent incidents in San Francisco he said, “was, however, not the joyous party we had wished it to be.” He even hinted the rest of the international route for the torch may be cut short or even cancelled.

Rogge was asked by reporters if he had any second thoughts regarding awarding the Olympic Games to China. “it is very easy with hindsight to criticise the decision” but Beijing had “clearly the best bid” and placing the games in the world’s most populous nation appeared to be an important step toward working for world peace. Rogge was concerned that promises of freedom for the media had not been completely complied with by the Chinese government.

Most probably, the decision to award China the Olympic games was correct. However, athletes must now by their freedom of speech make clear to the Chinese government their commitment to freedom for all people, including those in China.

China Allows Foreign Media Into Tibet

The Chinese government announced that hundreds of Tibetans who engaged in anti-government protests have surrendered to authorities. State run media reports about 800 people have turned themselves in to the police. Police have a list of about 53 people they seek as instigators of protests and have arrested about 22. At the same time, it is allowing foreign journalists to return to Lhasa, supposedly in hope they will report that peace and calm have returned to the angry nation.

The Chinese government claims that only 22 people died in the riots but Tibetan sources place the figure closer to 140. The uprising was undoubtedly the most violent since China gained control of Tibet. It will be interesting to discover the extent of freedom allowed journalists to speak freely with Tibetans about their feelings and to provide TV footage of damage. The behavior of China in the coming months may well have an impact on whether ther are some forms of protest at opening ceremonies at the Olympic Games.