Tag Archives: Olympic torch

Torch Of Patriotism Or Torch Of Oppression?

As the Olympic torch made its way through the streets of Hong Kong, angry crowds shouted at one another and waved their separate banners of greeting. Pro-tibetans waved in anger at the torch bearers while Chinese responded with cries of patriotism and denounced those who failed showing respect to the nation. A 21 year-old university student, Christina Chan, drapped herself in a Tibetan flag which aroused the anger of nationalist Chinese. Police had to intervene and take her away before an explosion of anger erupted from the pro-Chinese demonstrators.

The city government encouraged citizens to wear patriotic red and they clearly dominated those observing the flag procession. Lhadon Tethong, executive director of Students for a Free Tibet, had vowed dto do “everything in their power to protest the torch relay” and while they made their views known, the torch went on its way to the final destination in Beijing.

Movie star Mia Farrow landed in Hong Kong and assured authorities she would not create any disruption regarding the Olympic torch relay.

Olympic Game Fights Erupt In Seoul

The Olympic Torch relay hit the streets of Seoul only to create demonstrations from groups including ethnic Chinese who expressed their pride to North Korean defectors who regard China as a supporter of the oppressive North Korean regime. Han Chang-kwon, head of a union of North Korean defectors, stated bluntly, “I believe China isn’t qualified to hold the Olympics. They’re using the Olympics to send North Koreans back to their country, which is why I came to rally to publicize their in humane actions.”

At one point an angry North Korean attempted to set himself on fire, but was prevented by the police. More than 8,300 police officers were moblized to protect the 22 kilometer Olympic march. Even while Koreans protested against, thousands of Chinese expressed their admiration for China and wanted the world to know they have pride in the Chinese nation.

The Olympics was to be an opportunity for China to enter the world stage as a leading nation in the 21st century. Instead, its actions in Tibet, its crackdown on Chinese dissidents, and its policy of returning fleeing North Koreans back to the oppressive world of North Korea increasingly turn supporters of China into disappointed friends.

Who Were Those Men In Blue In London?

As the Olympic flame relay continued on its course, members of the flame holding relayers were being surrounded by men dressed in blue tracksuits. Many Londoners wondered exactly who were the men whose aggressive manner of shoving aside protestors indicated they possessed some form of official authority. Each time protestors ran to grab the torch, the men in blue intervened and created a cordon around the relayers. Offcially, they are termed, “flame attendants” who are employed by the Beijing Olympic Committee which orgnized the entire relay process. Their job is ensuring the flame never goes out, but, in case it does, they are responsible for relighting the torch and sending it on its merry way.

Although British police officials insist the men in blue lack authority in their country, the behavior of the flame guardians on the streets of London demonstrated they did possess some power to shove people out of the way and perform very aggressively in defense of the flame. Matt Whitticase, of Free Tibet UK, believes the British government has caved into Chinese demands they be allowed to protect the torch in their own manner.

Olympic Flame Extinguished In Paris

Paris, for most humans, is the city of eternal love and peace whose flame of liberty shines throughout the world. However, over the past few days the city of love was rather loveless when it came to progress of the Olympic torch through its streets. Lovers may have been holding hands, but protestors were holding signs condemning China for its brutal repression of the Tibetan people and its arrest of dissidents who dared to utter words of freedom. The Olympic relay in Paris matched what happened the day before in London where angry groups continually halted progress of the torch amidst confusion and anger. Once the torch reached France the situation became even more chaotic when groups twice forced the flame to be extinguished.

Chinese spokespeople insisted all was wonderul in the city of love, but the media presented a rather different version of reality than what is being shown in China. Millions of people throughout the world are furious at actions of the Chinese government to make what should be a moment of peace and tranquility into days of anger and frustration. At one point over the weekend, Rama Yade, speaking for President Sarkozy hinted he might boycott opening day ceremonies of the Olympics and then she back tracked and said no such plan was in effect.

It is time for China to behave as the great nation it has become and allow those who dissident to speak honestly without fear of punishment. It is time to sit down with the Dalai Lama and discuss a peaceful future for Tibet. In taking such actions, China will have a flame of peace which never will be extinguished.