Olympic Protests and Chinese Response


The Olympics open soon, and offer a perfect platform for anti-government protests by ethnic minorities and dissident groups. Who's likely to protest and how should Beijing respond?

Posted by David Ignatius and Fareed Zakaria on July 28, 2008 12:35 PM

Readers’ Responses to Our Question (21)

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Shiveh :

When I saw this PG question, I thought for a week or so I’ll be seeing some China bashing from one side and some name calling in response form the Chinese. Certainly there are enough of both in these posts but to my surprise I saw some real talk from the Chinese side that shows a level of maturity I did not see on this site before. This is a sample from responses to Fareed Zakaria’s essay:
“…The fundamental issue here is whether we accept China as our equal. If we see the Chinese as one of us, it is likely that we hope things go well, and we will support them if things do go wrong.
But if we see the Chinese as “them” and as the “other”, we are subconsciously maintaining a sense of superiority. We will therefore tend to use a much more critical standard when assessing the efforts of the Chinese….”

Not too long ago China was an underdeveloped country ruled by the iron fist of a totalitarian regime. Such environment is not conducive to the development of a logical and balanced people that recognize and put the good of the society above their immediate personal needs. If a western style democracy is abruptly introduced in such a society it’ll bring about chaos and anarchy. With 1.3 billion people and access to nuclear weaponry, this should be the last thing anybody wants.

Just by looking at their achievements it is evident that the Chinese government is beneficial to Chinese society. With prosperity comes mass education and economic security which are the essentials for a self rule apparatus to work in a society. It looks like the majority of the Chinese people understand this and are willing to wait for that day. It is prudent for the west to work with and help the Chinese to safely pass through this transitional period. I believe to a large extend the western governments are doing just that, but with the western media it is another story!

mohammad allam :

In my opinion none of the minority group will protest to invite the wrath of chinese goverment and the international community.Xiang province will do something but not on large scale.These people will do just to draw the attention of the world community.Other hand if any thing happens in china during the Beijing olympic the hands of external force cannot be denied.
The question of tibetian demonstartion is concerned then it is fact that half of the Tibetian accepted that now their destinty is with the booming chinese economy.The Lama guru is not so politically active that there will be any call for demonstartion.Other hand china will not allow any party to waste chineses $40 billion worth of olympic investment to go in water.The chinese concern is to show ntional pride and future business potential to world investor and business houses.The use of such a large cultural progarmme with western orientation shows the more and more open society to attract the investor.
In my opinion the olympic will go peacfully without any major hurdle or any violence.

Anju Chandel :

China will try to bear all those protests and dissents only till Olympics are over. And then ...

How it should react? Well, China needs to expand its policies and adopt a more "inclusive" approach in its society and polity, which is, of course, not very likely in the current circumstances!

Anonymous :

Lately, we are seeing more and more Chinese people protesting on the streets. They seem to be coming out of the woodwork. this is one great positive I see: The Chinese people have had it and they want the world to know. Right on,chinese people, right on!

Tonight on Lehrer Evening News they showed a protester and the cameraman being allowed to film the protester walking away from the policeman.
They mentioned that this is the new rule for the Olympics (and after?). You should have seen the policeman looking at the camera. He was powerless for a change and did not like it. Long live the freedom fighters in China.

These next two weeks will empower the Chinese people!

MikeB :

"Protests" must be officially sanctioned by the CHinese government. You must apply, at least five days in advance, for a permit to protest. You will be notified, two days before your requested protest date and time and assigned a place and hours in a series of partks about two miles from the Olympics. There is no appeal for protest application that are turned down.

That's the offical rules and the Chinese state has indicated they will ruthlessly enforce those rules. As such, your working title for this forum amounts to a demeaning insult. China is a police state, a dictatorship, and your application of lipstick on this pig doesn't make any of us more likely to want to date her.

Salamon :

I agree that neither China, nor Sudan has any length/right to argue that they follow human right codes.

That Canada at times follows the neo-con warmongering [Bosnia, Afganistan, Somalia, Hamas, Hexbullah, etc] has more to do with the Zionist control of the National Post [Kurthammer, et al from the extreme right press of USA are regular columnists] than the wishes of the Canadian People.

In many instances neo-con pragmatism [vis-a-vis USA Canada Trade] overtakes the Canadian Government at the expense of International Law. We in Canada, are barely better in this respect than the USA under Bush.

While we have national health care, somewhat better standing than the USA in mortality/morbidity, we are similarly constantly increasing the income disparity [via generous tax treatment of the elite], follow the USA in global warming, endless subsidies to farm/industries, while it is becoming impossible for young couples to purchase a house [there is a bubble here\, too], especially for those who come from lower income strata familes and are burdened with exhorbitant education related debt,

The USa has approx 13 % in Advance Placement / International Baccalaurate, while Canada has less then 1%, and that is reserved to the high income big city families' offsprings.

The greatest argument against citing other countries for human right violations is that a long list of such transgressions can be rationally placed into any country -- the politicians' sole aim nowdays is bribing and being bribed by select segments of society, so they could cling to power with the help of spinmaster subservient MSM[of the appropriate BRANCH of internationally controlled super sized media]

Canada does not need a major airforce, major armamnets etc, for pecekeepiong purposes, but the present Government feels that by buying USA made expensive armaments, they can gain political points in Washington, while the number of Canadian citizens / residents are sinking lower and lower in the socio/economic areas.

Neither Canada, nor the USA, nor EU gives a hoot for the poor of Africa, or other areas, if the effort to help these poor would be to give up subsidies to their mega farms/food industies.

The Problem of Sudqan has as much to do with changiung rain patterns/ growing population as with attempts by various countires to have control of Sudan's Oil resources.

Without Doubt China is still very much deficient in Human Rights [as defined by the West], though it is improving. Democracy in a country of 1.3 billion is a oximoron at the national level, for reasoanble representation in a the putative Parliament would have to be enourmous. But we must recall that China has a fairy constant centrelized government for over 3000 years, with occasional [every 300 years or so] major upheavals, then reverting to centralized modus operandi.

We must admit, that neither the USA nor the Canadian "democracy" works for the people, by the people, but works for the elite ALMOST exclusively. You had Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac "nationalized [tax-payers and future generations taking the flaqk] we in Canada had the same [32 billion to save the BAQNKS - and their overpaoid executives].

Canad suffers form the Anglo-Saxon hangover -- We are the best from th4e last century, whiler the USqa adopted this ridiculous idea since WWII, and to a large extent if was VVLID for the USA till mid 80-s [excluding the Vietnam mess], but since then the USA has made herself poorer, by kneeling at the foot of the Military Industrial/OIL cohort, at the excpense of rqational government.

Unfortunately the PRICE FOR FOOLISHNESS of the last 20 odd years will be great, and unfortunately will be paid by those who can least afford - the children of the new and next generation.

Shmae on USA/Canada/
UK/ et al politicians for abusing with mqaliciopus intent all the future generations to glorify thmeselves as GOOD POLITICIANS. THIS IS
THE GEATEST HUMAN RIGHT TRANSGREWSSION of ALL TIMEs [Suppassing Iraq, Vietnam, Sudna etc].

I wish the best for the USA citizens/residents in the next 2-3 years, but wishes do not make reality.

Tom Wonacott :

Salamon

You are so right, Salamon - a US citizen has no moral authority to criticize the human rights record of any other country because of all the damage our country has inflicted in Iraq and Afghanistan (and the other invasions), so thanks for reminding me that I am a hypocrite even if I call al-Beshir a murderer. You’ll note, however, I was very careful to reference “the West” in my post to PAW because I know that Canada, for example, represents the perfect western society and, thus, is able to drop the HR bomb on third world countries without the sense of guilt that a US citizen should feel (yes, Canada has participated in a few NATO operations such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and was the first country to boycott Hamas after their elections, but I attribute that to a few overzealous right wingers in the Canadian government who are hardly representative of the Canadian people).

As a moral citizen of a moral country, you can legitimately criticize China, and in fact, the Chinese respect the opinion of a peaceful citizen from a peaceful nation such as Canada. May I lay out some evidence to you regarding human rights violations in China, in confidence of course, so that you might help the Chinese become a better society. One thing you might whisper (tactfully) to the Chinese government is that many of these HR violations occurred AFTER they were awarded the Olympics - AFTER they promised to IMPROVE the human rights in their country.

1. Forced abortion and sterilization

Wall Street Journal, August 1, 2008, Ying Ma:

“…Meanwhile, the Communist government is not at all shy about imprisoning dissidents like Chen Guangcheng, a blind Chinese peasant activist, who is currently serving a four-year prison sentence for campaigning against forced late-term abortions and sterilization programs…”

Amnesty International, May 27, 2005:

“…Amnesty International, the well known human rights group, has issued its 2005 Amnesty International report which again shows China's continuing abuse of women due to the one-child policy. Successive reports indicating such abuses have, however, failed to convince the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to abandon its relationship with the Chinese population control program. They have also evidently failed to convince Canada and other nations to follow the lead of the United States and refuse funding to UNFPA based on their complicity with China's coercive abortion regime.
The Amnesty International 2005 report states that "Serious violations against women and girls continued to be reported as a result of the enforcement of the family planning policy, including forced abortions and sterilizations."…”

Sorry, I didn’t mean to bring Canada’s “good and moral” name into a negative light. Forced abortion and sterilization is murder and assault - simultaneously.

2. Falun Gong

UN report 2007:

“…On March 20, 2007, Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Special issued a report that corroborates previous findings in 2006 about persecution, abuse and torture of Chinese citizens.
His report states, “Organ harvesting has been inflicted on a large number of unwilling Falun Gong practitioners at a wide variety of locations for the purpose of making available organs for transplant operations.”…“Vital organs including hearts, kidneys, livers and corneas were systematically harvested from Falun Gong practitioners at Sujiatan Hospital, Shenyang, Liaoning Province, beginning in 2001. The practitioners were given injections to induce heart failure, and therefore were killed in the course of the organ harvesting operations or immediately thereafter.”…”

2004, UN report on Falun Gong:

“…“These findings and reports convincingly dispel the Chinese government’s claim of China having its ‘best period of human rights’,” says Ms. Liying Zheng, a volunteer editor for the Working Group.
Contained in the book are reports issued by Rapporteurs from a number of different specialist areas, including Torture, Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, Violence against Women, Freedom of Religion or Belief and the Freedom of Expression.
The Special Rapporteur for Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions has stated: “The Special Rapporteur continues to be alarmed by deaths in custody in China. Reports describe harrowing scenes in which detainees, many of whom are followers of the Falun Gong movement, die as a result of severe ill treatment, neglect or medical attention. The cruelty and brutality of these alleged acts of torture defy description.”…”

3. Uighurs (Muslim), religious persecution

Human Rights Watch and Human Rights Watch China, April, 2005:

“…Detentions and executions
The report accuses China of "opportunistically using the post-11 September environment to make the outrageous claim that individuals disseminating peaceful religious and cultural messages in Xinjiang are terrorists who have simply changed tactics".

The authors of the report say it is based on previously undisclosed Communist Party and Chinese government documents, local regulations, press reports and local interviews.
The report says the systematic repression of religion in Xinjiang was continuing as "a matter of considered state policy".
Such repression ranges from vetting imams and closing mosques to executions and the detention of thousands of people every year, it claims.
"Religious regulation in Xinjiang is so pervasive that it creates a legal net that can catch just about anyone the authorities want to target," said Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China.
The report also reveals that almost half the detainees in Xinjiang's re-education camps are there for engaging in illegal religious activities…”

4. Executions

Human Rights Watch, August 2007:

In addition, China continues to lead the world in executions. The government classifies the number of people executed as a state secret, but it is believed that China executes many more people than the rest of the world combined each year. Most trials are deeply flawed, as the accused often do not have access to adequate defense counsel, trials are usually closed to the public, evidence is often obtained through torture, and the appellate process lacks needed safeguards. China’s courts lack independence, as they remain controlled by the government and ruling Chinese Communist Party…”

Of course, their use of torture is probably inspired by (and therefore the fault of) the Bush administration.

5. Tibet

Tibet was invaded in 1949 by the Chinese after the Chinese withdrew from Tibet in 1912. The Chinese have occupied Tibet since the invasion. Tibet is a sovereign nation.

RIGHT TO SELF DETERMINATION

International Lawyers conference, 1993 January 6-10, London:

“…it is clear that international law recognises the peoples' right to self-determination. The principle of self-determination of peoples is expressly recognised in the United Nations Charter. The "right of all peoples to self-determination" is also recognised in the International Convenants on Human Rights and in numerous other international instrumnets and writings….”

“…three Resolutions of the United Nations General Assembly (Nos. 1353, 1723 and 2079) have recognised the status of Tibetans as a "people". Resolutions No. 1723 (reaffirmed by Resolution No. 2079) expressly refers to the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination.
The PRC and its organs of state power which exercise de facto control over the territory of Tibet deny the people of Tibet the exercise of their right to self-determination…”

CULTURAL GENOCIDE

International Commission of Jurists Report on Tibet and the Chinese People's Republic
Geneva, 1960:

“…The COMMITTEE found that acts of genocide had been committed in Tibet in an attempt to destroy the Tibetans as a religious group, and that such acts are acts of genocide independently of any conventional obligation…The evidence established four principal facts in relation to genocide:
(a) that the Chinese will not permit adherence to and practice of Buddhism in Tibet;
(b) that they have systematically set out to eradicate this religious belief in Tibet;
(c) that in pursuit of this design they have killed religious figures because their religious belief and practice was an encouragement and example to others;
(d) that they have forcibly transferred large numbers of Tibetan children to a Chinese materialist environment in order to prevent them from having a religious upbringing…”

POPULATION TRANSFER

TIBET/COMMISSION ON HUMAN RIGHTS/GENEVA
Commission on Human Rights
Fifty-second session, 29/3/96

“…7. In contrast, the Tibetan population has declined drastically from over 6 million Tibetans in Tibet at the time of the invasion to about 4.6 million today based on Chinese census figures and first-hand observations. Population transfer has therefore made the Tibetans a minority within their own country….”

Karen Parker, Presentation to First International Conference on the Right to Self-Determination, United Nations, Geneva, August 2000

“…Unfortunately, China is sending large numbers of non-Tibetan people into Tibet. Rather than ethnic cleansing, China is engaging in ethnic dilution. This is a violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. This is where the government of China does the most damage to Tibetans and their culture, because in many parts of Tibet, Tibetans are now in the minority. This becomes a very serious situation in the realization of self determination…”

Tom :

Salamon,

Thanks for your comments. We have a saying in America: Two wrongs do not make a right."

Clearly, America has it's "shame" when it comes to the way we have historically treated Native people and African American people without mentioning some of the other policies that I and many other American citizens do not agree with or support.

The great thing about my country is we can disagree, protest peacefully, decide to worship or not, hold free elections to choose our leaders, have a free press and a judical system that is seperate from one party control. No, we are not perfect, far from it-- but I would not trade our system of governance in for any other that I am aware of-- from around the world.

China has a long and rich history and has made significant progress over the last 1/4 century on a number of fronts and for that they should be very proud. However, like any government, including my own, China still has a number of issues to address to continue to improve.

One of the strengths of America is we can keep talking about issues internal to our country and around the world. I hope we can continue to have civil conversations to improve the human condition around the globe.

I have great admiration and respect for the Chinese culture and people.

I wish ALL the Chinese people continued success and a safe, peaceful and harmonous Olympics.

Anonymous :

Wu Jianmin, China's former ambassador to France, said one sign of this mentality is that many Chinese people care too much about what foreigners say about them.

When foreigners criticize us, even though it's fair criticism, many Chinese will go ballistic. When foreigners praise us, even though it's excessive or flattery, many Chinese are overjoyed.

Wu pointed out this "weak nation" mentality in a recent talk show on Guizhou (Province) TV.

In fact, this mentality manifests itself in many other ways. For example, many cities spend too much money painting up old houses in anticipation of the visit of foreigners.

These cities are understandable in their attempt to impress foreigners with a clean image. But what's wrong with old houses?

A confident nation doesn't feel ashamed of its old buildings, or about poor vegetable vendors hawking on the street.
http://www.shanghaidaily.com/article/?id=369184&type=Opinion

Anonymous :

The FBI has accused a former Northrup Grumman scientist who helped design elements of the B-2 bomber of selling stealthy missile components to China.

Agents arrested Noshir Gowadia, a native of India who received a Ph.D. at 15, at his home on Maui on Oct. 3, 2005. The FBI has accused him of selling China military secrets.

The agency says Gowadia, who retired from his Northrup Grumman in 1986 - two years before the B-2 made its debut, used his home in Hawaii to design a stealth cruise missile for China.

Reports said he has been in jail since his arrest because the court considers him a flight risk. His trial has been repeatedly delayed as prosecutors and defense lawyers comb through thousands of pages of classified materials. His new trial date has been set for Jan. 21.
http://www.newsroomamerica.com/usa/story.php?id=426761

Salamon :

TOm:
there is a cartoon, #19 in the series at:
http://editorialcartoonists.com/#top
which is an excellent description of your "human right" abuse re China, Russia and Zimbabwe, as a spokes[wo]man for the USA,

After approx 30 invasions, CIA operated executions, endless bombing perpetratede by the world's largest arm supplier, not forgetting IRaq's 4 million displaced and anywhere up to approx 1 milloion deaths since the illegal invasion, with wedding parties bambed to death by your fancy air force in Afganistan since WWII.
Short of Mao's and Stalins earlier progroms, without doubt most unnatural deaths were caused by the USA in the lasty 60 or so years,

So quit talking about human rights till your wonderful Republicans, and their followers, the Democrats quit abusing people all over the world

Tom Wonacott :

PAW (dreamer)

What does China fear?

“…It is for China alone to decide how China will respond, assuming that will ultimately materialize those anti-government protests ethnic minorities and dissident groups are here, and elsewhere in the West, encouraged to stage. China’s internal affairs are China’s exclusive business…”

Chinese human rights abuses are well documented - Tibet, Falun Gong (including organ harvesting), Uighurs, political dissidents, religious persecution, forced abortions and sterilization, forced expulsion of people for the Olympics (with compensation), crackdown on media freedom and the list goes on and on….

Should human rights abuses be just an internal affair? Should the West intervene in a way to help people subjected to rape, mutilation and murder? Should the people of Darfur, Rwanda, the Congo, Zimbabwe or anywhere for that matter just be slaves to their government wishes without interference on their behalf? Apparently so - to you and the Chinese. China's foreign policy calls for doing business with countries without interfering in their internal affairs - a policy that favors economic expansion at the expense of human rights. China has been asked at various times for help in Burma, Zimbabwe and Sudan, but, in every case chose to remain true to her economic philosophy.

The Chinese communist turn a deaf ear to abuses at home and abroad. The Chinese (and Russian) veto of sanctions recently against Mugabe and his henchman was disgraceful, yet par for the course. When it comes to solving the world’s problems, China has been a big disappointment.

“…1. Anti-government protests go against the Olympic spirit even barbarians could relate to, understand and respect;

2. ...for through lack of dignity and self-respect, they only make clear they do not belong to the international community for whom there is a time to protest, a time to fight, and a time to respect an international truce.…”

Are you joking? It’s the best possible time for people subjected to human rights violations to air their grievances on the world stage. What do the Tibetans care about the Olympics when their culture is being overrun by Hans Chinese in what is arguably THEIR country? Western leaders (including, or I should say, especially Bush) cater to the Chinese despite almost daily reports of abuse by the media and human rights organizations, and they are not all lies.

If the Chinese government doesn’t want protest, then quit abusing your own people!!!! Do you believe they should get a free pass just because they are hosting the Olympics?

“…The degrading anti-Chinese propaganda campaign we, in the West, have witnessed for years now, indeed ever since China was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games, and more particularly that deceitful propaganda frenzy, in the months leading to the Olympics, full of shameless lies, using manipulated images, falsified videos, etc. disseminated all over our media, to make people believe in non-events (remember the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident, the babies never snatched from incubators by Iraqi troops in Kuwait, etc.?) … that propaganda and that frenzy were the best signs there could have been that the world had already entered a post-American, post-Western era…”

To try to dismiss the abuses committed by the Chinese is at the very least intellectually dishonest, but at the worst it condones the actions of a government that simply fears the consequences of freedom.

Post American, post Western era? Baloney. Maybe that’s your dream. Why liberals defend China with such zeal is beyond me. They are a repressive - oppose freedom of speech, religion, or the press - single party dictatorship. The Chinese government operates as a police state in separatist regions in China. They have proven that communism is a failed economic model (millions died) just as they have shown that capitalism with all its “inequities” - the disdain of socialism - has garnered spectacular results. In addition, they are the most polluted country on the planet - killing an estimated 750,000 of their own people each year.

“…The day we’ll wish to influence the rest of the world, including China, we shall have to make sure we are already an undisputed, world model and a true human example to follow. As long as we succeed so little at making genuine friends, and less and less at influencing people all over the world, all it means is that we are not there yet, and the world’s message to us is that we should work much harder and... a little longer at it…”

We have no moral authority. In fact, the West is the BEST the world has to offer. Yes, the West can and should improve, but what is better in your opinion than the democratic values we espouse in the West? Who has a moral basis if the West doesn’t? What culture(s) is more moral and fair than us (the West) especially as it pertains to human rights?

The Chinese have improved in every respect from the days of Mao, but accepting the status quo in China - and, in fact, everywhere else as you have written - accepts the idea that we have no moral basis to intervene on the behalf of people subjected to government sanctioned murder, rape and other abuses - just because we make mistakes and are not perfect. Please explain that to the Bosnians who benefited from our intervention (including Canada), and then try to comfort the relatives of the 800,000 dead Rwandans where we did nothing.

China’s day might be coming, but its not here yet, and it will never arrive, in my opinion, until they change their single party rule, address their human rights abuses at home and assume a role in world leadership - no matter how powerful they become economically and militarily. I just don’t understand what China has to fear.

Anju Chandel :

For China, this Olympics is not just about 'sporty' games; China is treating this Olympics platform to play much larger geopolitical game. And, in the process, as could be understood, they are not going to enjoy it at all. They have made it highly complex by linking their "success" in hosting it to their 'national pride' - nothing more, nothing less. ... Hope the event goes off peacefully.

Citizen of the post-American world :

It is for China alone to decide how China will respond, assuming that will ultimately materialize those anti-government protests ethnic minorities and dissident groups are here, and elsewhere in the West, encouraged to stage. China’s internal affairs are China’s exclusive business.

In my opinion the Olympics are the worst platform imaginable for anti-government protests. Main reasons are:

1. Anti-government protests go against the Olympic spirit even barbarians could relate to, understand and respect;

2. Anti-government protests by no means serve the best interests of those who stage them; for through lack of dignity and self-respect, they only make clear they do not belong to the international community for whom there is a time to protest, a time to fight, and a time to respect an international truce. Through their actions during this internationally agreed truce, those groups only invite: 1. retaliation in the strongest possible terms from the state they challenge, 2. long-term resentment from the people they attempt to humiliate.

The degrading anti-Chinese propaganda campaign we, in the West, have witnessed for years now, indeed ever since China was awarded the 2008 Olympic Games, and more particularly that deceitful propaganda frenzy, in the months leading to the Olympics, full of shameless lies, using manipulated images, falsified videos, etc. disseminated all over our media, to make people believe in non-events (remember the Gulf of Tonkin non-incident, the babies never snatched from incubators by Iraqi troops in Kuwait, etc.?) … that propaganda and that frenzy were the best signs there could have been that the world had already entered a post-American, post-Western era. We, in the West, have only thus proven that we are terrorized at the prospect of most of the world rising, of a new world order being in the making (the West’s failure to dictate to the rest of the world: WTO, G-8 on climate change), of our hegemony rapidly coming to an end. We are in fact so terrorized at that prospect that we only feel the sick urge to score a few cheap political points during an internationally agreed truce.

To tell it as it is: that we cannot rejoice at other nations’ and people’s successes is indicative of how weak and vulnerable we are. Our permanent conflict and perpetual war mentality has become truly pathetic. Essentially, it points to our true weakness which can only lead us, as it does currently (under the guise of excessive power and riches!), to self-destruction.

We ourselves are facing a serious enough multi-faceted crisis that we need spend all our energy solving our very own myriad of problems we have left unattended for so long, while we enjoyed so much lecturing the whole world on how the billions we knew so little about ought to live their lives and manage their business. For us, it is time to mind our own business, and quick.

The day we’ll wish to influence the rest of the world, including China, we shall have to make sure we are already an undisputed, world model and a true human example to follow. As long as we succeed so little at making genuine friends, and less and less at influencing people all over the world, all it means is that we are not there yet, and the world’s message to us is that we should work much harder and... a little longer at it.

Anonymous :

Let's face facts. China isn't about to sanction protests of it's policies. It hasn't done so in the past and there is less indication they would even consider it during the games. Any spontaneous protest that should attempt to take place will be swept away so quickly photographers won't have time to take a picture. These games are a source of huge national pride for the Chinese leadership and you can go to the bank on the fact they will not allow them to be spoiled.

Yousuf Hashmi :


For the anti Chinese lobbies there is every thing to protest. Starting from human rights to global warming, air quality, safety standards there is no shortage of the fuel available.

So they will respond.

And how the China will respond?

I am sure that there is no shortage in china for the collective wisdom and they must have thought this question hundred times in last four years and develop some strategy.

They will not think about using any force instead they will prefer the proven card of national interests and quietly side line the dissidents by some charges. They will facilitate and promote some groups to arrange controlled and fabricated protests which will enhance the image of china as human rights tolerant society.

Mean time guests will enjoy the red carpet Chinese hostility in the safe environment. They may politely be persuaded to keep their movement restricted inside the Olympic village due to security concerns. This will minimize the chances of the information to travel out side china.

Kacoo :

The modern Olympic Games have lasted long past their time. They began to provide a forum where rich country athletes could best the upstarts from the old colonies. The key to winning was always the ability of the rich countries to begin training athletes from an early age. Then the Soviets caught on and began their own training programs. Now tons of countries field athletes who are as good at the highly-skilled sports as the rich country athletes. There's even a Jamaican Bobsled Team that competes in the Winter Games.

With so many athletes from all over the world winning, the only thing that America can do is complain about the politics of the host country. In 1980 the USA wouldn't send its athletes to the Moscow Games in order to protest the Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan. If America really has a problem with the host country politics, then it has precedent to stay home. Everyone seems to be going though.

Tom Watkins :

The Olympics Are Coming -- Will Terror Follow?

With the recent earthquake and uprising in Tibet, and the Beijing Olympics right around the corner, China seems chiseled into the consciousness of most Americans. Yet, few in the West realize there are 55 nationality groups of people that China officially recognizes as distinct minority groups.

There are the Miao Bai, Dai, Xibe, Jingpo, Usbek, Hui, Mongolian, Yao, Li Wau, Manchu, Dong and Uighurs to name a few. Minorities make up a small percentage of the 1.3 billion Chinese but constitute a large portion of the internal tension. Through the more-than 5,000 years of Chinese civilization there have been numerous minority uprisings against majority rule.

The Uighurs are a Turkish people and were a major empire in centuries past. The Uighurs converted to Islam several centuries ago. The Uighur population is disputed and ranges from 8 to 15 million strong. They are found throughout China but are concentrated in the Xinjiang (meaning “New Territory” or “New Frontier”) Autonomous Region in Northwest China. Xinjiang is bordered by Kazakhstan to the north, Mongolia to the northeast, and Kirghizstan and Tajikistan to the northwest and west. To the west and southwest lie Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south are Tibet and India. To the east, 1,500 miles away, lies Beijing, China. Xinjiang is so remote that it is obscure or nonexistent to most in the West.

Yet I suspect it's the Uighurs (also spelled Uygur or Uigur and pronounced “we-gar”) the world will be hearing more about in the future. I hope for the sake of the Chinese, Uighurs and all of humanity we do not hear of the Uighurs around conflict, terror and bloodshed — yet, having just returned from Xinjiang, I suspect we will in one fashion or another. The tension between the Uighur's and the Chinese government is palpable.

The Uighurs refer to this area by its historical name, East Turkistan or Uyghuristan.

The faces of the Uighurs share few similarities with what is viewed as the typical Chinese, or Han people. They are proud to be distinct. I remember meeting a Uighur man once in Xian, the ancient capitol of China, and the end-point of the historic Silk Road. I asked him his nationality and he said, “Chinese.” Then, with a full-mouth grin and looking around the market so not to be overheard, he uttered, “I am a Uighur — not Chinese!”

Many call the Uighurs the Tibetans’ Muslims. The Uighurs, like the Buddhist Tibetans, are asking for more accommodations for their disparate culture and beliefs. The Chinese will respond that many Uighurs are a terrorist faction in bed with al-Qaeda and bent on violent separatist activities.U.S. State Department designated the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist group in 2002. There is fear that Uighurs, associated with the ETIM, are planning on disrupting the Beijing Olympics to begin on ba-ba-ling ba, or 8-8-08, to gain notoriety for “their cause.”

There have been historical crackdowns on the Uighurs that have been stepped up since 9-11. Many believe the Chinese have used the “international war on terror” as justification to tighten the grip on the Uighur people. Human rights groups contend the Chinese government exaggerates Uighur terrorist threats so it can clamp down on the Uighurs and arrest and torture those they suspect of being dissidents.

Like the Tibetans, the Uighurs believe the Chinese government has instituted cultural genocide against them. The Chinese would respond by claiming that after the 1949 liberation, old feudal religious habits and privileges were abolished and they have removed the control of the “reactionary ruling class” while today the Uighur people enjoy a higher standard of living and more economic opportunities. The Chinese Government sees some Uighurs as terrorists espousing separatist ideology linked with the larger Islamic Jihadist goal to overthrow existing governments and install a religious theocracy. They claim it is for these reasons China must clamp down.

Given these extreme views between the ethnic minority Uighurs and the Chinese government it is just a matter of time before the scab will be removed and the internal Chinese festering sore will come into full view. When the scab is removed, it is likely to be ugly and difficult for the world to ignore. Will the cause be seen as oppression, cultural genocide, employment and economic deprivation as charged by the Uighurs; terrorist attacks of a people longing for independence; or linked to al-Qaeda or Muslim extremists as an act of civil war against the Chinese government?

China’s history has been plagued by foreign invaders and internal divisions. Perhaps the greatest fear the Chinese Ruler has is losing control that would splinter China like their old ally, the Soviet Union. The months leading up to the 2008 summer Olympics in Beijing will continue to put the spotlight of the world on China. Forces internal to China and from without are jockeying to share that limelight. China’s desire to have a “harmonious rise” will be profoundly tested with the world watching over the next several months.

The Chinese have vowed to never again be splintered by external or internal forces. These realities dictate that we will be hearing more about the Tibetans and Uighurs in the future.

Let’s be clear, unlike Las Vagas - what happens in China- does not stay in China. Unrest in China will impact us all.

Tom Watkins is and education and business consultant. He has a lifelong interest in China and has traveled there many times since his first trip in 1989. He served as Michigan's State Superintendent of Schools, 2001-2005 . He can be reached at: tdwatkins@aol.com.


LZ :

The Chinese gov't should have some spine and enforce Chinese laws on Chinese soil without exception. This include foreign professional agitators, some of whom are funded and supported by anti-Chinese gov'ts and their proxy NGOs, and especially the few so-called journalists, who want to leverage publicity of the event for their anti-China political agenda and propaganda. If it is determined that they have done illegal activities, then they should and must be dealt with promptly to the fullest extent of the law. Chinese national interest and sovereignty come first among all else, even the Olympic Game.

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