Monday, March 31, 2008

Video: Toronto Chinese Rally Turns Ugly

Participants heckle Tibetans: 'Leave Canada.' Mayor's China trip questioned
By Jason Loftus
Mar 30, 2008

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)



TORONTO—A rally that was billed as promoting "anti-violence" turned hostile on Saturday as flag-waving Chinese denounced Tibetans who they blamed for the recent turmoil in Tibet in which 100 are said to have died.

Close to 1000 Chinese were in Toronto's Dundas Square for the afternoon event, many of them students.

"Dalai Lama die there!" some Chinese shouted at a group of Tibetans who had gathered across the street from the square to protest. "Leave Canada!" others urged.

Tibetans say the Chinese rally, which began orderly, was designed to incite hate against them.

The event was promoted in Chinese-language press as a rally to tell the "truth" about Tibet and "safeguard the reunification of the motherland."

Several major Chinese-language media outlets in Canada have parroted the Chinese communist regime's line on Tibet, blaming the turmoil on the Dalai Lama and his followers and fanning a nationalist animosity toward Tibetans. ( Read more )

The rally began with a parade of speeches repeating the Chinese regime's line on Tibet: that it has long been part of China, that the Chinese government spent millions trying to help the Tibetan people, and that Tibetan monks and youths led violent protests in Lhasa recently that caused death and suffering of Han Chinese, the majority ethnic group in China.

The speeches were interspersed with patriotic Chinese songs. No mention was made of police violence used to quash the protests, nor of the Tibetan grievances that experts say sparked the initially peaceful protests in Lhasa.

China has helped Tibetans "protect, spread, and develop" their culture, said one speaker.

An organizer who spoke in English claimed the Chinese regime had "helped Tibetan people to improve human rights" by making them literate.

"People were just blind faith to believe in their religion," he said. "They were controlled."

The rally became dramatic when a Tibetan refugee took to the stage waving a Tibetan flag. He was seized by a group of Chinese who dragged him away before police intervened to separate them.

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

After the incident, the man spoke with The Epoch Times. In tears, he described the suffering of Tibetans under communist rule, explaining that he left Tibet 10 years ago and came to Canada only recently. The man said Toronto Mayor David Miller should reconsider a planned trip to China next month amid the ongoing repression in Tibet by the communist regime.

Angry Chinese turned on the Tibetan protesters, hollering "Dalai Lama die there!" "Dalai Lama lies!" "Liars, liars!" and "Leave Canada!"

This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)
This series of photos shows a man, identified as university student Yang Shao by other students, charging across Yonge Street with a Chinese flag. He was detained by police but later released. (The Epoch Times)

They also sang communist party songs.

Police detained one man after he charged across a busy street to where the Tibetans were protesting, waving a large Chinese flag. He was identified as University of Toronto student Yang Shao by other students in the square.

Police at Toronto's 52 Division said the man had been released and no charges had been laid.

A spokesperson for the city office that oversees the Dundas Square said earlier this week that he didn't believe the group organizing Saturday's event would be spreading hate.

Patrick Carnegie, the square's manager of programming and events, said there were rules that governed how the square is to be used, including not belittling any identifiable group and conveying messages only in a positive way.

Any group can use the space "as long as they do so in a safe manner that is in accordance to the bylaws," Mr. Carnegie said.

According to Mr. Carnegie, the event had been approved as a "Love China Concert." When The Epoch Times pointed out that even English-language flyers for the event suggested the rally tended to lay blame for the violence on the Tibetans, he said the group was expected to follow the rules.

Anna Yang and Matthew Little contributed to this story.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The torch "of peace" sets out, with Beijing up in arms

AsiaNews.it:From the Chinese capital, the flame of the Olympic torch will travel to 20 countries, for a total of 137 thousand kilometres. The government is drawing up a list of its six most dangerous enemies, and is preparing to fight them. A United States activist warns: the leadership is ready to sacrifice the Olympics in order to maintain national security.

Beijing (AsiaNews) - The torch "of peace and harmony", the symbol of the Chinese Olympics, is preparing for an armoured voyage worthy of a nuclear warhead. The communist government, according to anonymous sources, is concerned about the possibility of anti-Chinese demonstrations in the various cities involved in the tour (the longest in history), and is ready to fight to avoid these. In the meantime, a leading expert on Chinese society warns: "Beijing is ready to do anything to safeguard its national security, even if this draws the condemnation of the world upon it".

According toward Hong Kong newspaper, the BOCOG (Beijing Organizing Committee for the Olympics) security department has drawn up a list of six organisations or ethnic groups that represent a threat to the torch's journey, which begins tomorrow and will cross 20 nations, for a total of 137 thousand kilometres. A source inside the department explains: "These groups have very strong ties to the nations involved, and they are ready to do anything to disrupt the peaceful unfolding of the itinerary".

The most "dangerous" are: the members of Falun Gong, a spiritual group with about 100 million adherents (according to the group's own estimate), which China considers demonic and persecutes ferociously; the Tibetans; the supporters of Darfur; and those who support the Burmese monks against the military junta of Yangon, which is very close to the Chinese leadership. The destinations most at risk include the United States city of San Francisco, where the Olympic flame will arrive on April 9.

The demonstrators who have gathered for this event are motivated by so many factors that they are considering the possibility of dressing in different colours according to the groups to which they belong, in order to guarantee that their own message reaches its destination. To stop them, the members of the security department - which includes policeman, secret service agents, and military personnel - have prepared foot patrols, interventions, and operations of "preventive dissuasion".

But all of this does not imply that China wants to give an inch with regard to national security. John Kamm, executive director of the Dui Hua Foundation in the United States, has been working for years with the communist authorities in order to reach compromises on the situation of political detainees in the Chinese prisons. On this question, he says China "will sacrifice the Olympics to preserve national security. The government is adopting a hard position on Tibet. A senior official told me that any signs of concession would be seen as signs of weakness"


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Should the U.S. Boycott the Beijing Olympics Opening Ceremony?

March 29, 2008 6:56 PM

ABC: Interesting debate on NPR between a human rights activist and an official of the International Olympic Committee about whether U.S. government officials, and perhaps even athletes, should boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic games this August.

Listen to it HERE.

Human rights attorney David Kilgour, a former Canadian member of parliament, originally had supported a complete boycott because of China's abysmal record on human rights. But now he feels that the games are bringing greater scrutiny to that record -- in Tibet, Darfur, with the Falun Gong and more generally -- so he's instead calling for a boycott of the opening ceremony by government officials.

Now is the time to exert some pressure, he says.

Former U.S. rower and IOC member Anita DeFrantz — who missed the 1980 Moscow games after then-President Jimmy Carter pulled out the U.S. to protest the USSR invasion of Afghanistan — says such a boycott wouldn't work.

It got heated. The IOC "doesn't have a single scruple when it comes to totalitarian governments," Kilgour said.

What do you think?

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

HOW 3 CANADIANS UPSTAGED BEIJING

Excerpt from the Globe and Mail

March 29, 2008

LONDON -- This was supposed to be China's week. The launch of the longest Olympic torch relay in history was heralded in the Chinese press as a spectacle that would bring the nation glory, until Monday, when editors of Beijing's newspapers struggled to edit blood-covered Tibetan protesters out of photos of the torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece.

China's week has become Tibet's moment. Tibetans and their supporters are being driven by the belief that this Olympic year and its vast media attention are a last opportunity to challenge Beijing's rule. It now looks like activists have succeeded in making China's 57-year occupation of the territory the dominant issue of the 2008 Olympic Games.

Behind this dramatic capture of the world's attention are three young women from British Columbia, who have spent much of the seven years since China won the Games organizing thousands of international volunteers and hundreds of Tibet-related organizations into a six-month campaign of stealth activism intended to humiliate China before an international audience.

Standing just to the edge of the TV cameras in Greece on Monday was Kate Woznow, a 28-year-old Vancouverite who organized the day's attention-grabbing interventions - blood-covered Tibetans lay down in front of the torch carrier during the lighting ceremony - from the offices of Students for a Free Tibet in New York, where she runs the Olympic-related campaign:

"We realized seven years ago, when China got the Olympics, what an incredible opportunity this would be to shine a spotlight on the terrible treatment of Tibet," she said as she arrived in London to organize a day of demonstrations to coincide with the torch's arrival in Beijing on Monday.


Olympic developments

Not attending

German chancellor, Angela Merkel, yesterday announced she has decided not to attend the Olympics in Beijing.

Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Germany's foreign minister, confirmed that Ms. Merkel was staying away. Poland's Donald Tusk and the Czech Republic's Vaclav Klaus had previously announced they had declined to attend the opening ceremonies.

Making an appeal

The European Union is appealing to China to resolve the crisis in Tibet through peaceful means. The appeal comes from foreign ministers of the EU's 27 countries, at a two-day meeting in Slovenia. The ministers say Tibet's cultural heritage must be respected. No officials at the EU meeting are asking for a full-blown boycott.

Blocking demonstrations

Greek authorities prevented more demonstrations against China's crackdown in Tibet yesterday as the Olympic flame headed for Athens and its symbolic handover to Beijing Games organizers. Echoing an increasingly tense week as the torch travelled around the country, police stopped 20 demonstrators putting up a banner in Volos, arresting one person. About 10 Danish activists were also blocked by police around 70 kilometres outside Larissa, again in central Greece.

Paying A visit

China yesterday allowed the first foreign diplomats to visit Tibet after deadly riots, as European nations appeared split on the idea of boycotting the Beijing Olympics opening. Two weeks after protests in the Himalayan region turned deadly, diplomats from 15 embassies, including those of the United States, Britain, France, Japan and Canada arrived in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, for a hastily arranged tour.

Calling for symbols

Former German Olympic medalists yesterday called for those competing in the 2008 Olympics to wear a specially designed green and blue bracelet to protest against human-rights violations by China in Tibet.

The four are Stefan Pfannmoller, a bronze medalist in the canoe at the 2004 Athens Game; former German handball star Stefan Kretzschmar, 1992 Olympic swimming champion Dagmar Hase, and four-time Olympic rowing champion Katrin Boron. (more)


Sources: Associated Press, AFP, Reuters

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Kiwis are shunning the Beijing Olympic Games,

Stuff: Kiwis are shunning the Beijing Olympic Games, worried about China's human rights record, politics, pollution and the cost of travelling there.

Travel agents say Kiwi sports fans are ignoring the August summer games like never before - just as politicians and businesses eye the expected signing of a coveted but controversial free trade agreement in China next month.

Prime Minister Helen Clark, Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker and Auckland Mayor John Banks are expected to head delegations to China in coming weeks.

Several thousand Kiwis attended the Sydney Olympics in 2000, though fewer went to Athens four years ago, and Beijing is distantly behind both for bookings.

The cost of travelling to the Olympics is dependent on which events people attend, but packages including popular sports such as athletics can cost more than $8000 for seven nights.

Christchurch company Warwick Beatson Travel, which runs sports tours, has less than 10 bookings for the games - a situation similar to many travel firms across the country.

Owner Warwick Beatson said he had never before seen such a lack of interest in the summer games.

"People are saying they are not interested in China because of its political and human rights [problems] and the physical presence of Beijing, with its pollution.

"I just cannot see that things are going to change with that between now and the Olympics. In terms of this company, it would be the worst interest we've seen in summer Olympics."

Beatson said there was "massive interest" in the winter Olympics to be held next year in Canada. "There has never been an occasion in 26 years where I can remember the winter Olympics has dominated the summer Olympics in people's choices of where to travel to."

An Auckland travel agent, who declined to be named, said close supporters of Kiwi competitors made up the bulk of people interested in travelling.

"Kiwi travellers are wary of going to China for the games for a lot of reasons, including the human rights and political situation. The Tibet situation [recent protests for Tibet independence] probably doesn't help. I just don't think they feel secure that the games will go off well," he said.

Flight Centre spokeswoman Melanie Pohl said customers showed more interest in visiting Hong Kong for the equestrian events than going to mainland China.

"I'm sure the negative publicity would have had an affect. It's a shame because it is one of the closer games we've had."

House of Travel retail director Brent Thomas said the games always attracted less interest than other events such as rugby tours and it was a costly event to attend. "China doesn't have the same appeal as a destination as some European destinations. It has an unknown quality about it."

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

The perfect place for a protest


National Post: Anne Applebaum, Slate.com Published: Saturday, March 29, 2008

'We believe the Olympic Games are not the place for demonstrations and we hope that all people attending the Games recognize the importance of this." Thus spake Samsung Electronics, one of 12 major corporate sponsors of the Olympics, when asked last week whether recent events in Tibet were causing them any concern. Coca-Cola, another Olympics sponsor, has stated that while it would be inappropriate "to comment on the political situation of individual nations," the company firmly believes "that the Olympics are a force for good." The chairman of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Jacques Rogge, was also quick to declare that "a boycott doesn't solve anything" -- just as quick as he was to dismiss the demonstrators who waved a black banner showing five interlocked handcuffs, in mockery of the Olympic symbol, at Monday's lighting of the Olympic torch in Greece. "It is always sad to see such a ceremony disrupted," he declared, rather pompously.

And no one was surprised: Companies that have invested millions in sponsorship deals and Olympic bureaucrats who have invested years trying to justify their controversial decision to award the 2008 Olympics to Beijing are naturally inclined to use those sorts of arguments. But that doesn't mean that the rest of us have to believe them.

Look a bit closer, in fact, and none of those statements hold up. A boycott doesn't solve anything The boycott of South African athletes from international competitions was probably the single most effective weapon the international community ever deployed against the apartheid state. ("They didn't mind about the business sanctions," a South African friend once told me, "but they minded -- they really, really minded -- about the cricket.") The boycott of the 1980 Moscow Olympics helped undermine Soviet propaganda about the invasion of Afghanistan and unify the Western world against it. The Olympics are a force for good Not always! For those who don't remember, let me remind you that the 1936 Olympics, held in Nazi Germany, were an astonishing propaganda coup for Hitler. It's true that the star performance

of Jesse Owens, the great black American track-and-field star, did shoot some holes in the Nazi theory of Aryan racial superiority. But Hitler still got what he wanted out of the Games. With the help of American newspapers, such as The New York Times which opined that the Games put Germany "back in the family of nations again," he convinced many Germans, and many foreigners, to accept Nazism as "normal."

The Olympic Games are not the place for demonstrations Aren't they? Actually, the Olympics seem an ideal place for demonstrations. Not only is the world's press there with cameras running, the modern Olympics were set up with a political purpose: to promote international peace by encouraging healthy competition between nations. Hence the emphasis on national teams instead of individual competitors; hence the opening and closing ceremonies -- since copied by other sporting events --as well as the national flags and national anthems.

These elements make the Olympics special, but they also sometimes give the Games a nasty edge. The old United States vs. Soviet Union basketball rivalry; the parade of East German women with husky voices; the lists of who has won how many medals -- all of that is evidence of the decades-old politicization of the Olympics. There were black power demonstrations at the 1968 Mexico City Games. A Palestinian group attacked and killed Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games. Australian Aboriginals protested at the 2000 Sydney Games. And everything associated with the 2008 Olympics, from the massive Beijing building program, to the Olympic torch that is due to be carried across Tibet, to the Chinese Olympic Committee's Web site (it describes China's commitment to promote "mass sporting activities" on an "extensive scale, improving the people's physique, and spurring the socialist modernization of China") is blatantly designed to promote the domestic and international image of the Chinese state.

No wonder, then, that everyone who hates or fears China, whether in Burma, Darfur, Tibet or Beijing, is calling for a boycott. And the Chinese government and the IOC are terrified that they will succeed. No one involved in the preparations for this year's Olympics really believes that this is "only about the athletes," or that the Beijing Games will be an innocent display of sporting prowess, or that they bear no relation to Chinese politics. I don't see why the rest of us should believe it, either.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Do Olympic Boycotts Achieve Anything?

Washington Post: Sunday, March 30, 2008; Page D04

If not now, when? If not us, who?"

Those ringing words, generally attributed to Robert F. Kennedy, are today applicable to the growing momentum for a boycott of the Beijing Olympics.

In the past week, European leaders have talked openly about a boycott in response to China's repressive actions this month in Tibet. Political leaders in France, Australia, Norway and Germany have suggested skipping the opening ceremonies; Eastern European leaders from the Czech Republic, Poland and Estonia already have said they won't attend.

Because of China's complicity with the genocide in Darfur, talk of a boycott, led most prominently by Mia Farrow, had already been an unhappy Olympic undercurrent. Even earlier rumblings of international unease can be traced to China's repression of the Falun Gong.

The Olympics, of course, is China's stage from which to project world leadership, culture and a successful way of life. Sport, it is argued, is a mere tool in that process.

While no Olympics is ever solely about athletics -- the mere mention of the Berlin, Mexico City and Munich quadrennials conjures indelible political imagery -- idealism and international competition remain the core of any Games. A boycott, in whatever form, diminishes and tarnishes that goal.

Certainly that was the aim and result of President Carter's boycott of the Moscow Games in 1980. But as Paul Simon said, no nation can outrun the history train: Reichs fall, cultures adapt and poor economic models collapse, largely irrespective of protests and boycotts.

Renaldo Nehemiah, the gold medal favorite in the hurdles prior to the Moscow Games, knows well the nullity achieved by a boycott. "Nothing was accomplished by our boycott in 1980," Nehemiah said. "It was very disheartening, using sport as a way to achieve political ends. . . . It was difficult for me personally. I was 21 years old and the best in the world, but I've never walked into an Olympic stadium as an athlete, and that's still hard. It took a lot of years before I could even talk about it."

* OVER THE HILLS: More than 7,000 women are registered for the More Magazine Marathon, open only to women over 40, and the half marathon, two-person teams, one over 40, on April 6 in New York's Central Park.

-- Jim Hage

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

Swifter, higher, stronger … democratic?

The Independent. NFDLD - By IVAN MORGAN
Saturday, March 29, 2008
The minute I heard China had been successful in getting the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, I thought about human rights. That was natural enough. At the time I worked for a human rights organization; but I remember thinking “Here it comes …”

And here it comes.

I’m no sports fan, and don’t fully appreciate the Olympics or the fuss that goes with it. I know it’s a big deal to a lot of people. Freedom, democracy and respect for human rights used to be pretty damn popular too.

Yet approximately one fifth of the world’s population have no chance of enjoying anything like even the most basic human rights, and we don’t seem to care.

In the 20 years since the people who control the People’s Republic of China (I ain’t calling them a government if they ain’t elected) threw away all but the most perfunctory pretense of communism, the country has become an economic powerhouse. An emerging superpower, they say.

But its people remain under the thumb of a brutal and repressive regime. Not as bad as their Maoist predecessors perhaps — this bunch slaughters their citizens in the hundreds, not the millions — but they are still a pretty nasty bunch.

China is run by a group of old men who maintain their authority through sheer force. We aren’t supposed to like that.

This group of old men recently invaded the country of Tibet, and are now systematically destroying the Tibetan people. We aren’t supposed to like that either.

What are we supposed to do about it?

Treat Tibet’s Dalai Lama like a rock star, and ignore the plight of his people?

I know many people roll their eyes and sigh when they hear the term human rights. For many, the words conjure up the image of angry people on TV squawking and bawling about what they think they deserve. And more often than not it involves them demanding the government — that’s you and I — pay them money. It can all be a bit much.

Chinese human rights issues aren’t like that.

In China it’s more about people quietly hoping they have the right not to be killed by the government for speaking their mind.

In China, most of us at The Independent would be dead or in jail. In China you could face prison for possessing, let alone reading, this paper.

You and I need to help promote freedom in China.

How?

Some say we should ban Chinese products — which we depend on, more and more — until they clean up their act.

I’m not so sure. I wonder if punishing Chinese workers is the right thing to do.

Our ancestors worked like modern Chinese do — long hours at low wages — to build better lives for themselves. If we admire the sacrifices our ancestors made way back when, shouldn’t we admire hard-working Chinese now?

I have heard another argument that says the best way to coax China towards democracy is through more trade and contact. The more regular Chinese learn about the West, and its democracy and freedoms, so the thinking goes, the more they’ll want it.

I agree. It’s human nature to want to be free.

But trade will only go so far. We need a way to show the average Chinese citizen that we have no taste for the Communist regime, no taste for their outlook, tactics or policies. How can we display our displeasure while at the same time not really hurting the average Chinese worker in the pocketbook?

Who cares?

I think the answer is to threaten to boycott the Olympics.

The men who control China understand only force. They’ve proved that time and time again — in Tiananmen Square, when they slaughtered their own university students, with their treatment of the Falun Gong religious cult and in Tibet.

The Olympics are the best opportunity we will have in a while to stare down these bullies.

I suggest we put it to them short and to the point. If they don’t shape up, we won’t come. And mean it. Show them we cannot be pushed around.

You want to know something? It won’t happen. You know why? Not enough of us care.

We live in the post 9/11 age, where the United States, with some level of complicity from our country and other “allies,” torture, or condone the torture, of prisoners. The “war on terror” has gnawed away at the basic rights of many. No one seems to care.

The Olympics will go ahead, and a lot of lofty words about the dignity of sports, and the glory of coming together in world peace will be spoken between the TV ads. They will mean nothing, except to Chinese political prisoners and Tibetans, who will think it is some kind of sick joke.

China’s brutal dictators will see our participation in the Olympics in Beijing as an endorsement of how they do business. And they will see it that way because that is what it will be.

Who cares about a bunch of murdered Chinese or Tibetan protesters? What people really want to see is how far someone can throw a pointy stick. ivan.morgan@theindependent.caOLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

IOC Needs to Step In Or Perhaps Move On

Wednesday, March 26, 2008; Page E01

At this point, the Beijing Games are shaping up as a disaster. The violent police action in Tibet and other events of the past two weeks make one wonder if the Chinese government is fundamentally unfit to host an Olympics. Officials there have violated the basic spirit of the event and reneged on every promise they made to the International Olympic Committee about their willingness to accommodate the world. When anyone publicly tries to hold them to account -- such as our State Department, that "bad-tempered" Nancy Pelosi or the Dalai Lama -- they charge critics with trying "sabotage" the Games. The only event they seem interested in hosting is the Totalitarian Propaganda Back-flip.

To review: Officials have issued an edict forbidding live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square during the Games. This is only the latest piece of good news, to go along with the deaths in Tibet, the jailing of dissidents for merely writing on the Internet, and bulletins about food so contaminated and air so polluted they could harm the athletes.

Still another event spectators apparently can enjoy in Beijing is the 10,000-meter Surveillance Sweep. The U.S. State Department last week issued a bulletin warning that spectators should expect "on-site or remote technical monitoring at all times," even in their hotel rooms. Furthermore, those rooms may be broken into and searched without visitors' knowledge. That will be easy to do: According to the State Department, so many Beijing structures were thrown up so hastily (by forced labor) that they might collapse, and lack basic protections such as emergency exits, fire suppression systems, carbon monoxide monitors, locks or alarms. China called the State Department bulletin "irresponsible" and denied unusual surveillance measures.

The result of all this is that the term "boycott" is being seriously kicked around. Over the weekend, European Parliament President Hans-Gert Poettering refused to rule it out if the Chinese government continues to take such a hard line in Tibet. But a boycott comes with too much collateral damage to athletes and spectators. There is a better alternative: threaten to move the Games out of China altogether. There still is time to send them to another city, one that embraces the spirit of the Games. Sydney could host them; so could Athens.

In the lead-up to Athens four years ago, the IOC got tough with Greek organizers when they didn't show progress on various issues such as stadium plans and security. Why hasn't it applied the same pressure over China's far more significant broken promises? A few stadium construction delays weren't acceptable, but apparently a hundred dead Tibetans are?

The centerpiece of China's bid seven years ago was a promise to make progress on human rights and to open the country to world media coverage. Chinese officials practically begged for the Games and made all kinds of assurances. But instead, the direct opposite has happened -- the Games actually have caused a significant pre-Games crackdown, abuses that range from sweeping arrests of dissidents to the strong-arming in Tibet, where as many as 130 may have died, according to the exiled Tibetan government.

The Olympics aren't supposed to be political. But they aren't supposed to be a force of evil, either.

Up to this point, the IOC has soft-pedaled these events under the rationale that "engagement" with Chinese officials is better than nothing. President Jacques Rogge defends the decision to send the Games to China, saying they are an opportunity to expose a fifth of the world's population to the "Olympic ideal." But it's safe to say the Olympic ideal isn't getting through to the Chinese people. Only the McDonald's billboards are. On Monday, Yang Chunlin was sentenced to five years in prison for "inciting subversion." His crime? He posted on Internet sites under the theme, "We don't want the Olympics, we want human rights."

The party Beijing is preparing to throw bears no resemblance to any recent Olympics: shootings, beatings, jailings, buggings, environmental crimes and paramilitary police flooding the streets? You can pretty much bet that this isn't what Coca-Cola or the other dozen corporate sponsors had in mind when they signed up for the Olympics back in 2001.

These corporations have paid hundreds of millions of dollars for an Olympics that is turning into an international black eye. They're forking over huge fees to a Chinese government that essentially is harming their reputations. Corporate directors are easy targets, but in fact they can be great philanthropists and good international citizens. General Electric has donated $4 million for the relief of Darfur victims, and Coke is involved in clean-water initiatives. Companies such as Johnson & Johnson prize their status as responsible, open, and friendly to customers and the environment.

But at the moment, they appear weak-willed, un-American and complicit in Olympic abuses for the sake of a buck, thanks to the IOC's inaction and, frankly, seeming indifference. "Whatever abuses take place from this point forward is more of an indictment of the international community," says Arvind Ganesan of Human Rights Watch.

One company has a greater interest in the Beijing Olympics than any other. General Electric is both an Olympics sponsor and the parent company of NBC, the network that paid a combined $2.3 billion for the rights to the Athens, Turin and Beijing Olympics -- only to be told it can't broadcast live from Tiananmen Square. As the Games approach, the Chinese authorities appear increasingly nervous at the prospect of any form of public expression. Even an aside of "Free Tibet" by the singer Bjork during a concert drew a stiff response. When an group of American Boy Scouts were supposed to appear at an exhibition baseball game March 15, they were prevented taking the field by police, who also canceled any form of on-field entertainment, including the singing of the national anthems.

"We're proud to be a sponsor and our plans aren't changing," GE spokeswoman Deirdre Latour said. "Our position overall is that the Olympics are a force for good. Of course, we're watching all of the issues carefully."

The attitude of GE is that once the Games begin, the feel-good moments will take over and everyone will forget about the rifle butts and jail cells. "When you're sitting in that stadium and all the countries walk in, you'll see the power of bringing everyone together," Latour said.

That's obviously what the Chinese government hopes, too -- and intends to enforce by censoring NBC.

Will NBC accept the censorship? Latour said, "That's a question for the IOC." GE's role, she says, is merely to fund the Games. "The role of a sponsor isn't take up cause X, Y and Z," she said, "it is to do what we can within our sphere of responsibility."

But corporate sponsors are the IOC -- they pay for 70 percent of its budget -- and the IOC has been unpardonably weak in its dealings with Beijing. The bottom line is that the IOC appears willing to turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses in order to gain entry to a market that represents a fifth of the world's population.

"Throughout history, there have been other Olympics that were contentious," Latour said. Such as? "Well, Germany," she says.

Berlin in 1936? This is the company we want to be in?

The IOC must quit hiding behind the notion that the Olympics are apolitical. It's a fallacy. In a previous era, a stronger IOC banned South Africa from participation for years because of its apartheid policies. Over time, the Olympics have been of arguable value, sometimes corrupt, sometimes on the right side of issues and sometimes on the wrong side. But they've never actually hurt anybody. Until now.

It's time for the IOC to make the Chinese government live up to its word, and to the Olympic charter and spirit. Otherwise, take the Games away from Beijing.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Behind Mordern China


March 27, 2008, 8:34PM
19th century soul behind China's postmodern mask
We mustn't be fooled by polished 21st-century veneer

China can go for great stretches these days looking like the model of a postmodern, 21st-century power. Visitors to Shanghai see soaring skyscrapers and a booming economy. Conference-goers at Davos and other international confabs see sophisticated Chinese diplomats talking about "win-win" instead of "zero-sum." Western leaders meet their Chinese counterparts and see earnest technocrats trying to avoid the many pitfalls on the path to economic modernization.

But occasionally the mask slips, and the other side of China is revealed. For China is also a 19th-century power, filled with nationalist pride, ambitions and resentments; consumed with questions of territorial sovereignty; hanging on repressively to old conquered lands in its interior; and threatening war against a small island country off its coast.

It is also an authoritarian dictatorship, albeit of a modern variety. The nature of its rule isn't visible on the streets of Shanghai, where people enjoy a degree of personal freedom as long as they keep their noses out of politics. It is only when someone challenges its authority that the brute power on which the regime ultimately rests shows itself. In 1989, it was students in Tiananmen Square. A few years ago it was the Falun Gong. Today it is Tibetan protesters. Tomorrow it may be protesters in Hong Kong. Someday it may be dissidents on a "reunified" island of Taiwan.

This is the aspect of China that does not seem to change, despite our liberal progressive conviction that it must. In the 1990s, China watchers insisted it was only a matter of time before China opened. It was precisely this current generation of technocrats, not schooled in Soviet-style communism, who were supposed to begin reforming the system. Even if they didn't want to reform, the requirement of a liberalizing economy would leave them no choice: The growing Chinese middle class would demand greater political power, or the demands of a globalized economy in the age of the Internet would force China to change in order to compete.

Today this all looks like so much wishful thinking — self-interested wishful thinking, to be sure, since, according to the theory, China would get democratic while Western business executives got rich. Now it looks as if the richer a country gets, whether China or Russia, the easier it may be for autocrats to hold on to power. More money keeps the bourgeoisie content and lets the government round up the few discontented who reveal their feelings on the Internet. More money pays for armed forces and internal security forces that can be pointed inward at Tibet and outward at Taiwan. And the lure of more money keeps a commerce-minded world from protesting too loudly when things get rough.

The question for observers of Chinese foreign policy is whether the regime's behavior at home has any relevance to the way it conducts itself in the world. Recall that in the 1990s we assumed there was a strong correlation: A more liberal China at home would be a more liberal China abroad, and this would gradually ease tensions and facilitate China's peaceful rise. That was the theory behind the strategy of engagement. Many still argue that the goal of American foreign policy should be, in scholar G. John Ikenberry's words, to "integrate" China into the "liberal international order."

But can a determinedly autocratic government really join a liberal international order? Can a nation with a 19th-century soul enter a 21st-century system? Some China watchers imagine the nations of East Asia gradually becoming a kind of European Union-style international entity, with China, presumably, in the role of Germany. But does the German government treat dissent the way China does, and could the European Union exist if it did?

China, after all, is not the only country dealing with restless, independence-minded peoples. In Europe, all kinds of subnational movements aspire to greater autonomy or even independence from their national governments, and with less justification than Tibet or Taiwan: the Catalans in Spain, for instance, or the Flemish in Belgium, or even the Scots in the United Kingdom. Yet no war threatens in Barcelona, no troops are sent to Antwerp and no one clears the international press out of Edinburgh. But that is the difference between a 21st-century postmodern mentality and a nation still fighting battles for empire and prestige left over from a distant past.

These days, China watchers talk about it becoming a "responsible stakeholder" in the international system. But perhaps we should not expect too much. The interests of the world's autocracies are not the same as those of the democracies.

We want to make the world safe for democracy. They want to make the world safe, if not for all autocracies at least for their own. People talk about how pragmatic Chinese rulers are, but like all autocrats what they are most pragmatic about is keeping themselves in power. We may want to keep that in mind as we try to bring them into our liberal international order.

Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, writes a monthly column for The Washington Post. His latest book, "The Return of History and the End of Dreams," will be published next month.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Punishing China

National Post Look here for comments. Published: Thursday, March 27, 2008

So far, world leaders have avoided calling for a full-scale boycott of this summer's Beijing Olympics. But as Beijing's brutal treatment of Tibetans becomes more overt, and as the regime's rhetoric becomes more shrill and paranoid, that may change.

China's violence against Tibetans has spread from Lhasa to neighbouring Chinese provinces with large Tibetan populations. Most cities are under martial law. Roadblocks prevent internal travel, and keep Western journalists from reporting the truth. Police and soldiers are going house-to-house searching for suspects. Over 100 already have died, and at least 700 have been arrested. This week, the Chinese government issued a 53-name "most-wanted" list containing the names of people it claims incited the deadly mid-March antigovernment protests. Included on the list were known dissidents whom Beijing has singled out because of their political views rather than any complicity in the Lhasa uprising.

In view of all this, Canada must find a meaningful way of communicating its disgust with Beijing's actions. At the very least, Stephen Harper's government should announce that Canada is boycotting the Games' Aug. 8 opening ceremonies (an idea that is also being explored by several European countries). We should also announce that no federal officials will attend the Games.

By boycotting the opening ceremony -- and urging other nations to do the same -- Canada would help diminish the value of the Olympics as a propaganda tool for the Chinese government. Beijing is anxious for the event to be seen as a sort of coming-of-age party -- de facto proof that China has been accepted into the community of civilized nations. By boycotting the opening ceremonies, the message would be very different: We are sending our athletes to the Olympics because Beijing, regrettably, is the location the International Olympic Committee (IOC) selected -- but we are holding our nose while doing so.

We should be prepared to do more, too. If China's actions in Tibet (or anywhere else) becoming bloodier --if we begin to witness atrocities on the scale of the 1989 Tiananmen Square killings -- then Canada should boycott the Games outright.

Ottawa should now put the Chinese on notice that this is an option we are considering. We also should make plans for following through on the threat if the need arises. Specifically, Canada should attempt to form a coalition of democracies that would pressure the IOC to take the Summer Games away from China if events warrant. The Games wouldn't have to be canceled: Olympic sports could easily be divvied up among sites in other nations.

There are several stadiums -- including London's 90,000-seat New Wembley -- that could host track and field. Germany just hosted soccer's World Cup less than two years ago, and its pitches could accommodate the Olympic tournament. Basketball could be held at any one of 50 sites in the United States. Montreal recently hosted the world championships of diving, and could easily accommodate the aquatic events. And so on.

We have no illusions about the challenges that principled nations would face in implementing such a plan. Boycotts are often ineffectual. They seldom change the disputed policies of the host country. The 1980 boycott of the Moscow Olympics by Western athletes, for instance, neither convinced the Soviets to withdraw from Afghanistan nor brought about the immediate fall of communism.

"Alternative games" typically fare no better. Who remembers the Liberty Bell Classic organized in 1980 by the 29
countries that refused to send athletes to Moscow, or 1984's Friendship Games, held by the 50 countries that stayed away from that summer's Los Angeles Olympics in retaliation for the 1980 boycott? At both alternate competitions, several performances bested those of the gold medal winner at the official Olympics, but no one recalls who won at the second-best games.

The lesson: If a China boycott is to have real impact, the IOC must take away the official Olympics from China outright, and give the sports to other venues. The games that take place in alternate locations must be held under the banner of the "real" Olympics -- otherwise, they aren't worth staging.

Despite China's newfound wealth and growing international influence, the country's actions in Tibet show that its leaders are nothing more than old-style communists -- paranoid, nationalistic to the point of obsession and brutal to all those who challenge their policies. Yet so far, the IOC has been reluctant even to acknowledge China's sins -- despite the fact that China's actions contravene explicit promises Beijing made to IOC officials as a condition for being awarded the 2008 Games.

Even if China continues to commit atrocities against its own people, convincing IOC officials to move the Games will not be easy. That is why Ottawa must take a leadership role in building the groundwork-- starting now.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

In Canada, Chinese Media Stir Up Anger Against Tibetans

Some Chinese in Toronto plan rally in support of Chinese regime stance
By Matthew Little and Jason Loftus
Mar 27, 2008

FLAGS OF THEIR FATHERS: A young Tibetan girl participates in an oil-lamp vigil with about 500 Tibetans in exile in Kathmandu, Nepal, on March 21. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)
FLAGS OF THEIR FATHERS: A young Tibetan girl participates in an oil-lamp vigil with about 500 Tibetans in exile in Kathmandu, Nepal, on March 21. (Prakash Mathema/AFP/Getty Images)


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It was the kind of tightly scripted broadcast typical of state-run television in China. The narrator introduced the story: "Incited and masterminded by the Dalai Lama clique, a few criminals did beating, smashing, looting, and arson in downtown Lhasa, causing huge damage to people's lives and property."

Statements like this one, which opened a March 23 documentary on the unrest in Tibet, have been beamed into the homes of Chinese Canadians over the last two weeks via the communist regime's China Central Television 4 channel, which airs on Rogers Cable.

Last week, CCTV 4's segments on Tibet ranged from a few to 15 minutes in length and aired up to eight times a day. Each presented a one-sided account of events inside Lhasa since protests began there March 10.

Contradicting reports that police had violently crushed the protests, CCTV 4 said Chinese authorities had used "maximum restraint," not retaliating under attack, not cursing when criticized.

Followers of the Dalai Lama, however, were described repeatedly as "lawless rioters," purveying "atrocities" on innocent people, who were quoted professing their "hatred" of the protesters.

"Their sinister intentions are to take advantage of the occasion of the forthcoming Beijing Olympic Games to undermine the stability and unity of the social environment, in an attempt to split Tibet from the motherland," the narrator surmised.

For full coverage please see Repression in Tibet

Soft Power

Once confined to mainland China's media, the communist party line has now become dominant in Chinese-language media overseas. Broadcasting agreements like the one with Rogers and expanding influence over many Chinese-language press have helped Beijing get its message out.

The effects of such coverage can be seen in a rally being planned in Toronto's Dundas Square this weekend.

An organizer of the "anti-violence" rally, who asked to be identified only as Chris, says the event seeks to tell the "truth" about Tibet.

A flyer promoting the event includes still images from CCTV with captions like "'Peaceful' Tibetan protesters set fire to Lhasa secondary school. 90 % classrooms destroyed."

"The violence [is] created by the Tibetan people," Chris said in an interview. "They are against all the other ethnic people; they just want to drive everyone out … The Chinese government didn't do anything wrong."

Chris, like other Chinese, says he trusts some of the largest Chinese daily newspapers in Canada, like Sing Tao Daily, to tell him what's really happening in Tibet.

Financial Ties

But many of the Chinese-language press have also in recent years adopted editorial slants closely in line with the Chinese regime.

The Jamestown Foundation, a U.S.-based non-partisan think-tank that monitors threats to democracy and freedom, analyzed Beijing's influence on overseas Chinese media in 2001.

It found that three of the four major Chinese newspapers published in the U.S., the Sing Tao Daily, Ming Pao Daily News, and The China Press, were under the direct influence of the Chinese communist government.

The fourth, World Journal, is run by a parent company in Taiwan and had increasingly given in to pressure from Mainland China, Jamestown said.

"The Chinese media spin the story as anti-Chinese riots instead of anti-government riots. They try to make it something against the Chinese people. It is not against the Chinese people." —Tsering Wangdu Shakya, University of British Columbia Tibet Scholar

Three of those newspapers, Sing Tao, Ming Pao, and World Journal, also have Canadian editions.

"As preparation for Hong Kong's return to China in 1997, the Chinese government made vigorous attempts in the early 1990s to purchase several major media agencies in Hong Kong. This was done through the use of third-party merchants who have close business ties with China," said the report.

In the case of Sing Tao, the regime provided financial help to then-owner Sally Aw Sian, who ran into a financial crisis in the late 1980s, Jamestown said. What followed was the paper's transformation into a pro-communist paper that even saw a former editor of The People's Daily (the Chinese regime's official mouthpiece) take the helm.

Though in Canada Sing Tao is now majority owned by TorStar, which also owns the English-language Toronto Star, the Canadian outfit receives China news from the parent Sing Tao company in Hong Kong.

Today, most of the largest Chinese-language newspapers in Canada carry pro-Beijing journalism very similar to that found in communist China. (The notable exception is the Chinese edition of The Epoch Times. ) The latest protests in Tibet provide many examples.

Familiar Words

The Epoch Times reviewed dozens of articles from The World Journal, Ming Pao Daily and Sing Tao Daily and found a consistent pattern of reporting that parroted the Chinese communist party's line on events unfolding in Tibet. The papers relied heavily on Chinese government sources and used inflammatory quotes throughout their reports.

Police were depicted repeatedly as non-violent and almost passive, "extremely restrained," and "not fighting back when being bitten." Early reports described soldiers as being present but rather than suppressing protesters they were claimed to be "sweeping the road and cleaning the streets." ( Sing Tao, March 15, 18)

Tibetans, meanwhile, were consistently depicted as violent, vicious, and responsible for beating police to death. (Ming Bao, March 21) Other reports blamed Tibetans for killing innocent civilians.

Coverage in the papers consistently repeated Beijing's line that the Dalai Lama was behind the "severe criminal violence" in Tibet—and the regime's claim that there was ample evidence to prove this—without citing what the evidence was.

The newspapers also frequently adopted terms used by the Chinese state-run media to describe the events in Lhasa, referring to the Tibetan government in exile as the "fake government" and using the more violent word "riot" instead of "protest" or "unrest."

In the final analysis, the articles create the impression that restrained police were doing their best to contain violent, anti-Chinese Tibetans who were part of a well-coordinated attack on Chinese residents, soldiers and police in Lhasa. The articles lacked the context for the protests and depicted Tibetans as wildly engaged in "robbing, burning, and killing" during what would otherwise be Tibet's "best time in history." ( World Journal, March 16, 17)

The message appears to be getting through. Many Chinese people in democratic countries, including Canada, believe Tibetans are completely to blame for the unrest.

An article in the World Journal said the organizers of the "anti-violence" rally had received thousands of comments on their web page.

Human Rights

This has China human rights activists concerned.

"We are pretty disturbed by the fact that Chinese people around the world including in Canada are so misinformed," said Michael Craig, Chair with the China Rights Network.

Mr. Craig noted that while many Tibetans have been killed and now "hundreds and hundreds" have been arrested, letters in the Globe and Mail that day revealed Chinese people in China and Toronto are up in arms about what they consider to be violent separatists in Tibet.

"It's a terrible shame that the propaganda of the Chinese government is working," he said.

University of British Columbia Tibet scholar Tsering Wangdu Shakya says apart from that, some Chinese may see supporting the crackdown as a "good opportunity to toe the party line."

"The more you cooperate with the government the more you are seen as a good person," he said, adding that visible participation may help Chinese students to get better jobs on returning to China.

But while Chinese media have depicted the protests as being engineered by the Dalai Lama and violent secessionists, Shakya says the true reason lies in a growing gap between the rich and the poor that has come about as the regime has encouraged Han Chinese flood into Tibet, marginalizing the Tibetan people.

"They [the Chinese media] spin the story as anti-Chinese riots, instead of anti-government riots," says Shakya. "They try to make it something against the Chinese people. It is not against the Chinese people."

Shakya said the largest gap between the rich and poor in China is within Tibet. Communist cadres are at the rich end, while average Tibetans at the poor, he says.

But grievances such as these are not mentioned in the Chinese media reports reviewed by Epoch Times staff for this story.

Which may explain why Chinese immigrants like Chris, who rely on such coverage are so convinced. Chris says his event has "received a lot of support."

Meanwhile, Tibetan supporters in Canada see the situation from an entirely different angle. Lobsang Khedup, president of Tibetan Youth Congress summed it up.

"Chinese people are suffering like us under the communist regime."

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Sources at British Spy Agency Confirm Tibetan Claims of Staged Violence

Epoch Times By Gordon Thomas
Mar 27, 2008

Tibetans and Han Chinese residents look at Chinese soldiers as they patrol a street in Kangding county, the capital of Ganzi Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, in China's southwestern Sichuan province. (Teh Eng Koon/AFP/Getty Images)



LONDON—Britain's GCHQ, the government communications agency that electronically monitors half the world from space, has confirmed the claim by the Dalai Lama that agents of the Chinese People's Liberation Army, the PLA, posing as monks, triggered the riots that have left hundreds of Tibetans dead or injured.

GCHQ analysts believe the decision was deliberately calculated by the Beijing leadership to provide an excuse to stamp out the simmering unrest in the region, which is already attracting unwelcome world attention in the run-up to the Olympic Games this summer.

For weeks there has been growing resentment in Lhasa, Tibet's capital, against minor actions taken by the Chinese authorities.

Increasingly, monks have led acts of civil disobedience, demanding the right to perform traditional incense burning rituals. With their demands go cries for the return of the Dalai Lama, the 14th to hold the high spiritual office.

Committed to teaching the tenets of his moral authority—peace and compassion—the Dalai Lama was 14 when the PLA invaded Tibet in 1950 and he was forced to flee to India from where he has run a relentless campaign against the harshness of Chinese rule.

He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the year of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

But critics have objected to his attraction to film stars. Newspaper magnate Rupert Murdoch has called him: "A very political monk in Gucci shoes."

Discovering that his supporters inside Tibet and China would become even more active in the months approaching the Olympic Games this summer, British intelligence officers in Beijing learned the ruling regime would seek an excuse to move and crush the present unrest.

For full coverage please see Repression in Tibet

That fear was publicly expressed by the Dalai Lama. GCHQ's satellites, geo-positioned in space, were tasked to closely monitor the situation.

The doughnut-shaped complex, near Cheltenham racecourse, is set in the pleasant Cotswolds in the west of England. Seven thousand employees include the best electronic experts and analysts in the world. Between them they speak more than 150 languages. At their disposal are 10,000 computers, many of which have been specially built for their work.

A Tibetan activist lights oil lamps in memory of the people killed accross Tibet during a series of protest last week, in New Delhi. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)
A Tibetan activist lights oil lamps in memory of the people killed accross Tibet during a series of protest last week, in New Delhi. (Pedro Ugarte/AFP/Getty Images)

The images they downloaded from the satellites provided confirmation the Chinese used agent provocateurs to start riots, which gave the PLA the excuse to move on Lhasa to kill and wound over the past week.

What the Beijing regime had not expected was how the riots would spread, not only across Tibet, but also to Sichuan, Quighai and Gansu provinces, turning a large area of western China into a battle zone.

The Dalai Lama has called it "cultural genocide" and has offered to resign as head of the protests against Chinese rule in order to bring peace. The current unrest began on March 10, marking the anniversary of the 1959 Uprising against Chinese rule.

However, his followers are not listening to his "message of compassion." Many of them are young, unemployed and dispossessed and reject his philosophy of non-violence, believing the only hope for change is the radical action they are now carrying out.

For Beijing, the urgent need to find a solution to the uprising is one of growing embarrassment. In two weeks time, the national celebrations for the Olympic Games start with the traditional torch relay. The torch bearers are scheduled to pass through Tibet. But the torch could find itself being carried by runners past burning buildings and temples.

A sign of this urgency is that the Chinese prime minister has now said he is prepared to hold talks with the Dalai Lama. Just before this announcement, Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared he would meet the Dalai Lama, who is to visit London next month. This is the first time either leader has proposed to meet the Dalai Lama.

Gordon Thomas is the author of the newly published Secrets & Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare (Octavo Editions, USA) and the forthcoming Inside British Intelligence (JR Books, UK).

About the author / Amazon:

THE AUTHOR GORDON THOMAS is the author of forty books. Total sales exceed 45 million copies. Several were Main Selections for the US Book of the Month Club, the Literary Guild and the Readers Digest Book Club. He has received two Mark Twain Society Awards for Reporting Excellence. Seven of his books are major motion pictures, including the five times Academy Award-nominated Voyage of the Damned. His bestseller, Gideon s Spies: The Secret History of the Mossad, became a major documentary, which he wrote and narrated for Britain s Channel Four and it was later shown worldwide. This book followed almost three years of research during which he was given unprecedented access to Mossad s key personnel. The book has been published worldwide Gordon Thomas writes on intelligence matters for The Sunday Express (UK), El Mundo (Spain), Welt Am Sonntag and Bild (Germany); Wprost (Poland); and Daily Telegraph (Australia). He is a regular broadcaster on current affairs for the BBC and US networks. He has lectured widely on the secrets of the intelligence world. He is currently at work on his new book Inside British Intelligence to be published next year.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

China's behavior merits a boycott

SPORTS DOCTOR- published March 27, 2008

Despite the synthesized soundtrack, Chariots of Fire is a very inspirational movie. Eric Liddell's story of faith, dedication, and sportsmanship embodies the best of both the Olympic and the human spirit.

You can bet that if he were alive today, Liddell wouldn't participate in the Beijing Olympics.

That human rights-violating China even nominated itself as an Olympic host city is galling; the IOC's serf-like acquiescence to the idea is just gravy: Yes, China. Anything you say, China. Of course you can host the Olympics, China. Now will you keep exporting those plastic laurel leaves?

Back in 1924, Liddell put the world on notice by refusing to run the 100 meters at the Paris Olympics. It's not that he didn't want to run. The 100-meter race took place on a Sunday, and Liddell couldn't run on a Sunday.

The Lord's Day, you see. (Liddell won the gold in the 400 later.)

If Liddell were here, he wouldn't be running in the 2008 Games-- not on a Sunday or any other day. If he set foot in China, he'd be arrested, detained, imprisoned, and deported.

The son of missionaries, Liddell became a missionary himself and returned to his birth country (Tianjin in North China) to work and teach. He braved mortal danger and was ultimately imprisoned, enslaved, and starved. He died in 1945 in a work camp on his native soil.

Four years later China expelled and subsequently banned Christian missionaries. The ban still holds, and "official" Chinese churches are affiliated with and regulated by the government. Many Chinese Christians meet secretly, braving interrogation, imprisonment, and often death.

Chapter 5 of the Olympic Charter reads: "No kind of demonstration or political, religious, or racial propaganda is permitted in the Olympic areas." How convenient. China can blast water cannons all day and the IOC won't bat an eye.

Won't we ever learn?

Back in 1936 when our own Jesse Owens (bless him!) made Adolf Hitler look like a buffoon, the British Olympic committee ordered their soccer team to give a Nazi salute before a game. You can look up the picture.

Not the Olympics' proudest moment, yet we are doomed to repeat it.

It's not enough to prohibit demonstrations and propaganda in Beijing; such "unsportsmanlike" conduct must be preemptively curtailed.

But how? By forcing athletes to sign statements promising not to criticize the Communist Chinese government at all. Reportedly the British Olympic Committee has forced their athletes to sign these statements already, under penalty of expulsion from the Olympic team.

Lads, don't forget to leave that Bible at home, too. It's banned, you know. Yes, Olympic organizers have put the Bible on the list of items athletes are prohibited from bringing to Beijing. (I haven't seen the whole list, but Catcher in the Rye and Common Sense must there somewhere.)

If an athlete isn't Christian, not to worry. Mosques have been purged, imams vetted, and those war-mongering Buddhists have been, ahem, contained.

No, Eric Liddell wouldn't run in the upcoming Olympics. He would do what everyone who values liberty and humanity should do: he would decry these Olympics to all who would listen.

To date, no Eric Liddell has shown up to denounce China. No president, no prime minister, no King or Queen has done more than criticize Beijing's smog problem. No athlete has refused to compete unless the Bible or Koran is packed in a carry-on bag (only marathoner Haile Gebrselassie refused: smog). No torchbearer has refused to set foot in Tibet to protest its occupation.

The Olympic Spirit isn't about competition; it's about the best of humanity, the triumph of mankind over adversity, a sense of fair play and sportsmanship that can't otherwise exist. It's not supposed to be about most favored trade nation status.

Grease up those elbows. It looks like we've got a salute coming (and I don't mean Black Power).

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Stop ignoring China's brutality and start a modified boycott of the Beijing Games

National Post; Posted: March 26, 2008, 6:52 PM by Marni Soupcoff
Father Raymond J. De Souza

Surely, there must be a certain incomprehension in Beijing these days. After all, the Chinese regime has been breaking heads since 1949, and the world has more or less gotten used to it. Why should it be different this time?

The question for friends of Tibet, for friends of the Chinese people, for friends of liberty, should be: Can it be different this time?

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is desperately trying to ensure that nothing disrupts the Games. IOC President Jacques Rogge assures everyone that he is engaged in “silent diplomacy” with the Chinese on human rights questions. The IOC remains silent, and fervently hopes everyone goes along diplomatically. Remember, in 1993, the IOC came within two votes of awarding the 2000 Olympic Games to Beijing, even as there were still bloodstains in Tiananmen Square. The IOC wants a tranquil Games, happy sponsors who get what they paid for, and for everyone to break bread happily with the Chinese. For that, it is necessary to ignore the breaking of heads throughout the land.

The world can rightly claim to be appalled by the Tibetan crackdown — reports from Tibetan groups detail brutal torture and killings of monks and nuns — but no one can claim to be shocked. Is there a regime more ghastly than that of the People’s Republic of China?

Is there any other government that so systematically suppresses all religious liberty, erecting religious bureaucracies to which believers are required to belong in order to worship? Is there any other regime that still imprisons and kills bishops, priests and monks who fail to swear loyalty to the state? Is there any other country where the entire population is subject to child-bearing control, with forced sterilization and abortions for those who decline to submit to state rules on family size? Is there any other regime that executes thousands of its citizens annually, the majority for the crime of challenging the ruling party? Is there any other country accused (by credible sources) of executing religious dissidents, harvesting their organs and selling them? Is there any other regime more dependable in its support of the worst kind of evil around the world (Darfur)?

Even the vile regimes in Saudi Arabia, Cuba, North Korea and Zimbabwe do not compare to China across the breadth of its human rights violations.
The question is whether China’s size and growing prosperity mean that all this has to be ignored. The answer the world has given has generally been yes. There is business to be done, and political leaders are there to facilitate that, human rights be damned.

Canada’s record is no cause for pride. Brian Mulroney, not a month after retiring as an MP, was in China, lobbying for the Desmarais family interests. During their terms in office, both Chr├ętien and Martin were China enthusiasts, favouring the sort of silent diplomacy that gets the contracts signed.

Now, the Olympics offer a chance to do something different. The idea of some kind of boycott is being discussed seriously. And for our part, Canada has a federal government more committed to human rights in China than ever before. The situation is therefore propitious for Canada to take the lead. The Prime Minister, preferably in joint action with opposition leaders, should announce that no federal political officials will attend the Beijing Games.

China’s strangulation of Tibet is only an extension of the suffocation of liberty in China itself. Should the Olympics go off as planned, China will rightly conclude that the world has made its peace with Beijing’s oppression, and is indifferent to whether the Olympic rings are used as shackles. A modified boycott would expose that as a lie.

This time, it can be different.

OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

China: Reminders of Tiananmen Square

UNPO: Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Active ImageHuman Rights Without Frontiers calls on world leaders to boycott the opening ceremony as Beijing continues to flaunt its citizens’ rights.

Below is an article published by Human Rights Without Frontiers:

At the moment when the US inexplicably dropped China from its list of worst human rights violators, the country which hosts this summer's Olympics began spilling the blood of unarmed Tibetan Buddhists.

Violent repression started five days after peaceful protests began in memory of the anniversary of a 1959 rebellion against Chinese rule. Response to violence has produced the worst unrest in Lhasa in two decades. Whether the victims number 10, 80, 100 or more, China’s resort to violence shows once again that Chinese leaders have not abandoned the methods of the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre as they crush and silence peaceful social protest.

Failing to address legitimate long-simmering resentment, Beijing prefers to pursue cultural genocide in Tibet, while canting its sclerotic rhetoric representing peaceful demonstrations as riots "organized, premeditated and masterminded by the Dalai Lama clique." The Chinese-installed head of Tibet's government claims a "plot of separatists" that "will fail." Three days after the first victims fell in Lhasa, violence spread into neighboring Sichuan, Qinghai and Western Gansu provinces, all home to sizable Tibetan populations.

Just days before monks began protesting in Tibet, Chinese media began accusing Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (XUAR) of masterminding a "separatist terrorist" plot to hijack a plane flying from their capital city Urumchi to Beijing. Beijing's incessant campaign of repression and cultural genocide against Tibetans and Uyghurs reveals uncontrolled anti-separatist paranoia.

On the eve of the Olympics, accumulating consequences of Beijing's incessant human rights failures besiege it, revealing gaping cracks of hypocrisy in its wall of pretended social harmony.

Chinese authorities make promises that they do not keep.

In 2001 the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2008 Olympic Games to Beijing, because the Beijing bidding committee pledged that hosting of the Games would "help the development of human rights." The Beijing committee also pledged "there will be no restrictions on media reporting and movement of journalists up to and including the Olympic Games." On December 18, 2007 a conference at the European Parliament ended with a conclusion by twelve European human rights NGOs, six parliamentarians and four Sakharov Prize laureates that China had not made any substantial progress in its human rights record. Their declaration: "Human rights in China 2001-2007: No Olympic Medal."

If freedom of expression is promised to foreign journalists before and during the Olympics, Chinese journalists will not enjoy the same "privilege." They remain under threat of censorship and repression. Further, the temporary "freedom" granted to foreign media risks to be theoretical, as Beijing is rapidly placing human rights defenders, lawyers, trade-unionists and environmental activists in prison or otherwise making them "inaccessible" for interview by European journalists.

As with minorities, so for ordinary citizens, Beijing's answer to criticism stays the same: brutal repression.

Assault, intimidation, harassment and politicized prosecution of rights defenders intensify, even while China promises June 2008 implementation of protective provisions in the amended "Lawyers Law of the People's Republic of China." Arrest and imprisonment of Gao Zhisheng, a close friend of the vice-president of the European Parliament Edward McMillan-Scott, and other well-known lawyers undermine the rule of law and intimidate their colleagues. Li Heping, Christian lawyer based in Beijing and defender of political dissidents, human rights defenders and believers, was barred from representing jailed human rights advocate Qiao Yanbing. Then in autumn 2007, […] his family [was] threatened by unidentified people who afterwards presented themselves as security officers.

Blind human rights lawyer Chen Guangcheng was sentenced to four years and three months in jail for speaking against coercive family planning practices in Shandong Province. In March of this year [2008] his lawyer, Teng Biao, was […] missing for days before being released by police.

Another victim of pre-Olympic repression, environmental activist Hu Jia, was arrested at the end of December [2007], accused of "subverting state authority," an oft-used charge against dissidents.

World-record holding marathoner Haile Gebrselassie has said he might skip the Games because of the high level of pollution in Beijing. Steven Spielberg ended his involvement as an artistic advisor for the opening and closing ceremonies, citing Beijing's support for the genocidal regime in Khartoum. Prince Charles of Britain declared he would not attend the Games.

Human Rights Without Frontiers International calls upon Heads of State, Prime Ministers, Royal Families, Heads of the European Institutions, Members of the European and national Parliaments to ignore invitations from Beijing to attend the Games and to refuse to sit next to a president and ministers who are responsible for the latest bloodshed in Tibet, the torture of Falun Gong practitioners, the detention of human rights activists, the murderous one-child policy, and the execution of North Korean refugees forcibly repatriated to their country.

No Ethics? No Olympics!


OLYMPIC WATCH: Human Rights in China and Beijing 2008