Sunday, April 27, 2008
CHINESE 'STUDENTS' CLASH WITH RIGHTS SUPPORTERS, POLICE IN SEOUL
iolent attacks were reported by some of the thousands of Chinese 'students' who filled Seoul's streets today in support of their country. Rocks, garbage, chunks of wood, and who knows what all was thrown at supporters of human rights for Tibetans, for the Chinese people themselves, and for North Korean defectors who are unfortunate enough to be found within China. These defectors from the communist North are routinely refouled back into the clutches of the Kim Jong-il regime for their likely imprisonment, torture and execution.
A least one man apparently tried to immolate himself in protest of China's policy regarding the defectors. The man, 45-year-old Son Jong Hoon, had led an unsuccessful campaign to save his brother from execution in North Korea. His brother was accused of spying after the two had met each other in China. Police today stopped Son and another man after they sprayed flammable liquid over themselves in the middle of the street near the torch.
Hundreds of China supporters waving the Chinese flag greeted the torch, throwing rocks at anti-Beijing demonstrators. Police ran alongside the flame and rode horses and bicycles on the relay across the city, which hosted the 1988 Olympics.Over 8,000 police took part in the security operation for a 24-kilometre run. Olympic Park was one scene of violence.
Scuffles broke out near the park between a group of 500 Chinese supporters and about 50 demonstrators. The Chinese side threw stones and water bottles at the others as some 2,500 police tried to keep the two groups apart.The Chinese "forces" overwhelmed the torch protesters. I've yet to find a report of violence from the human rights side.
A rock hit a journalist in the head, but there were apparently no other injuries.
A brief clash between the two groups ended when riot police carrying shields separated them. Some Chinese threw water bottles, stones, chunks of wood, dairy products and drink cans at their adversaries.
Near the park, witnesses said Chinese students surrounded and beat a small group of protesters. They said a local newspaper photographer suffered a head injury from a stone thrown by the students.
Dalai Lama has returned to India, where his spokesman said that talks with China will only be useful if they are serious. One can only wonder how serious they might be, with Chinese state-controlled media continuing its vilification campaign against him.
"The Dalai clique has always been masters at games with words and the ideas that they have tossed about truly make the head spin," the People's Daily, the top paper of the ruling Communist Party, said in a commentary.Does it mean the rock-throwers in Seoul today are national heroes? Only People's Daily knows for sure.
"Questions of sovereignty are beyond debate and splitting China is sure to fail."
"Faced with Tibet independence, the Chinese government and people, and overseas Chinese, have shown unprecedented unity. ...Those who follow national unity are national heroes, and those who split the nation are criminals to history."
The Tibetans have been asking for genuine dialogue for years, receiving only empty face to face meetings which the government would later downplay as "social visits." Xinhua, which first reported on the official about-face on Friday, continued its own slander campaign today.
But China's official Xinhua news agency on Sunday called the Dalai Lama's government-in-exile, based in Dharamsala, India, an illegitimate organization bent on stirring separatist unrest.While heaping criticism on the Tibetan leader and pouring out the Party's twisted history of Tibet continued in China's media, it was reported that the well-known Tibetan writer Oeser has been shut out of her own blog.
"By distorting the facts and spreading rumors, it has slandered China with claims of violating human rights in Tibet," said the news agency.
Meanwhile, Woeser, a dissident Tibetan writer said Sunday that her blog — a source of information for the recent unrest — had been hacked into for the second time in a month. She said someone had changed her password, leaving her unable to log on and post new material.Until she can regain control over her own website, posting of comments by visitors can be monitored by whomever does have control. The attack is one of many by Chinese patriot hackers against news and information sites which they deem insufficiently patriotic. If, as the Chinese government claims, they have nothing to hide, why are they trying so hard to hide it? Oeser was posting daily accounts of what is happening now inside Tibet.
"I don't know who is doing this," she said in a telephone interview from Beijing. It is likely that someone may not want people to see what is going on in Tibet.
"What I write is the truth and they don't want people to see these writings so they want to damage my blog." said Woeser, who like some Tibetans, goes by one name.
"I find it impossible to believe there has been no suppression on human rights, or problems of human rights, at all.Most media (in the countries which have seen the torch pass through them already) seem relieved to see the hind end of that torch, so they could move on to something else. But some reporters at Sydney's Daily Telegraph have stayed on the story.
"But there is no knowing how far it has gone," Komura told a Sunday programme at the private Fuji television network.
"Unless they have transparency, it can't be helped that the world suspects the side in power is doing it (suppressing human rights)," he said.
The Australian Capital Territory authorities have confirmed that the 10,000 'students' who filled Canberra's streets on Thursday were there with the "close involvement" of the Chinese Embassy. The revelation could trigger a diplomatic row.
Demonstration leaders used "colour-coded uniforms" for recognition, and two-way radios. Kunchok Gyaltsen told a Daily Telegraph reporter, watching a mass of Chinese students as they confronted the Tibetan, that he'd had one flag stolen by the crowd earlier.
"They started beating me, kicking me. There were one or two of them grabbing my hair. . . there were people calling out saying catch him, beat him."A local Tibetan rights supporter originally from Nepal described one Chinese father who seemed to use his own young son for "protester-bait."
He says he was walking toward Parliament House when, "I saw a mob of Chinese men. They started yelling and hitting me with their flags.A Chinese mob chased pro-Tibet demonstrators through busy traffic on Commonwealth Bridge as the crush of people tried to enter the park for the big finale. Canberran Huw Slater tried to raise his Tibetan flag.
"There was a father with his son who was about five or six years old and the kid was hitting me. His father actually said to him, 'Keep hitting him.'
"Then he said to me, 'if you don't like it, hit him in the head'. He wanted me to hit his son, so he could retaliate and the whole thing could get out of hand."
"It was like a lynch mob waiting for you," he said.There are two videos on that last page for your enjoyment. Australian Immigration officials were also making video records for posterity.
"As soon as I got in there they beat me up. It was just madness. They'd surround me as a group and then they'd hit me with their flag sticks.
"I'm in the middle and there's no coppers around, anywhere."