Agam's Gecko
Saturday, May 03, 2008
Democracy restrained
A pro-democracy Hong Konger is stopped as he tried to approach Her Flaming Harmoniousness on May 2, 2008.
Photo: REUTERS / Kin Cheung

uman rights campaigners were ejected from Hong Kong prior to the procession of the Harmonious Torch of Flaming Greatness yesterday, but rights campaigners who are also famous actresses were given special dispensation. Mia Farrow delivered a tough speech to the local journalist community on China's complicity in the Darfur genocide, but also expressed her support for the Tibetan freedom movement while a number of Tibet campaigners were on their way home after being refused entry to the special, "democratic" region of China.

The Harmonious Procession came off with a few incidents of dissent on Friday, while Chinese patriots shouted insults and abuse at human rights supporters.
Some in the patriotic mob yelled, "Do you think this is Paris?" to a small group of pro-democracy supporters as they peacefully demonstrated near the start of the torch route. It was a reference to the French leg of the relay that was disrupted by protests.

Police had to put another protester holding a Tibetan flag into a police van after she was threatened by 30 torch supporters who pushed and shoved a dozen officers who were protecting her.
That was Christine Chan, who I've heard had made her big Snow Lion flag herself. It wasn't manufactured in PRC, although some others might have been.
A small group carried protest signs that said "Olympic flame for democracy" and "Build a democratic China."

Another group of seven pro-democracy activists were overwhelmed by torch supporters, who drowned out the activists' slogans with insults like "running dog," "traitor" and "get out!"

The activists, holding a banner that said, "Return power to the people," were surrounded by 80 police and eventually ducked into a police vehicle for protection.

Many torch supporters were apparently from mainland China because they chanted slogans and hurled insults in Mandarin, not the local Cantonese dialect.
Hong Kong police detained about 20 people after scuffles along the route Her Flaming Harmoniousness took through the city yesterday.
In one incident on Friday, police carted away about a dozen pro-democracy activists after they had scuffled with around 100 supporters of China, who cheered and clapped as the protesters were taken away.

"They are supporting a guy who has betrayed our country," said 24-year-old Yvette Dhang, referring to Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama.
As we see, many of the patriots had come over from the less democratic side of China to enjoy their democratic freedoms in the 'Special Region'. But foreign human rights supporters were turned around at the airport and sent right back to their point of origin.
In a separate incident, about 10 pro-Tibet protesters were loaded into a police van after being heckled by China supporters, who cheered when they were pushed into the vehicle.

"This is the first Chinese city that the torch is coming to," protester Christina Chan told AFP before police took her away.

"We wanted to show that Chinese people can have rational discussions about Tibet."
Yes Christina, that's what you wanted to show. But your and your friends' bravery actually showed that the aggregate of "Chinese people" aren't quite ready for that yet.

Lhadon Tethong of Students for a Free Tibet, Tsering Lama and Kate Woznow of SFT Canada, and Matt Whitticase of the UK-based Free Tibet Campaign had planned a press conference for yesterday afternoon in Hong Kong. Lhadon cancelled her flight after the others were deported, but the four still kept their appointment with the press at 2 pm Hong Kong time. A live web-based telecast brought them together from London, New York and Toronto, and they made their presentation on time.

The briefing is available to view at the SFTtv Live Video Room. It's a multi-user streaming system which loops the archived video continuously, so if you tune in mid-way, just keep on watching and it will come around again.

Rongbo Monastery, Everest
A monk strikes the gong for prayer call at the highest monastery in the world, at 5,100 metres on the foot of Chomo Langma (Mount Everest) on May 3, 2008.
Photo: REUTERS / David Gray
SFT has also put together a great interactive map showing the proposed Route of Harmonious Torchiness through Tibet next month, in the context of the locations of public protests across the plateau these past eight and a half weeks.

Hong Kong also permitted entry and onward passage to the representatives of the Tibetan government and Dalai Lama yesterday, who are the very entities which the previously ejected activists were seeking to support. I don't suppose the contradiction has dawned on anyone over there.

As the Tibetan envoys arrive in China today, Chinese state media kept up its barrage of invective against the Tibetan spiritual leader. The Party mouthpieces carried no references to the imminent meeting between the two sides. The "Tibet Daily" continued its warnings about the "Dalai clique."
"As long as the Dalai clique still exists, our struggle with the Dalai clique will not stop. We must raise our vigilance and absolutely cannot relax," the newspaper said Saturday.
The paper also quoted a member of a government advisory board on Tibet, lashing out in standard CCP fashion.
"The Dalai clique's fond dream of 'Tibet independence' and its dangerous plan of sabotaging Tibet's economy and the Beijing Olympics will be shattered," Tibet Daily quoted the member saying.
The talks are not expected to be held in Beijing, according to the Office of the Dalai Lama in Dharamsala. Chinese authorities appear to be in no mood for compromise, hiding from their people the very existance of the talks while directing their propaganda organs to denounce Dalai Lama as a criminal.
"Patriotic people of Tibet strongly condemn and vehemently denounce the litany of crimes committed by the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and his followers," said the official Tibet Daily, according to the region's official news Website (www.chinatibetnews.com).
Nationalistic fervor has gripped China in recent weeks, directed against everything from French retail outlets to foreign media organisations, and even to the "Western" idea of democracy itself. Yet while the authorities seem intent on inflaming passions further, Professor Shi Yinhong of Renmin University in Beijing says the government may be sensitive about the volatile situation. "You risk losing your credibility with both sides with talks at this time. The talks expose the government to criticism that it's being too soft," he told Reuters.

The "Tibet Daily" reiterated the charges that Time Magazine's Most Influential Person himself had orchestrated the March 14 riot in Lhasa, in order to wreck the Olympic Games.
"The Dalai clique's hopes of achieving Tibetan independence are increasingly dim, and at this time when their hopes have been destroyed, the Dalai clique launched a bloody violent event -- their last bout of madness," said the paper.
To me, it seems like it's Chinese editorial writers who are experiencing their "last bout of madness." People's Daily added, "The religion issue is merely a card played by the Dalai clique to garner sympathy from some people."

One of the most influential Buddhist teachers in Taiwan, Hsing Yun told Reuters that he was calling for "mutual respect and tolerance" between China and their perceived nemesis, saying that China needed to see him as a friend rather than an enemy.
"The Dalai Lama is Tibet's spiritual leader. Politically, (China) should turn (him) from an enemy into a friend," Hsing Yun said in an interview...

Asked what he thought of the Dalai Lama, Hsing Yun said they have met several times and he found the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize laureate to be "optimistic, bright and cheerful, always wearing a smile and easy to get along with".
Just about everybody says that. One simply cannot meet him without being impressed by his humility, grace and good humour. I'll bet that even Chinese state-controlled media mouthpiece organ editorial writers would come around, if they had the opportunity.

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