Agam's Gecko
Saturday, June 07, 2008
Lhasa troops
Sports tourists must behave themselves at the Olympics, and are not permitted to travel freely in the country. Especially not to Tibetan areas. Visiting the holy city of Lhasa (above) is of course strictly prohibited.
Photo: Reuters

he International Olympic Committee has just held its final meeting before the big 8-8-8 event commences, perhaps with the hope that the Chinese lucky numbers will forestall another looming disaster. It's not that the IOC doesn't have concerns -- they certainly do. The main one is evidently illegal gambling, and they will be monitoring that very closely.

But, er, excuse me Mr. IOC President Jacques Rogge, isn't there anything else causing you any worry? Such as China's triumphalist parading of their newest nationalist symbol, Her Flaming Harmoniousness, through the tormented lands of Tibet? With political re-education campaigns raging there, fueling the ever-increasing resentment of the people of the plateau, is it really wise to just look the other way?
"The Chinese have expressed the wish to pass in all their provinces and regions," he said. "Tibet is a part of China and a region of China, so we think it is normal that they pass through Tibet."
What is normal for Mr. Rogge is not normal for most normal people. A massive region is under military lockdown, arrests and forced disappearances continue, and anyone adhering to his conscience is at risk. Perhaps the Chinese government has convinced Mr. Rogge that such conditions are normal in Tibet, but they will never be considered normal by any civilised human being.

In any case, he's not sure anymore about these grand torch relays, and whether there's a place for them in the future.
"We're not blind, neither naive," he said. "The torch has been utilized by protesters. Unfortunately, these protests have been violent. ... We will study this objectively."
Excuse me once again Mr. Rogge, but you are extremely naive, and quite possibly blind as well. Yes, the torch was a focus for international concern about the CCP's ongoing "people's war" (in their own words). And why shouldn't it have been? Doing a triumphant victory dance around the world while trampling monks, nuns and common citizens under jackboots at home will tend to get some reactions. Many people in this world object to such behaviour by nation states against their own citizens. They are right to do so.

But the international protests have not been violent -- unless laying on the road is violent. Even the single celebrated case of a "Tibetan" (who arrived at the protest alongside Chinese patriots) trying to snatch the torch in Paris is borderline. If you wish to cite this one incident to conclude that "these protests have been violent," what of the persistent and much greater violence repeatedly carried out by Chinese government-organised mobs in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Canberra, Seoul, Nagano and Hong Kong?

Come on now, get real. Since you care nothing of the Chinese government bashing heads of peaceful nuns on pavement in Tibet, shooting their guns into crowds of people chanting for freedom, and subjecting their prisoners to such torture behind closed doors that they often die within days of their release (to keep the CCP's hands "clean"!), the least you could do is lay the blame for the international violent incidents where it belongs.

Tibet is not "normal." The human rights protesters around the world were not the violent ones. The violence in both cases originated with the CCP government of China. Even the one day of rioting in Lhasa on March 14 can be laid squarely at their door.

But the CCP knows how to put on a happy face as well, even while snarling at those it wishes to intimidate. The "Olympic Four Step" is now part of a nationwide campaign to teach people how to be proper sporting spectators, and has been officially approved by the Communist Party.

Do the Patriotic Cheer

The raised two clenched fists finale is a nice touch. Training of close to a million school children in the "Four Step" will soon commence across the capital. The Games' medal presenters must also adhere to some strict rules. The Party does love to make rules.
The girls — no males — selected to carry medals at each presentation ceremony are undergoing full-time training in just how many teeth to show when they smile (six) and how deeply they should bow (45 degrees followed by a lesser dip of 15 degrees).
Authorities have issued a guideline booklet in the Chinese language, with 57 rules for foreigners who plan to attend the games. Luckily, the human rights group Human Rights In China has provided a translation for those few foreigners who don't understand the Chinese language.

Entry is prohibited to prostitutes, smugglers, the mentally ill, anyone with sexual disease, people who like to take naps in the park, terrorists and those "who are believed to potentially engage in other activities that may harm the national security and interests." Since people like Rebiya Kadeer have been convicted and jailed for sending out newspaper clippings through the mail, clearly anything can be declared a "state secret" -- even retroactively.

So be very careful Olympic-goers! Trying to take home a Chinese novelty (like that funny newspaper article you found, to show your friends what actual modern communist propaganda looks like) could land you on trial. And if that happens, as HRIC is kind enough to note, the recent crackdown on lawyers willing to accept sensitive human rights cases (such as the railroaded Tibetans convicted with summary justice) could just possibly be a problem for you.

Unconfirmed reports that IOC President Jacques Rogge was happy to overlook the entire Tibet crackdown; the jailing of thousands of peaceful protestors and disappearances of hundreds more; the expulsion of journalists; the punishment of lawyers; and the launch of a massive Cultural Revolution across the Tibetan plateau, has ordered the total cancellation of the 2008 Games because not allowing tourists to take a nap in the park was "going too far," could not be verified at press time.

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