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Protesters' parks

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James Reynolds | 14:04 UK time, Wednesday, 23 July 2008

"No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas."
- Article 51.3 of the Olympic Charter

China has made it clear that it will actively enforce this rule during the Beijing Games. The organisers say that fans won't be able to take in any banners or leaflets which contain political, religious, racial, commercial, military, or other messages. This ban even includes traditional "Go China" banners (the logic being that cheering for China alone would count as political propaganda).

National stadium, BeijingThat covers demonstrations inside Olympic venues. But what about demonstrations outside the venues - in the city of Beijing itself? In previous Olympics, special areas have been set aside for protesters. Will Beijing do the same?

We've been trying to get the answer to this question for several months. This morning we finally got our chance. The director of the security department of the Beijing Games, Liu Shaowu, held a press conference at the newly-opened Olympic media centre (the conference was held in a room the size of a cinema).

Mr Liu presented his overall security plan for the games - a plan which includes the deployment of a battery of surface-to-air missiles near the Olympic stadium.

A reporter asked him about special protest areas.

"We have designated places for demonstrations at several parks," Mr Liu replied, without giving any further information.

A correspondent in front of me, from CNN, was then called on. "Sorry, you said that there would be dedicated places for protests. Which park will that be?"

Lady knitting in Ritan park, Beijing"We have three parks," Mr Liu replied "One in Fengtai district - Shijie park, and one in the Haidian district - the Zizhuyuan park, and Ritan park in the Chaoyang district. They are all close to the city proper and the Olympic venues."

A very specific reply - but the names of the parks were delivered so quickly that journalists after the press conference had to gather round to make sure they'd written them down correctly. (I got the exact words later from the recording we made of the press conference.)

In theory, we shouldn't have to worry about getting everything down at the time - because the official website of the Beijing Games quickly posts a transcript of all of its press conferences.

But I've learned that these official transcripts don't always include everything that was said. A year ago, I asked a reasonably difficult question about rumours that Steven Spielberg would resign as an artistic advisor to the Beijing Olympics (he eventually did so in February this year). My question - together with the frosty reply that it provoked - was left out of the transcript.

So, this afternoon, I checked the transcript of this most recent press conference.

The transcript - both in English and in Chinese - leaves out the specific bit where Mr Liu names the three parks designated as protest areas (the transcript appears to include everything else that was said at the press conference). I asked a Beijing Games official about the omission - he said that he didn't have an explanation for it.

I'm not sure what to make of the omission. But if you want to know what Beijing Olympic officials have been saying (and what they get asked) - you can't always rely exclusively on the official version online.

Comments

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  • 1. At 3:09pm on 23 Jul 2008, objection2it wrote:

    Nice to know that China will follow International Olympic rules and laws and not make up their own.

    The west can not say this time that China is banning human rights at the Olympic Games.

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  • 2. At 3:14pm on 23 Jul 2008, Jimitintin wrote:

    So I think BBC has the right to release the transcript. I would like to request for that. Thank you for your productivity:)

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  • 3. At 3:17pm on 23 Jul 2008, Hobo_Bob wrote:

    **This comment has been deleted because we want to restrict the freedom of speech, and prevent the citizens of our country from having access to information**

    Shocking.

    Let's hope having the Games there can help bring about serious change in China from the inside, out.

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  • 4. At 3:43pm on 23 Jul 2008, rrrrzzzz wrote:

    something from the Press conferences I would like to share with you.

    CNN

    There was a report that black people will not be served because they are considered socially undesirable, could you confirm that for me? I would like to correct the AP when they said that Beijing games is a 'no-fun Games', I believe it is actually being called the 'kill-joy Games', can you comment on that please?

    Liu Shaowu

    I am unaware of the report about this. It's totally unfounded. It is impossible that such a thing happened in China. Isn't it the ethics of the reporter? Also I want to say that, for such a big Games, before, during and after the Games, there will be such ungrounded report. I think the organizers do not have to explain about such false reports.

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  • 5. At 3:51pm on 23 Jul 2008, chrisox wrote:

    I simply cannot raise any enthusiasm for this olympics whatsoever!

    China simply does not deserve the honour of hosting these games. I sincerely hope there are massive demonstrations causing huge loss of face to the authroites.

    When you add this to the doping scandals... The fact is many of the competitors will be cheating with use of banned substances wide spread in so many sports and it simply devalues the event.

    I dont know how the Olympics can any longer claim to be a great sporting even let alone the GREATEST sporting event.

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  • 6. At 4:19pm on 23 Jul 2008, hughye wrote:

    well, you could go to these three parks and see what really happens. Even when it did say on the site u wouldn't believe it either.

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  • 7. At 4:26pm on 23 Jul 2008, hughye wrote:

    to chirsox:
    u said china does not deserve the Olympic. did u mean chinese government or chinese people? u said this as the Olympic is just a reward given by the west. So despite all the wrong things and all the unhappy events we should kill a bird just because it did not sing well for two days?

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  • 8. At 4:26pm on 23 Jul 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    It sounds good since they've designated places for demonstrations. The spokesperson always give answers according to official lines, therefore it can't be made up by them.

    Why not omitting from the transcript? Hard to guess. But if any country were to have a big population (mostly not well educated) yet considerably bad media management and PR ability, it would very likely not to make this news so public either.

    1.3 billion people aren't little. Everyone wants to have own voice. What's the best solution? You tell me. Here I can only tell my own experience. During my years in college in Beijing. I got to attend two protects. One was against 1999 embassy bombing, the other was against an attempt by Peking unversity trying to cover up a student being raped and killed (known as Qiu Qingfeng inccident).

    The first one, the crowd started from Peking University's south gate and walking towards US consulate. The crowd didn't proceed very far because people started quarreling whether or not we should stone a KFC shop near Renmin University. Some said it's a symbol of US, others said it's nonesense as it is actually run by Chinese. Then after a fight, many people including me ended up having some beer and went back.

    The second one, a female student was murdered on the way to Changpeng Campus of Peking University. The university probably thought this would show their bad compus security and decided to downplay it. Yet the news got its way to students anyways. Furious students gathered in the main campus to demonstrate their contempt, again including myself. The demonstration of course started with a fair reason. but after a while, it can be seen that even those students who didn't have a clue of what it was all about joined in. They were wearing slippers and with beer bottles in hands. They cheered even louder than the leading ones. That was when I decided to go back to my room and sleep instead.

    What I'm trying to say is: demonstration is great. It makes people feel righteous and important. But sooner or later, it gets out of hand and becomes a laugh. I'm not sure if it's true only in China or not to me.

    If you tell everyone that it's allowed to protest in parks, everyone will be fond of going. That's my bet.

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  • 9. At 4:38pm on 23 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    CNN, good question! James, good checking on the truthfulness of the government's report on the press conference. The Monkey King is at work again, many tricks up its sleeves. But, of course only foreign correspondents would dare to ask for the specific names of the parks set up by the government for protests. Then again, we'll see what protest means to the police and the government.

    Chinese bloggers, you are content to let your one party government decide every aspect of your life for you as long as you are making more money. This acceptance of authority is a Chinese tradition of "father knows best". In that sense you remain child-like and dependent. You should go out and demand that the government keep the air clean ever after the Games is over. As for foreign athletes refusing to eat food served to Chinese, apparently you are not aware that you are being fed loads of antibiotics and hormone through your meant consumption. You should go out and protest because these additives will cause serious health problems to the Chinese in the future. Don't blame foreign reporters for their reporting as biased. Go out and demand that the government have better control of food production in the use of pesticide, antibiotics, hormone and contamination from bacteria, and the environment of clean air and water.
    I am writing as an overseas Chinese speaking freely, one who cares about the Chinese people. What good is money if you suffer from cancer and die of early death. As is, upwardly mobile Chinese are living their lives of no tomorrow.

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  • 10. At 6:46pm on 23 Jul 2008, Toby wrote:

    1. At 3:09pm on 23 Jul 2008, objection2it wrote:
    Nice to know that China will follow International Olympic rules and laws and not make up their own.

    The west can not say this time that China is banning human rights at the Olympic Games.

    --------------------------------------------------------

    At first this comment made me laugh, i thought it was extremly witty in its subtle sarcasm... until I read some other comments from this author (on other blogs) and realised it was not made in jest.

    So because China is setting up designated protest areas it is no longer restricting human rights!?! Excuse my skepticism .

    The importnat question is who will be allowed into these sites (as all known foreign protestors are being banned from entering the country). And what happens to those Chinese that exercise their right to protest in these areas, once the olympics ends and the eyes of the world are again averted? What a good way to indentify 'troublemakers' - "of course you can protest during the olympics (but you will be arrested in two months time when you are identified from our recordings of the events and noone is watching anymore)."
    Essentially, this is a token accomodation from a country that continues to supress minorities, religions, the internet, and anything resembling freedom of speech. The fact that the Olympics are being held there at all makes me extremely uncomfortable....

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  • 11. At 6:59pm on 23 Jul 2008, four_lions wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 12. At 7:34pm on 23 Jul 2008, jamesxu wrote:

    how typical. announcing there will be protests allowed in order to fool most people by first glance. when in actuality, the procedure is quite questionable. it angers me as well as puzzles me as to how a government of a nation can get away with such blatant 'dodginess' in this day and age.
    keep up the good work James.

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  • 13. At 7:36pm on 23 Jul 2008, jamesxu wrote:

    by the way...I can almost guarantee, Beijing's particular enforcing of the restriction of 'religious propaganda' is aimed solely at falungong.

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  • 14. At 7:37pm on 23 Jul 2008, ccpbrain wrote:

    James,
    Our great Secretory General Jiang once lectured a "naive" Hongkong journalist that we have the most democrat system in the world, because he was elected by ALL Chinese people, more so than American president who is voted by only hundreds of electoral colleges.

    Given this fact, why our Party setting Olympic protest parks become newsworthy to you? We are the freest people in the universe! I can even read BBC now!! Koutou to my leaders!!!

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  • 15. At 11:12pm on 23 Jul 2008, beijing_2008 wrote:

    To the person who commented that he wishes there to be 'massive protests to cause huge loss of face to the authorities'. Yes, the organisers may feel embarrassed but this would be a trivial consequence. What's more likely is that it would cause humilation to Chinese people everywhere and sow the seeds of resentment for the next century.

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  • 16. At 11:52pm on 23 Jul 2008, antimatterbomb wrote:

    So, who has signed up for the protests?

    Er...for those ones who r really going, bring along umberellas and wear rain coats. Not that I'm threatening you (seriously-_-lll), but I'm sure you've seen how touchy some of us can get towards some of the issues that you r gonna raise. But nothing to worry really, most probably ppl will just watch the protests as circus performance.

    Not that I have anything to protest, but good to know there are options. Help us to get used to criticism too (and it's good entertainment).

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  • 17. At 00:13am on 24 Jul 2008, nihaorain2007 wrote:

    to zawaung

    I am sorry for my message below:

    When you say ' chinese show ignorant and limited knowledge ...in webside this spring..' , i totally agree with your opinion , but this is all my feeling about you and other many self-righteous western people.

    As you said , i guess you never have your own knowledge about Tibet or china, maybe you never traveled in Tibet or china, so you criticize and think chinese with your subjective sentiment.

    Tibet and China together is since 800 years, and if you travel there, you can find whether their culture miss or not?( i traved there once)

    Dalai Lama don't want to indispendance but he want to a big Tibet( this big tibet never exist in history)...And he is not also a innocent person like the repression against Dorje Shugden, subconscious encouragement of riot tibetain 2008 and activity of Tibetan Youth Congress ....

    I suppose you know what is drum made of children skin....Buddhism tibetain have 5 brands, Dalai lama isn't only one leader, but why he is absolut emperor in ancient tibet and tibet in exil?

    Yes, CCP isn't well in human right in Xizang(another name of tibet),but CCP also did many good thing there....that is not always easy to establish school, hospital in a place with 6 months snows a year...

    Compared with tibet riot 1959,1989 and the situation in tibet, Tibet has changed a lot better. The probleme is a culture amalgamation between different ethnic in china.

    But the discrimination doesn't really exist in Xizang....

    Human right issue in Xizang like abortion, death penalty, political prisoner etc is the same in China.
    If we say china haven't done effort to improve human right in china these years, it isn't true neither.

    We can't obtain the information from only one side , and we need also to see the thing with developping view ...otherwise, whether you have brainwashed by your media?

    Chinese people isn't so ignorant and blocked nowadays as you think .

    As well as i know, most of oversea chinese like me living abroad, we are also exposed under western education and western media, but why we still have the same feeling as people inside china?!
    That's not only a question of face,or national sentiment, we know what we told after obtaining the infomation from two side

    Don't be so arrogrant

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  • 18. At 00:17am on 24 Jul 2008, baysidetina wrote:

    Well I just want to point out that I have seen these parks been reported by a few Chinese TV channels and mainstream websites. So the information is not so secretive really.

    The fact that the official transcripts did not include these information is just pure stupidity though.

    I do think the Chinese government and Chinese people in general have a bit of PR problem.

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  • 19. At 01:41am on 24 Jul 2008, tucsonmike wrote:

    It is a first for China to even allow ANY protest as well as the open coverage of the earthquake.
    Does China deserve to have the Olympics? It is a little late in the game to be asking that question.
    Will I watch? Yes, but knowing how corrupt much of it has become.

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  • 20. At 01:43am on 24 Jul 2008, nonfamiliar wrote:

    I'd be interested to know how the application process works for this. will approval be given to all comers, or will the authorities approve whichever protests they'd prefer to take place? there does seem to be a certain conflict of interest in having the very same authorities people want to protest about approving applications to protest.

    will media be allowed to take footage of the protest parks? if not, i can't see foreign protesters agreeing to being kept out of the limelight. if the parks aren't getting much coverage, you'd imagine activists would ignore the cordoned-off areas and risk life and limb to put their message in front of the cameras.

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  • 21. At 04:01am on 24 Jul 2008, TheMiddlePath wrote:

    Chrisox wrote:
    "I simply cannot raise any enthusiasm for this olympics whatsoever!"

    After draging China through the mud and all the years of China bashing AND being called everything from Communist, imperialist, capitalist, dictators, colonists, brain washed red guards, racists etc. Why would China still want to welcome W Europeans and N Americans.
    Come and China as the Host will STILL treat you as a Guest. If not Stay home !

    Chrisox wrote:
    "I sincerely hope there are massive demonstrations causing huge loss of face to the authroites."

    Yes we all know that. Hard core China Haters like you to see a total boycott, like to riots, like to see chaos, like to see China screw up and breakup.

    Well dream on.......You guys are just outwitted, outsmarted and outnumbered.

    Chrisox wrote:
    "When you add this to the doping scandals... "

    Once Asian countries tops the medal list, W Eroupeans and N Americans will start to find excuses to create a new world game for themselves. That is expected. It is called EGO.

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  • 22. At 04:28am on 24 Jul 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    James, it's so funny that you complained about the "speed" at which the Chinese official spoke. Just practice your Chinese listening comprehension harder, would you? We all practice very hard when we learn English, and we never dare to complain about the speed at which we are spoken to! When we fail to grasp something, we blame it on ourselves (that our English is not good enough), not on the speaker.

    Maybe this is a cultural difference. You think you have a right to complain about everything, while we are tend to think retrospectively first. Honestly, I'm a bit tired of all the things that you have picked out and complained about in China. In the company that I work with, I also notice that the westerners complain more (about work, life, bosses, colleagues, etc) than the Chinese. One guy complained on how difficult it is to find disposable knives and forks in China - what is he expecting? this is in China and the 1.3 billion people use chopsticks!

    And btw, you were allowed to record the entire conference, weren't you? and I assume the other reporters can all afford their own recording equipment? so really, what is there to complain about? don't you already have full access to the information?

    Come on James, if you can't let go of your sense of superiority and open your heart, you will never get to know a real China. But then, maybe you are not prepared, or intended, to know a real China after all. If this is the case, then I have wasted my time reading your blog.

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  • 23. At 05:12am on 24 Jul 2008, KrSund70 wrote:

    Here's a possible explanation:

    By the time the Chinese netizens get a hold of those 3 parks names and spread the word all over the internet ... you'll see the people up in arms against such protesters.

    You think the Chinese have so quickly forgotten what went down in March and April? You watch, the police are going to have their hands full protecting these foreigners.

    Heh, so much for the infantile notion that Beijing fails to answer to the people. Beijing only fails to do so by being so lenient with such outrageous concessions for the sake of appeasement of the Western public.

    The tens of thousands who spontaneously gathered in Tiananmen Square after the 3 minutes of silence showing "China Add Oil" are going to gather again folks ... this time shouting a lot more than just that! Good on them for having the stones to do what the government doesn't.

    To quote Dickie Vitale: "This is our house, BABY!"

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  • 24. At 10:30am on 24 Jul 2008, walkingfish99 wrote:

    i noticed that the names of the places for demonstration were already published in chinese media even b4 your blog entry.

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  • 25. At 12:11pm on 24 Jul 2008, tommywang wrote:

    democrazy101

    do you mind just minding your own business?

    stop calling "all chinese people" or "all chinese bloggers" to do what you think is right

    gosh!!! get a life

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  • 26. At 1:38pm on 24 Jul 2008, zawaung wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 27. At 3:46pm on 24 Jul 2008, ad0919 wrote:

    To 5 and 23,
    The individual who made the fith comment is emblematic of the prevailing views that many, if not all, westerners hold against China - the Chinese government and the Chinese people are at odds, and the government is the "obnoxious beast" and the "rebel" whom the rest in the community have the rights and obligations to rid of. It will be surelly dangerous and counterproductive if such an understanding is made the prism through which people view China, and a fundation on which foreign policies are formulated (Canada's Harper uses this sort of foundation I presume).
    Incrementlly growing in frequency and intensity, protests in mainland China are NOT representative of the overall popular support that the Chinese government receives; neither are they a functioning instrument for measuring the government's performance. The Chinese government, referred primarily but not exclusively to the Central authorities especially Hu and Wen themselves, enjoys popular support that any incument administrations in the Western world would envy. I just came across a news story capturing joyful Chinese students carrying the potraits of Hu and Wen when cheering for the torch rely in the city of Xi'an. It is reasonable, however, to argue that such popularity was nurished through meticulously designed propaganda works, the Chinese students along with the majority Chinese do not see it that way and this is the reality that westerners must accept if they aim to yield any fruitful results in understanding the Chinese. As the person who made the 23rd comment incisively pointed out, the Chinese will be spontaneously gathering and protesting if a "Free Tibet" sign is unfurled by any western athlets standing on a podium. Western audiences in New York or Toronto might perceive such a move to be righteous, courageous, just and causing Chinese authorities losing face, yet it will only end up achieving the diametrically different results that it intended: the Chinese will see western intervention more clearly and tighten up security in Tibet for national unity and territorial integrity.

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  • 28. At 4:51pm on 24 Jul 2008, metooo2008 wrote:

    Dear James,

    you are wrong about omiting, I have known the three parks for protest fron sina website, (news.sina.com.cn). you should check chinese website before said so

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  • 29. At 8:52pm on 24 Jul 2008, KrSund70 wrote:

    ad0919 @ 27:

    My point exactly. What the West and these protesters fail to understand is that, when left alone, China is inherently fragile and has a tendency to internal turmoil. The nation is large and diverse, any government, from the earliest emperors to the CPC and beyond, will have its hands full maintaining against that inherent China trait for disorganization. It is arguable that, should it be the goal, the downfall of the CPC can only come from within.

    By doing these types of protests, nothing is served but to solidfy the masses behind the CPC. People, who ordinarily would find plenty to grumble about in terms of their government, in the face of Western assault on Chinese sovereignty, will gladly forget all governmental faults and rally to the government against the foreign attack.

    Even if the argument is made that it is only because of CPC propaganda, such is the facts of the current situation. You won't dispose of the CPC, not without war, and anything short of that, you're simply empowering the CPC by these protests.

    You want the CPC to be held accountable to the Chinese people? Stop giving the Chinese people a reason to overlook all faults of the CPC for sake of, in their perception fair or not, "the greater evil/threat."

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  • 30. At 06:57am on 25 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To 9#. You represent your self and do not represent oversea Chinese. A recent survey shows that Chinese government enjoy a majority support. You know nothing about China and is in no position to teach 1.3 billion Chinese what to do. Watch your own dinner plate. Your Chichen dinner contains the same antibiotics and hormones.

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  • 31. At 07:01am on 25 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    You represent your self and do not represent oversea Chinese. If you know China then you should know that Chinese government enjoy majority support. This has been confirmed by a recent survey. You are in no position to teach 1.3 billion Chinese what to do.

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  • 32. At 07:59am on 25 Jul 2008, Rikey wrote:

    Excellent!

    Now anyone who has so desperately been looking forward to complain and protest China (on China's soil) can go there and do so.

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  • 33. At 3:12pm on 25 Jul 2008, peace_4_all wrote:

    wonderfulchinese post 31

    "Chinese government enjoy majority support. This has been confirmed by a recent survey."
    Please elaborate and provide details on this survey. Its hard to believe the "majority support" for a government that suppresses human rights and religious freedom and comes down with a heavy hand on whoever criticizes its policies. By the way the government record shows 87,000 demonstrations in 2005. China has without doubt become wealthy but unfortunately this wealth is unequally distributed. The rich has become richer while the poor poorer. We have seen hidden videos of land being forcefully taken over by thugs hired by local officials. Environment is a mess. People cannot live where they want to. If a laborer comes to the city to work (the so-called floating population which makes about a 3rd of the city population), he/she has to go back once that work/contract is completed. Why can't chinese citizens live where they feel like? Falung Gongs have been persecuted, tortured and imprisoned for a long time, they make up about 100 million - you think they support this government - I don't think so. Then there are the countries that Communist regime occupied about 60 years ago - East Turkestan, Tibet and Inner Mongolia. There are the members and supporters of Chinese democratic party.

    Sorry, I don't think the Communist regime has majority support. If they did, they should not have anything to hide. If they did, they would hold free and fair elections.

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  • 34. At 3:22pm on 25 Jul 2008, mpknight wrote:

    James,

    I am sure some people have mentioned it but just in case, the three parks are not kept as secrets to Chinese people. Newspapers and websites are publishing the news everywhere and we all know that. Come on, if they want to hide it, why would they say it in the first place?

    Besides, I've been subscribing to your blog for a while and I'm not so happy with your writing style. You don't write in a neutral way. You have the negative opinion preset in your mind and your writings are always somewhat biased. I know, this is your blog, but a whole lot of people are watching. Be more responsible. What do you want to express when you say (something like) 'they said it pretty fast and reporters have to gather around to make sure they got it correctly?'

    I'm not sure about the omission. If the government did it on purpose, I feel sorry for them. But it doesn't mean they hid it. Make it clear in your writings.

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  • 35. At 4:36pm on 25 Jul 2008, TheMiddlePath wrote:

    To Poster #33 Peace_4-all

    All around the developing world free election has caused nothing but chaos.

    Reposted from SCC forum........

    Don't even talk about Taiwan. What about United States. How is it that
    a very develop country with highly educated people ended up directly
    electing the worst President in history. A President that has now bankcrupted the country, made enemy with 1 billion muslims, now picking a fight with Russia, screw up the Iraq war, $4 gas price, ignored the
    enviroment, gives tax break to oil company to make 11 billion. United
    States now has the most unpopular President, the most unpopular
    congress in history. Today the President blamed congress, the congress in return blamed the President.

    Can some democracy advocate explain this mess ?

    Free election is a great way to breakup China. We all know this. So give up this idea OK ? We are sick of it.

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  • 36. At 4:38pm on 25 Jul 2008, rrrrzzzz wrote:

    Hi Peace_4_all,

    Can not you even tell from the blog that the majority Chinese support our govt expect those who are falungong?

    Thanks

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  • 37. At 11:50pm on 25 Jul 2008, tclim38 wrote:

    The subject of 'protest' reminds me of 1989 TienAnMen incident.
    I watched it on TV. If I remember well, the students gathered there for a long period of time - many weeks, if not months. Foreign media were all there to pour oil in the flame, for fear that the chaos would not be severe enough (to topple the government). The situation was getting worse every hours.
    At one time, I saw the student leaders, one of them in his pajamas
    (at least one of them) were talking to Premier Li-Peng. I was totally in disbelief. I do not, for one second, believe that they could do that
    in Taiwan (which was called "Free China" for a while by the west) under Chiang Kai-shek, or his son Chiang Chin-Guo for 3 days, let alone weeks or months. I was completely shocked by the Chinese government being so lenient, so soft, because I grew up
    in the environment with constant anti-communist propaganda.
    They were depicted as evil of all evils.
    Man ... politics is SO disgusting. Can we let Olympic be just Olympic?

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  • 38. At 03:24am on 26 Jul 2008, kenchamwu wrote:

    "Come on James, if you can't let go of your sense of superiority and open your heart, you will never get to know a real China. But then, maybe you are not prepared, or intended, to know a real China after all. If this is the case, then I have wasted my time reading your blog."

    I don't think James has any desire to know the real China. He makes his money by being as critical as possible toward China, so that his Western audience can continue to feel how superior they are.

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  • 39. At 03:54am on 26 Jul 2008, howardzzzz wrote:

    James,

    Suggest you improve your Chinese, so you can do your job better. Don't always blame others.

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  • 40. At 07:10am on 26 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    To Wonderfulness:
    You said I don't know anything about China and I do not represent all overseas Chinese. Well, my line of work put me in touch with Chinese students studying for their advance degree. I also work with some Chinese in China over email. I will repeat this, for Chinese eventually to have a responsible government that answers to the needs of the people,i.e. all people rich and poor, Chinese must rid of "Father knows best" kind of mentality. On one side, Chinese are generally law abiding and are afraid of authority. This works really well in democratic countries abroad because they usually are model citizens. But, they also usually are not active in politics, which makes them docile, and consequently not important as a voting block which means lacking influence. In China, people are afraid of the government while at the same time are not willing to take responsibility as citizens to make decisions. This total trust of the govenrment is an extension of "Father knows best" attitude by immature adult children . When citizens are willing to give all the power to a few leaders, invariably the chance of big mistakes will be made and social chaos will ensue. Just look at China's past history of the last 50 some odd years, of so many social catastrophes caused by your tyrannical leader Mao and Communist rule. At this time, through out the world, more and more nations are marching towards democracy, while China remains a one party system. Without an opposing voice of another party, China will never be able to self correct. Take Sichuan earthquake, for example, your government is in a concercted effort to cover up the cause of the school building collapse which had killed over 10 thousand children. Parents are not allowed to set up memorials for their children, or to return to the schools for gathering with other parents. Parents have been threatened and beaten to accept payment from the government in return for their silence. Chinese human rights activists who represent these parents have bee jailed. Are you aware that these brutal tactics have been taking place? Where is the voice that speaks for these parents?
    For having lived overseas, I am able to see from afar, that I see a forest not a tree. I believe some Chinese culture such as automatic respect for authority is the very cause for China's chaos and backwardness in history. No culture is perfect in all circumstances. Father knows best kind of mentality amongst Chinese is one serious impediment for development of democracy in China. The responsibility in monitoring the one party rule, one man rule belongs to all Chinese, particularly the young ones who will inherit the nation and hopefully make it an open society. Otherwise, the long suffering Chinese had endured will continue, and it is very much self-inflicted as the sufferings that was caused by the past Communist government's errors. The students who died in Tiananmen Square may be hot headed and young and were not aware of the deadliness of the government; they had laid down their lives for China to have a voice of the people. And that will remain in history through out the world if not China.

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  • 41. At 2:13pm on 26 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 42. At 2:44pm on 26 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:


    Peace_4_all wrote, ...
    "Sorry, I don't think the Communist regime has majority support. If they did, they should not have anything to hide. If they did, they would hold free and fair elections."

    How much do you know about free and fair election? President Bush was eventually declared winner over Al Gore and became the most powerful man on Earth..., by the court! Did he get the majority votes?

    Did the British allow Hong Kongers free and fair election of governments and Governors during their 100-year rule? What had they got to hide?

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  • 43. At 5:20pm on 26 Jul 2008, kenchamwu wrote:

    Regarding Post #33: "Sorry, I don't think the Communist regime has majority support."

    I have lived in China for 4 years and have travelled within the country extensively. While the Chinese can be very critical regarding its government, on the whole it has great amount of support - in fact much more than most governments in the world. In a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country where there are 1.3 billion people, there is bound to be some conflicts. I believe the Chinese government in general receives a B+ grade (maybe A-) from the mass.

    Not sure why the commenter believes the government has "hiden so much" though. I hope he/she is a fluent Chinese reader and have read extensively Chinese publication before coming to that conclusion. Many Westerners read the English version of Peoples Daily and come to the conclusion that the Chinese government is not telling everything.

    "East Turkestan"? No such place in the world. Maybe he/she means Xinjiang.....

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  • 44. At 5:51pm on 26 Jul 2008, peter5566 wrote:

    Post #33 by Peace_4_all

    Here is some academic evidence as an answer to your doubt about popular support to the Chinese leadership by the majority of the population. It is a publication by the PEW Global Attitudes Project at the famed PEW Research Center in USA. Their research finding, published last week, is a commonplace sentiment among Chinese citizens, but is usually ignored (purposely?) by western media and hence unaware of by the western general public - the central government of China today enjoys the kind of popular support that leaders of the westwen democratic countries would envy. The west should objectively accept the fact that, whether they like it or not, Chinese people are highly satisfied with current direction of their country as managed by the Beijing leadership.


    The following is an extract from it:
    http://pewresearch.org/pubs/906/china-economy

    July 22, 2008


    As they eagerly await the Beijing Olympics, the Chinese people express extraordinary levels of satisfaction with the way things are going in their country and with their nation's economy. With more than eight-in-ten having a positive view of both, China ranks number one among 24 countries on both measures in the 2008 survey by the Pew Research Center's Pew Global Attitudes Project. These findings represent a dramatic improvement in national contentment from earlier in the decade ....

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  • 45. At 01:00am on 27 Jul 2008, BeijingLondon wrote:

    Message 5 by chrisox is typical of a China hater's, full of sour grapes.

    Let me quote that famous expression again - we will continue to disappoint you!

    Whatever you or your comrades say carrys no weight, being you British or American. We'll just do whatever we want in our way and leave you cry in despiar.

    A massive demonstration? I can promise you that anybody to demonstrate for the "Tibet Freedom" in Beijing will regret for the rest of his life.

    I am quite sure that any Westerners to demonstrate in Beijing for Tibet will get a deserved treatment, not by the PRC government but the people in Beijing.

    But you are welcome to demonstrate for bad food, or even your bad results though.

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  • 46. At 01:07am on 27 Jul 2008, BeijingLondon wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 47. At 5:33pm on 28 Jul 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    To peter5566 No.44,
    I think there is a difference between "support" and "be satisfied", and people mess up these two sentiments in their arguments.
    For example, I support my government, even though I have lots to say about it and don't consider it any good. I support it because it's the government I got and I believe it's trying to improve. Not because it's satisfactory in any way.I believe quite a lot of chinese would share this view.

    If you tell westerners that the majority of chinese support the government, they will feel shocked. But if you say in full: "the majority of chinese support the government, but not satisfied by its ability of governing. ", they will know what you meant.

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  • 48. At 00:06am on 29 Jul 2008, peace_4_all wrote:

    """36. At 4:38pm on 25 Jul 2008, rrrrzzzz

    Can not you even tell from the blog that the majority Chinese support our govt expect those who are falungong? """

    If you are making a conclusion from the commentors on this blog, then you are making a joke of yourself. Majority of the pro-communist commentors are Communist regime's "running dogs". Obviously it is important for me as a Tibetan to correct the distorted information presented by them. This government can rewrite a history, a major event (1989 Tiananmen Square massacre) that happened just about 2 decades ago is unknown by the Chinese teenagers and youth. Well, its not unbelievable from the way they have tortured and killed not only Tibetans but Falung Gong practisioners, human rights activists and so on. But what's unbelievable is the Chinese students who try to present the distorted information and propaganda fed by the Chinese communist regime. May be they should not be blamed. Otherwise their parents or relatives would be in danger.

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  • 49. At 00:24am on 29 Jul 2008, peace_4_all wrote:

    post 42. hypocrisynone wrote:

    """"How much do you know about free and fair election? President Bush was eventually declared winner over Al Gore and became the most powerful man on Earth..., by the court! Did he get the majority votes?

    Did the British allow Hong Kongers free and fair election of governments and Governors during their 100-year rule? What had they got to hide?""""

    President Bush did not get majority votes. Al Gore should have been the winner. Is the American system perfect ?? No - its not. But the point is we all know about it because of freedom given to the media. The 9/11 incident led to an unpopular war in Iraq. But then again election is round the corner. People are talking and discussing about it. Candidates are debating about it. This is what dialogue is all about. Here in America you will not get arrested for criticizing government policies.

    What did the British hide? What they did in Hongkong and the opium war was wrong. Does anybody say that their colonial rules were good? I don't see anybody hiding about it. I'm not sure what you are trying to say. Britain just like many western nation is a place where human rights and religious freedom exist. What they did hundred years ago was bad. But now there is democracy, liberty and freedom. People want to go and live there and settle there. In spite of the fact that foriegn journalists have photographed and video taped the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre, the Chinese regime has the guts to rewrite the history and generate fear in people's mind. I can very well imagine what would have happened if there were no media at the time. Chinese police are arresting Tibetans by large numbers in the middle of nights, mostly men. Monastries now have very less monks. The restrictions are heavy. But I have hopes that our cause (tibetan cause) is non-violent and just, and justice always prevails.

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  • 50. At 00:34am on 29 Jul 2008, peace_4_all wrote:

    Post 43 kenchamwu


    """""I have lived in China for 4 years and have travelled within the country extensively. While the Chinese can be very critical regarding its government, on the whole it has great amount of support - in fact much more than most governments in the world. In a multi-ethnic and multi-cultural country where there are 1.3 billion people, there is bound to be some conflicts. I believe the Chinese government in general receives a B+ grade (maybe A-) from the mass. """"""

    Well, in China if you don't support the government then you are in trouble. The government knows how to carry out such a policy - through intimidation, spies and fear.
    So there really isn't true support.

    """""Not sure why the commenter believes the government has "hiden so much" though. I hope he/she is a fluent Chinese reader and have read extensively Chinese publication before coming to that conclusion. Many Westerners read the English version of Peoples Daily and come to the conclusion that the Chinese government is not telling everything."""""

    That's very simple to explain. There have been a few "known" cases where any criticism of government and its policies means you loose your job and your life will be made miserable. I'm sure there are many unreported cases. After all, the biggest media in China is government controlled - People's daily, CCTV, Xinhua.

    """""East Turkestan"? No such place in the world. Maybe he/she means Xinjiang..."""""

    Actually there is. If you do a "search" in google, you will find it. By the way Chinese government has a modified version of google for its people. Any searches of "Tibet", Dalai Lama, result in nothing. Youtube videos of Tibet, Dalai Lama are blocked. When there is no freedom of press, what can you believe?????

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  • 51. At 01:19am on 29 Jul 2008, peace_4_all wrote:

    Post # 44 peter5566

    Thanks for the information, this gives me a chance to reflect upon the situation at that time. This survey was taken in the last week of March and early April 2008 a very sensitive time during which the Chinese government got a good chance to deliver their one-sided propaganda. Also the olympic torch relay started around that time giving the Chinese regime another tool for their one-sided propaganda. They were able to use the situation to lie to the Chinese people of what actually happened.

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  • 52. At 03:43am on 29 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    To democracy101,
    I am also an overseas Chinese. I passed in my Cambridge “Advanced” level Chinese. I then spent 10 years in UK during which I studied, graduated and worked as a Chartered professional. My academic and professional qualification later facilitated me to work side by side (not just by email) with fellow Chinese colleagues for 10 happy years as an expat in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing representing 3 different foreign multinationals.

    Although I dare not claim that “having lived overseas, I am able to see from afar, that I see a forest not a tree”, I dare say that I am reasonably knowledgeable through my travels, readings (in different languages) and professional lives.

    While it is generally acknowledged that democracy is by far the best political system available, there is no such thing as “one model fits all” situation. Its superiority is also not as squeaky clean cut, black and white as some die-hard may naively want to believe. Very often democracy is being abused as a pawn in geopolitics power-play in serving the interest of those with special agenda. Many so-called democratic elections turn out to be nothing but shams, with even more rampant corruptions and abuses of power. Zimbabwe is to name but a few. Wasn’t Hitler democratically elected?

    Still remember Dr. Allende of Chile in the 70s? Despite being genuinely and democratically elected president, he was overthrown and killed in a military coup reportedly sponsored by the champions of the Democratic Free World. The military junta Pinochet then ruled for decades with notorious iron fist with connivance of the Western powers!

    China went through many bad spells of weakness and backwardness in history but not because of its “father knows all mentality”. In fact it was the opposite. The Nationalist KMT lost power because of weak leadership which was hijacked by regional warlords that led to chaos, rampant corruptions and abject poverty. China, while keeping its 1.3 billion people sufficiently fed, has since made great strides towards democracy through peaceful transition. Don’t forget, the Mother of all human rights is the right not to be hungry, something that many in the West have often taken for granted. Also gone are those days when China had to cede its territories as compensation for the Opium Wars forced upon them.

    Sichuan earthquake is a tragedy of colossal scale. Whole nation rallies with civility (without state of emergency declared) behind the government in its daunting relief effort, aided by many international relief groups. The Chinese government won praises worldwide for its quick and effective actions. Arm-chair critic is least helpful during this time of colossal human sufferings. With China’s harsh punishment towards corrupt officials, one can expect that those culprits responsible for the sub-standard school buildings shall ultimately be brought to justice with severest possible punishment, except for those who have fled the country and live cozily ever after with their ill-gotten wealth, often insulated by some excruciatingly slow and bureaucratic foreign courts of law and human rights! No prize for guessing.

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  • 53. At 11:52am on 29 Jul 2008, TrickyQuinsRl wrote:

    Dear nihaorain2007

    1) His Holiness the Dalai Lama, whom all Tibetans adore, does not want independance, just freedom of culture and religion for his people. That's not too much to ask is it?

    2) Please tell me exactly how His Holiness represses Dojre Shugden? They are free to do as they wish, the Dalai Lama has no army to stop them.

    3) How did His Holiness Dalai Lama encourage the rioting? This came from within Tibet by people fed up with the regieme they are forced to live under.

    4) What activity of the tibetan youth congress offends you so much? Are their banners too strong for you?

    5) "drum made of children skin", oh please is that what is taught in schools today?

    6) The schooling is so bad in Tibet that families send their children across the Himilayas to India so that get a decent education.

    7) "culture amalgamation ", is that another phrase for demolishing monastaries and beating up monks?

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  • 54. At 03:16am on 30 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    Hypocrasynone:
    The Benevolent Emperor article by James today clearly explained the "Father knows best" syndrom of Chinese. Your education and your ability to travel obviously put you in a very priviledged position in Chinese Society. You must have much influence and connection there and is greatly benefiting from the policies of the Chinese government.
    The issue that I am in strong disagreement with you is that whether the Chinese govenrnment is the right government for Chinesepeople, given the size of the population. My point is the Chinese government only represents people like you, upper class, well educated, well travelled and priviledged inner city dwellers. We have this same division of class in U.S., where most of the wealth is concentrated in 3% of the population. Our news media, social critics are constantly discussing this problem in many forums openly. Ordinary citizens are concerned about it and therefore, will be having a change of power soon enough when Barack Obama most likely will be elected as ourPresident, our first black President of the U.S., of which we all are proud. Can Chinese turn over their government so easily when things don't go well? The majority of people in China are still living in abject poverty. When Communism was the idealogy of the day, poor people at least had basic health care. Now farmers and people living in rural places have no healthcare, no voice, and no way to make a living except to work in inner cities where they are treated as 2nd class citizens, because of their lack of government permit to work there. Their children are not given an education because their family are not registered legal residence. Your government essentially treat your own people as illegal immigrants with no right.
    You say one model cannot fit all in terms of democracy. That is true. Japan and Korea and Taiwan have their own form of democracy. It is not as clean and and efficient as what there is in UK, U.S., Germany etc. But, it is still ruled by honest open elected officials. Whereas, China's leaders elect each other without the input of the people. You mentioned Mugabe of Zimbabwe as a democracy. Westerners never called it a democratically elected President, rather he is called a rouke leader elected by fraudulent means of intimidation, bribery and violence. Yes, Allende, a freely elected President was toppled by U.S. CIA operatives. That was a very immoral, -short-sighted mistake. Our Congress and the Senate held hearings and had reduced the power and increased supervision over CIA operations ever since. Bush had lied to the American people as well as our Congress and Senate in getting us into the Iraq War. Well, the power of the people had spoken and will speak soon enough in the upcoming election. That is a functional democracy. You should not get mix up the dead tree trunk with a standing forest.

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  • 55. At 08:18am on 30 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 56. At 2:33pm on 30 Jul 2008, uk_cref wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 57. At 10:41am on 31 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    Democracy 101 wrote "My point is the Chinese government only represents people like you, upper class, well educated, well traveled and privileged inner city dwellers.

    I find many China-haters who claim to champion freedom of speech, simply do not practice what they preach. They are so intolerant to views different from theirs that they would readily label others as "paid agents dispatched by the Communist Government" etc.

    Sorry to disappoint you that I am not as privileged as you like to believe. I was born and grow up in a South East Asian Chinese family of 8 children. Rather that mourning about my family poverty or hating my country, I immediately began to work after secondary school education. With barely enough savings and financial support, I enrolled myself to attend a short course in a UK college, to be followed by working as an articled clerk that trained and financed my eventual qualification to become a member of a UK chartered professional body.

    Chinese history turns a new chapter with it's "Open Door Policy". My multilingual skill and Western professional qualification enable me to fit into the locomotive of Chinese economic development. I worked until recently in China for 10 years during which I held several senior executive positions representing 3 different Western multinationals in Shanghai, Beijing and Nanjing. In the process, I traveled within China and attended executive meetings in JV's HQ in the West. Once again I am sorry to disappoint you that I have no influence nor any connection whatsoever in China. The only connection I have are with some relatives in the southern China. Blood is always thicker that water, wherever we live.

    While in China, I was most impressed by the exuberance of confidence, enthusiasm, energy and patriotism among the general populace. They, young and old, generally do not mourn about the past but instead they always look forward to better lives.

    China's new found vitality touches the raw nerve of many who see China's rise as zero sum game and therefore a threat to their superiority and geo-political dominance. Following the collapse of the Soviet empire, the neo-conservatives are desperate to find a new Cold War villain to demonize. So they do, and with much ferocity in conjunction with the forthcoming Olympics. Some people who incessantly mourn about their past misery enthusiastically join in the fray in an attempt to settle old scores.

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  • 58. At 1:26pm on 31 Jul 2008, Cantab wrote:

    well after reading the blog and 57 following comments, i'm sure everyone's care factor went from ultra low to .. well.. ultra low still.

    can we report on something interesting?

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  • 59. At 11:38pm on 31 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    to hypocracynone:
    When I talk about you being privileged, how can you deny this fact; whether it is inherited or self-made, you are still in the minority of Chinese. How many Chinese have your kind of access, travel, life style? If you claim to have been educated in UK and have professional certification and by your statement I assume you are very successful, do you not owe some appreciation to your host/adopted country, the United Kingdom? How can you take from the one hand what benefits you and then give your loyalty to China only. I have noticed many bloggers on this blog who are getting the benefit of living in democratic societies and yet whose loyalty is reserved for China only. As I said in one of my blogs, we as overseas Chinese should accept and appreciate the good life we have in our adopted countries, the opportunity to pursue an education, a well paying job and freedom and security. Don't get me wrong, we can also appreciate our heritage of our birth simultaneously without having to vilify the very hand that feeds us, the US, Uk, Australia, Canada, etc.. As I said before, our ancient inventions are equal to that of other ancient cultures - the Arabs, the Greeks, the Romans. But great cultures also declined because of warfare or internal rot, China until recently. No good will come of being so nationalistic and zenophobic. It closes your mind and your heart for tolerance of others, an understanding which is vital if we are to have peace through out the world.

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  • 60. At 5:55pm on 01 Aug 2008, tx1007 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 61. At 7:06pm on 01 Aug 2008, tx1007 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 62. At 04:29am on 26 Dec 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    James:
    i think that it was very important to set up, an park for the protestors to; protest during the olympics...

    ~Dennis Junior~

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