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Ticket queues

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James Reynolds | 10:30 UK time, Friday, 25 July 2008

Beijing put on sale a final batch of Olympic tickets this morning.

At the front of the queue near the Olympic stadium, there was quite a crush...

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At the ticket counter, there were plenty of relieved and exhausted faces.

"It was very tiring to queue for the tickets," said Li Xiaoyan, who's a 22-year-old IT worker, "But we have got the tickets, and I am very excited about it, since this is the Olympics. It is a very precious moment for us. I am very happy."

But others weren't so lucky.

Lu Jianhua, a 40-year-old construction worker had queued up for 24 hours. He told us that when he got to the front of the queue someone pushed him. He shouted back. And the police pulled him out of the queue.

"I was so close to the ticket booth area - about 20 metres away - and the accident happened. I was taken by police just because I shouted one word. They beat me up and forced me to confess. But I didn't do it! They didn't allow me chance to explain and hit me. I was hurt all over my body and I bled."

Mr Lu was then let back in the queue - but he didn't have the right piece of paper to show that he'd been queuing up properly - so when he got to the ticket booth he wasn't allowed to buy any tickets for the Games.

As he told us what happened, he started to cry.

"I wanted to watch the diving very much. We'll probably get the Olympics here just once every hundred years. If I could just watch the Games, I'd feel my life wasn't wasted. But I missed that opportunity today,"

Then he knelt down and started sobbing. That's how much the Olympics matters to some people in this country.

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:00am on 25 Jul 2008, hughye wrote:

    Glad to be the first to leave a comment. It's so familiar. If u go the railway station before Spring Festival, u'll see much more crowed people. Now see what population really mean?

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  • 2. At 11:23am on 25 Jul 2008, topbear1974 wrote:

    Sign....

    I don't understand the fiasco about the Olympics. I was excited originally but the western media finally ruin it for me now. I personally could not wait for it to be over then western lime light would finally leave us alone.

    However, seeing my country man feel so elate and weak about it makes me sad. And I could not blame them. Part of me wanted to shout at them this is just a stupid game. Part of me feels sad about the whole situation. They knew beijing would probably having difficulty to host another game, with constant bashing from west.


    With the arrogance, western media still don't know what it is doing? you literally stab a knif right into the center of a man's heart and twist it before taking it out then add a big handful of salt. Thank you very much.

    Budda said if you have no desire, you will not feel unhappy. All I can advise my countryman is to treat this as common game. Life moves on.

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  • 3. At 11:53am on 25 Jul 2008, Jimitintin wrote:

    "That's how much the Olympics matters to some people in this country."

    It mattered that much to me as well as most Chinese people too. But now the olympics is turning itself to a political show and becoming meaningless.

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  • 4. At 12:16pm on 25 Jul 2008, yjianbo2007 wrote:

    Silly peope. This is just a game! It's better China does not have this game and let people have their normal life and the country goes ahead as normal.

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  • 5. At 12:32pm on 25 Jul 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    I remember there was a scence in a chinese movie (not so famous, can't even remember the name): an old farmer speaks to his son that his dying wish is to go to xx town once. (Apparently this town is only miles away from his village.)
    I laughed when I watched it, then I thought about it, I feel kind of sad. There are people living a life that is ordinary and what they want are simple and small things. This is life.

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  • 6. At 12:35pm on 25 Jul 2008, D Zhang wrote:

    I feel really sad for the construction worker, even though I have doubts in my mind to the biased one-side story.

    At least, it shows the eagerness of Chinese to be part of the Olympic Games. I would definitely join the queue if I had the chance to go back home to Beijing this summer.

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  • 7. At 12:40pm on 25 Jul 2008, drmarkmark wrote:

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

  • 8. At 12:44pm on 25 Jul 2008, bokaroseani wrote:

    That indeed is quite a touching story. This story reminds me of a film I watched a few years ago: Beijing Bicycle.

    What was most interesting to me was the police providing bottled water to the people pushing against them.

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  • 9. At 12:47pm on 25 Jul 2008, bokaroseani wrote:

    I hope George Bush reads this news and decides to give his ticket to the opening ceremony to Mr. Lu.

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  • 10. At 1:02pm on 25 Jul 2008, antimatterbomb wrote:

    Weren't they selling the tickets at bank branches all over China? Anyway I'll be happy to watch the game at home on tv.

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  • 11. At 1:05pm on 25 Jul 2008, rrrrzzzz wrote:

    I do not know why, but all the comment shows ZERO for your previsou input?

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  • 12. At 1:51pm on 25 Jul 2008, pjmorse wrote:

    Great improvement over Athens, where I'm told many sessions featured great swaths of empty seats because all the Greeks had gone to the seaside for August. "The Greeks just didn't care," was the line I heard.

    It's great for the athletes to compete in front of crowds who are excited to be there watching.

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  • 13. At 2:44pm on 25 Jul 2008, fromnewengland wrote:

    James,
    Could you please find a way to help this Mr Lu?
    Thank you!

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  • 14. At 2:47pm on 25 Jul 2008, baysidetina wrote:

    I just want to thank James for this platform he provided for people who are interested to discuss and debate about various things in China.

    Effective communication is the key to world peace. I am glad we are all contributing to it.

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  • 15. At 3:08pm on 25 Jul 2008, mpknight wrote:

    Could the author explain more? I'm confused since I don't see any point beating up a person and forcing him to confess something he said, even if he actually said them. I don't understand. There's nothing the police can get from there.

    That aside, I feel sorry for the worker.

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  • 16. At 5:33pm on 25 Jul 2008, WiseFortuneCookie wrote:

    Yesterday's cries of desperation is food for tomorrow's smiles of enlightenment.

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  • 17. At 5:38pm on 25 Jul 2008, bookclips wrote:

    Of course the Chinese people take the game very seriously. If you have ever been invited to a Chinese family, you would see how the family want to impress you with all they have achived - their children's education, their wealth, their cooking. This is all about face and showing off what you've got to the visitors and making them as welcome as possible.

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  • 18. At 6:08pm on 25 Jul 2008, crownasty wrote:

    I don't see how you blame the western media for ruining the Olympics. We know that western media is biased. Do you know that Chinese media is biased as well? There are truths to both sides. And NO, the Olympics is not just a game. A country that is given the honor to host the Olympics should be aware that the whole country will be scrutinized. The country should also be able to take criticism and not complain about it. If China want to be a major world player, it is going to have to make some changes. And these changes include policies dealing with migrant workers, the hukou system, media control, environment, and legal system, ect.

    There is no perfect country and every country could make improvements. However, people need to stop denying that these problems exist and recognize them.

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  • 19. At 6:08pm on 25 Jul 2008, ccpbrain wrote:

    Beijing Olympics is the matter of national honor and our great leaders' faces, more important than the livesof our ordinary folks.

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  • 20. At 6:31pm on 25 Jul 2008, ocaigh wrote:

    As the religion of communism increasingly resides, those who still dearly hold onto national and political interests may view the olympic games as part of that religion - perhaps a passage of rite - or for a new emerging religion of capitalism and a strengthening national pride. Or perhaps, as in relation to Mr. Reynolds' previous post, something psychological to overcome the shame from the century of western humiliation. Result is a even greater frenzy and dissapointment than anticipated.

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  • 21. At 00:19am on 26 Jul 2008, tclim38 wrote:

    Have some doubt about the story of that worker by James.
    He could be buying tickets for re-sale for a profit, or being hired by someone for a fee.

    I just cannot imagine Olympics is that serious an event for a construction worker, presumably not very much educated.

    Sorry for the suspicion. Could be the hangover from all the manufactured Tibet reports by the western media.

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  • 22. At 01:14am on 26 Jul 2008, nonothing wrote:

    Hi, James

    Firstly, I feel sorry for Mr. Lu for getting beaten up by whatever reason.

    Secondly, can you please answer me a few questions about the emotional accident?

    1. Did you actually see the accident happening or were you just told all that? If you didn't see it, how could you verify the story?

    2. With my own experience at Wimbledon, everyone in the queue normally has a token which will be used when buying the ticket. Had Mr Lu ever had a token?

    3. In your report, we could read that Mr Lu finally managed to get back to the queue. How was the other people's reaction to a well beaten maybe still bleeding man?

    Cheers.

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  • 23. At 02:47am on 26 Jul 2008, drmarkmark wrote:

    Not easy to be a balanced reporter.
    I can see why.

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  • 24. At 03:42am on 26 Jul 2008, howardzzzz wrote:

    Is this another make-up story by James? many meaningless points.

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  • 25. At 03:46am on 26 Jul 2008, howardzzzz wrote:

    I cannot see any scenes in the vedio that Mr. Lu, who is supposed to be a poor construction worker and can save his hundreds of RMB watching game at home, was beaten to bleeding.

    Could James explain more?

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  • 26. At 03:55am on 26 Jul 2008, amistupid wrote:

    I hope the French president (what's his name again?) reads this story and is willing to give his ticket to the construction worker.

    It will do both of them good. The worker will be able to fufill his dream, and Mr French president will not take the pain to go to Beijing.

    Don't you think so, James?

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  • 27. At 09:02am on 26 Jul 2008, ricecake202 wrote:

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

    quote: (#2 topbear1974)

    "With the arrogance, western media still don't know what it is doing? you literally stab a knif right into the center of a man's heart and twist it before taking it out then add a big handful of salt. Thank you very much.

    Budda said if you have no desire, you will not feel unhappy. All I can advise my countryman is to treat this as common game. Life moves on."

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

    Come on, don't over do it. I laughed when I watch the clip. I can see melodrama spoil everything for everyone. I feel there is badly in need to learn to handle disadvantages with sense of humor. But heck you'll get use to it after a while. I don't think the Westerners will do what's ask of them. Bad habits are not formulated over night besides hard to die. So just accept them with good grace. I'm sure James will put more of the same stuff out soon.

    Sports events often bring out the crazy site of people. They don't behave normally. So please don't feel the pain. There is none to speak of. Those men want to and love to fight for the tickets. Because it's kind of honor to them. For those who get the tickets they have something to brag about by the end of the day. For those who don't they still have something to brag about because of the fight.

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  • 28. At 09:27am on 26 Jul 2008, michaeluk2420 wrote:

    Interesting article - really the organizers should have restricted the length of the queue so that it can accommodate all people standing in it (everyone else should have been told to leave). They should also of checked everyone waiting had the correct documents.

    Just reading some of the other comments, even I am starting to question whether being lock in patriotic fuelled ignorance is a better option to listening to reality?

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  • 29. At 00:14am on 27 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    Topbear1974: You have obviously learned enough English to write on this blog. What you have not learned is how to read in context. James did not write with sarcasim or criticism, but straight forward reporting of what he saw. You read what you want to read. A man cannot be humilated unless he believes it himself. What James is writing is the passion of some Chinese about the Olympics and how quickly their dreams can be dashed. Mr. Lu for one had hopes of seeing a game, for whatever reason he might have. But his dream was dashed by inadvertently raising his voice of one word, voices of common men so feared by the Chinese, and he ended up being pulled off the line and being subjected to physical abuse and interogation. That is all James said. I don't know how you read victimhood into this story.

    The outsider's veiw is that Chinese should deserve more respect from the authority than they are currently being given. If anything at all, it is about support for the common men in China.

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  • 30. At 07:31am on 27 Jul 2008, Btwestneast wrote:

    Hello James!
    Very much agree with one of the contributors as saying, thank you very much James to create this platform.

    People in China will take it easy as soon as they all have free access to information and they have to wish to do so, although it might take quiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite some years, maybe a few hundred years? Please don't bust, some of you. If you calculate the years that Chinese civilizition has endured, you will agree that a few hundred years are nothing but less than 10% of the Chinese histroy.
    Then the people will understand the Olympics is just for those people from different parts of this planet to get together and PLAY. There are many other things being as honourable as winning Olympic gold, if not more. The quicker the pace of opening China to the world, the sooner for the Chinese people to understand that they are the same as others, in certain aspects, they are smarter, work harder, so on and so forth. They will then feel the Olympics is just an event with many different participants. They will then become less curious. Then there might be more tickets available and relatively less people wanting them.

    With regards to west media's lime light, the host country should have anticipated what will happen as soon as they bid for the thing. Should this be ever discounted until the real incidents happened one after another as reminders for the omission, it might be too little too late. And it is in a way showing some pre-mature in this particular case, although it may not entirely a bad thing for China and her people. Without the Olympics, they wouldn't have experienced all have happened. I would darely suggest, next time when planning to host anything as big in terms of scale as Olympics, consider all facets it may bring and balance the gain and loose before biding, No, Yes?
    Thank you, James

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  • 31. At 11:57am on 27 Jul 2008, eseverage wrote:

    the fundamental human rights - freedom to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    THINK ABOUT IT CHINA

    that's all i have to say on this Olympics 'debate'





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  • 32. At 12:35pm on 27 Jul 2008, Renee1112 wrote:

    It's very common for someone not to be able to get an Olympics ticket. Even if only Chinese buy the ticket, not all Chinese can get one. There's no need to put so much emphasis on the issue. It turns out your obvious intension to be biased of China and Chinese.

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  • 33. At 12:36pm on 27 Jul 2008, nzkiddo wrote:

    This is my first post, though I've read this blog since day one.

    All I can say, through reading all these blog messages, is that the ideological gulf between China and the West is so deep that we Chinese should no longer care about it.

    I mean, at the end of the day, regardless how the West (James included) frames China into a reality that they choose to believe does not really matter. This reminds me of a conversation I had with an American scholar. He talked a lot about what the American people believe about Tibet. I replied, "Why do you think what Americans believe about Tibet would even remotely matter?".

    Perhaps we were too self-conscious. That could be true indeed, given a million factors in the last 100 years. But things are changing, and changing fast.

    The present is not the end of history. Civilisations rise and fall. For all the West's self-righteous raving about human rights, it is only a point in time that is elapsing as we speak. Countries and peoples simply move on.

    Of course, you have the freedom to continue the bliss in your self-righteousness and manufactured reality. We will observe it, try to comprehend it, and, possibly, have a few more laughs next time we dine.

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  • 34. At 10:40pm on 27 Jul 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    james,

    there is always tickets line-ups at the olympic games, because everyone wants to go to them....

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  • 35. At 10:40am on 28 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    Chinese police beat people up, caused the person injury and forced him to confess? Where is your evidence? James. If it did happen then this person must have a bleeding wound, at least dosens of witness. Right? Why did not you present it?

    I just watched 6:30 pm SBS news here in sydney. They played their old trick again, used the footage of Nepal police cracking down on their protesters as evidence of "China's human rights abuses". I could not belive it. This kind of lies had been pointed out before because it is such an obvious lie. The Nepal police wear differrent uniform, have dark skin how can anyone mistaken them for Chinese police. Yet this kind of lies broadcasted at such peak hour would be swallowed by majority of the public unchecked.

    At the end of the day, the media always get their way.

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  • 36. At 11:55am on 28 Jul 2008, ADSM wrote:

    I didn't know the police in China were still prone to handing out beatings like the one described. If true, it's rather a shocking incident. Is there much police brutality in China?

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  • 37. At 2:58pm on 28 Jul 2008, rylain wrote:

    That guy said 'If I could just watch the Games, I'd feel my life wasn't wasted. '

    I cannot believe it....

    I guess he cried because he knew his life was wasted...

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  • 38. At 5:16pm on 28 Jul 2008, londonlurker wrote:

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

  • 39. At 11:45pm on 28 Jul 2008, baysidetina wrote:

    democracy101

    If you and other westerners think James' report has been fair and never in any way offensive to Chinese, I can only say maybe there is a huge culture Gap between Chinese and you guys.


    What I see in this blog is that James express in an attitude that most Chinese would feel offended. It is too hard to tell whether such offense is caused by culture differences or personal arrogance.

    At least when it is perceived as personal, The UK as a whole is not disliked. You know how Chinese have reacted against France in general since we started to think the French are supporting the "free tibet" moves, don't you?

    The bottom line is, the Chinese do not like their internal affair to be judged by you guys. You think you are helping us, but you can't act like a judge that discriminate us and tell us what to do.

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  • 40. At 05:06am on 29 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    Democracy 101 wrote,.. "You have obviously learned enough English to write on this blog. What you have not learned is how to read in context. "

    Whenever a person wants to engage in a healthy debate over any issue, he has to learn the basic courtesy of respecting his opponent before he can expect to be respected.

    To cast doubt on others English proficiency or to claim that others can only "see a tree but not a forest" is uncalled for and seemingly arrogant.

    Personally speaking, as a Chinese (albeit overseas), I would definitely feel more ashamed or embarassed if I do not master sufficient proficiency in Chinese. I believe a foreigner would not hold me in high esteem if I told him that I am only good in his language but not in my own.

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  • 41. At 09:35am on 29 Jul 2008, chinayan wrote:

    In Beijing, a policeman will not hit a citizen in public, although they might do it in police station, although police in other cities will.

    james told a funny story, his narration sounds like a reporter from China in the 70th or north korea.

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  • 42. At 09:39am on 29 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To 18# .

    Should we just shut up when the western media lies?

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  • 43. At 09:53am on 29 Jul 2008, chinayan wrote:

    haha, and I really could believe that the worker said those words. as a chinese I have never spoken like that and never heard anyone talking that way except in drama.

    and, did the man cry in English or you have a translator?

    your translator never seems reliable haha

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  • 44. At 10:47am on 29 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

    To nzkiddo:
    You obviously write in English like a native speaker, congratulations.
    I am a Chinese who immigrated to America during the Communist era. I have lived the time of the brutal rule of Mao. By your fluency in English, I can judge you are young enough to be my son and had not known the truth of the suffering of Chinese during that period. Now that you are a part of the well educated and affluent class in China, you want to support your government unquestioninly because you are the beneficiary of your government's policies. You are unwilling to acknowledge the history of the contribution of the West, in particularly UK and America in freeing the world from tyranny in WWII and Communism thereafter. It is from that lesson that the West is determined to not look the other way when human rights violations are committed against ordinary people. With constant pressure and criticism from the West, the Wall separating East and West Germany fell, the former totalitarian states in Easter Europe became democratic, the Soviet Union disappeared etc. Even China ended its isolation. The U.S. and UN stopped the genocide of Muslims in Croatia and Serbia, and one of its leader Karadzic has been apprehended to be tried as a war criminal. So, call it whatever you want, rightousness or arrogrance. As a Chinese living in America, I have been given full right of freedom of speech, education, travel, job with equal opportunity, justice, which China had once denied me.
    Perhaps, someday China will evolve to a stage when full rights of citizens will be provided to all rich and poor, Han people and other minority. Meanwhile, let the Western media fill in where the Chinese government fails, in its honest and truthful reporting. (That is to say that an occassional, unintentional mistake may be made.)

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  • 45. At 11:20am on 29 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To 29#.

    A Chinese person had learned enough English to post online. Congratulations to him for becoming a bilinguist. No need to talk down to the person this way only because you possess better English. OK?

    If you still have an open mind and can think independently then you would find out the truth yourself. Watch the video again. Is there any evidence at all to support the beating, forced confession, and bleeding. Where is the person sufferred all of this? Where are the witness?

    What did you see? A crowd of people, bit strained and tired. Many police, none of them had a gun or a baton. The only equiptment is a walkie-talkie. Look at the relationship between the police and the crowd. You can find out at the end of the video. A man who finally got to the front of the que saluted and smiled at police, in return he got a bottle of water from the policeman. Any fear? any tension there?

    When I first came to sydney and first time meet police patrol on a train I had a shock.
    They had guns. I thought police patroled the train with guns because there were criminals on the train. Later I realised policemen in Australia always carry guns while on duty. In China the policemen who patrol streets never have a gun they have to call in special units if a situation requires armed police. In your imagination, the Chinese police are brutal and barbaric. This is because there are too many right-wing reporters like James. They repeatedly tell onesided story to fool you. Visit China and see China through your own eyes. You will find out how biased western media is.

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  • 46. At 3:00pm on 29 Jul 2008, leezg007 wrote:

    James, I personally do not believe the construction worker got beaten up part.

    Did you personally see it what happened? Or you just quote what he said?

    As you said: someone was beated-up or tortured by the cops on the STREET, in front of the crowd(?). He was badly injured and forced
    to confess......then released on the STREET?

    He IMMEDIATELY went back to wait in the line again, (I know it takes others hours and hours to wait, you did not bother to mention how long it took him) and turned out, when he reached the booth, he does not even have the proof that he has WAITED in the line?

    James, you did not say ANYTHING about why he does not have the waiting proof. You did not even bother to ask OR you simply already knew, this guy never waited and just pushed his way to the front?

    And you, hides some critical parts and choose to present what this guy said without other proof.

    Again, did you, or any of your colleagues, personally see what happened or have recorded evidence?

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  • 47. At 4:10pm on 29 Jul 2008, tx1007 wrote:

    To democracy101,

    To be honest, do you sometimes feel like you are a white man trapped in an Asian man's body? I have to say, it's very interesting to see you wholeheartedly embracing Anglo-Saxon superiority. :)

    But have a look at this website: http://modelminority.com/

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  • 48. At 09:37am on 30 Jul 2008, hypocrisynone wrote:

    Democracy 101 wrote,

    “By your fluency in English, I can judge you are young enough to be my son and had not known the truth of the suffering of Chinese during that period…”

    Gotcha, at last. Isn’t it hilarious that someone who wrote at length two days ago detesting Chinese culture of “father knows all mentality” would suddenly metamorphose into a self-proclaimed fatherly figure indirectly boasting his own “I know all” English proficiency through remarking that someone else is young enough to be his son.

    I empathise with anyone who suffered from excesses of Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Many congratulations to those fortunate enough to have found a new lease of life in the new haven. However, China has also moved on tremendously since those dark days and will keep on improving. So please let bygone be bygone. Whether one likes it or not, China will remain intact and strong and Chinese culture is here to stay.

    Therefore a piece of sincere advice from me, a 100% overseas Chinese, try to leave politics behind you and visit China, land of your ancestors to bathe in the beauty of its mountains and waters. With that you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Incessant bad-mouthing your Motherland and your ancestral culture would only make yourself even more miserable. Life is short. Enjoy yourself.

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  • 49. At 2:27pm on 30 Jul 2008, uk_cref wrote:

    That's so true. Construction workers were always looked down there. There's no equity there at all.

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  • 50. At 2:43pm on 30 Jul 2008, tx1007 wrote:


    Hypocrisynone,

    I've read some of your comments made in several other times, especially those direclty pointing to democracy101. I have to say, they were very well articulated! Maybe so much so that they have simply been shied away by Mr101.

    I admire your optimism, and the way you put forward your arguments.

    Did you have a look at my comments before? tell me what you think if you can. It's always good to have someone smart to take on the role of criticizing.

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  • 51. At 00:36am on 31 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

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

  • 52. At 00:52am on 31 Jul 2008, democracy101 wrote:

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

  • 53. At 07:51am on 31 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To democracy 101.

    You are making lots of fuss of people 's English. Some racists do that you know. You know very little about China. Do you really have a Chinese background or just borrow the identity to make your post more convencing? If the answer is yes then when had you been in China?

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  • 54. At 08:20am on 31 Jul 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To democracy 101.

    "you are young enough to be my son" Are you Chinese at all? You know in Chinese culture it is very insulting to say that. It equates with calling someone SB.

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  • 55. At 4:54pm on 01 Aug 2008, tx1007 wrote:

    Some overseas Chinese bloggers here are ridiculously absurd. Someone just relentlessly loves to be a pet of the west. HEHEHE...

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  • 56. At 4:38pm on 12 Aug 2008, dj1979 wrote:

    Posters here have repeatedly urged James Reynolds to get a story about "the ordinary Chinese". He got one, but some of they seem still unsatisfied. It seems the only way to satisfy some of you is to write just what you wish and nothing else at all...

    Sometimes the posts here written by the new generation of Chinese are really depressing. That's why it's great to read posts like the one by democracy101 (#44) - people who know what communism in China really means and what really bridges the gap with the West and China.

    I wonder whether all those Chinese who think they serve their country by arguing with everything here actually realise how much damage they do to their country PR-wise...

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