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A cup of tea with China's police

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James Reynolds | 17:00 UK time, Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The police in China's Xinjiang region can serve a very good cup of tea at two in the morning.

Map of China showing KashgarI know this because I spent a reasonably interesting (and involuntary) hour or so with them last night (my colleagues and I were on our way to the western city of Kashgar to cover the aftermath of the attack on Monday which killed 16 policemen.)

Police officers in Xinjiang'a capital Urumqi stopped us as we were filming a series of TV late lives on the street near our hotel. They drove us in a five-car convoy to a police station and escorted into the boardroom (where three men with dyed black hair were happily watching a Russian adventure film on TV.)

Four officers came into the room and sat down in a row on the opposite side of the boardroom table (it felt a bit like a job interview.)

"Have you applied for permission to report from Xinjiang?" one of them asked us.
"We don't need to" was our (polite) answer.

Temporary reporting guidelines introduced in January 2007 for the Olympic period give foreign correspondents in China the right to travel freely in China without having to ask for the government's permission (as happened in the past.)

But the police were keen to press on. "What is the nature of your mission to the Xinjiang region?" I replied 'journalism'. They then said "Have you filmed anyone since you got here?" I said "Just me." Next question was "Have you spoken to anyone?" I responded "Yes, many police officers".

The officers warned us very courteously that we were putting ourselves in great danger by being out in the street late at night. They suggested that the government could select a few interesting places for us to visit, and that they would be happy to come along as our security escort. We declined. The police offered us tea and we accepted.

At two thirty in the morning (after a few calls from both sides to higher-ups), they agreed to let us go and get on with our work. We shook hands and left the station. I've had many encounters with the police in China - this was one of the most polite by far.

We then headed onto Kashgar (after no sleep) to look for the site of Monday's attack near a border police barracks. By the time we arrived, almost everything had been swept away. The few people milling about the scene didn't want to spend too long answering questions from foreign reporters.

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Luckily for us, one man was keen to talk (and talk and talk.) The Communist Party Secretary (ie boss) of Kashgar, Shi Dagang, held a press conference in the afternoon in order to give a few more details about Monday's attacks.

He said that the two men who carried out the attacks were local Muslims- one was a vegetable seller, the other a taxi driver."They tried to carry out jihad. It was a well plotted incident." Mr Shi said."The terrorists will never win local support," he went on, "Their activities are doomed to perish."

After an hour of almost non-stop exposition (the official sitting on the panel next to him didn't get a chance to say a single word) China's leader in Kashgar thanked us and left.

I never got the chance to ask him the one question I really wanted him to answer: could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack?


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  • 1. At 5:30pm on 05 Aug 2008, Gheryando wrote:

    It is unfair to ask whether he could "guarantee" the safety of the games. There will always be risks, everywhere and at any time. If you want to expose Chinese malpractice, then go on and ask more intelligent questions. A question like that just exposes you as desperate.

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  • 2. At 5:34pm on 05 Aug 2008, invinciblejimbot87 wrote:

    Poor old James. There he is, the BBC's man in Beijing, getting ready for the biggest party the city's ever hosted and all of a sudden he's hauled a thousand miles west to the middle of Xinjiang province.

    I feel for you James, I really do.

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  • 3. At 5:45pm on 05 Aug 2008, waterchinko wrote:

    It appears that we in the West are hoping that the Beijing Olympics will be marked by incidents, if only to feed the media.

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  • 4. At 6:15pm on 05 Aug 2008, cping500 wrote:

    James do tell us who the police were you had tea with. In the UK you would of course tell us the were for instance the Northumbrian Police. Were these the provincial force since as you realize it will have some implications.

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  • 5. At 6:31pm on 05 Aug 2008, pavlov1849 wrote:

    James, you do not have the insight, cultural knowledge, experience or historical knowledge to report in China.

    As a foreign correspondent you are not a patch on your colleagues. Your blog/bbc world segment reads/watches like diary entry ""I went to Xinjiang, it is different, it is a muslim region, it is very far from Beijing and there is a minority who would like independence - I did not get any sleep", so what ?????? - where's the history, the view point, the context with previous experiences in China, what is happening economically and socially.........nothing

    Yesterday your reporting stated it was "an exaggeration by the Chinese government the threat from muslime insurgents" .....well why are you there ? Did you speak with those connected with the bombing, the instigators, the victim families.......nothing

    Compared to correspodents for example, The Times, Time magazine, even Channel 4, there is little informed opinion or reporting within the context in China...weak and ill informed

    The bbc and indeed the British public
    deserve better........

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  • 6. At 6:33pm on 05 Aug 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    The Chinese authorities will perform 'admirably' during the Olympics; an attack would be difficult.

    They've kept order in their country for around half a century with secessionist activities in Tibet and Xinjiang, and with protests (such as Tienanmen). Beijing should be pretty safe.

    (And what was with the post on the 'Olympics predictions' article being rejected? The post wasn't particularly offensive either to the Chinese or United States at all.)

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  • 7. At 6:41pm on 05 Aug 2008, RL wrote:

    For you own safety sake, Chinese police has done a brilliant job.

    It is the Chinese border, and 16 Chinese policemen have just been killed. It is fair enough to take more cautious especially James you are not a foreign visitor. This would happen the same everywhere else in the world. You should be really appreciate.

    I am more concerned is that how long this would go on for Extremely Islamic terrorists make local people uneasy?

    James, you should find out how the Extremely Islamic terrorists link to Al qaeda in the area?

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  • 8. At 6:43pm on 05 Aug 2008, neerajsoman wrote:

    Aah, I believe the correspondent's stay at the police station would have been considerable shorter had he offered a small contribution to the police constables' "tea fund."

    This system works the same everywhere in the developing world. Especially in China, where young people are slowly taking over the lowest positions, and moving to the mid-level. God forbid that you run into an old-school stalwart with firm principles.

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  • 9. At 6:44pm on 05 Aug 2008, nonothing wrote:

    "I never got the chance to ask him the one question I really wanted him to answer: could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack?"

    Did you really think this "China's leader in Kashgar" was able to answer that question? If not, what's the point?

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  • 10. At 6:49pm on 05 Aug 2008, RL wrote:

    Have British and US government ever sponsored Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement back to 50's, 60's 70's and 80's?

    James, can you give us some report please.

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  • 11. At 7:23pm on 05 Aug 2008, Sanny3 wrote:

    Has there actually been a "terrorist attack" on 16 Chinese policemen ?
    The method of attack doesn't match any other Muslim fundamentalist atrocities ( men jump out of a truck with knives and grenades as opposed to the usual truck or car bomb.)
    There don't appear to have been any civilian casualties.
    The scene was cleared up very quickly. In fact the site looks as though any damage or repairs have been faked.
    Perhaps this is the Chinese government fabricating an incident in order to clamp down even harder on their citizens.

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  • 12. At 7:39pm on 05 Aug 2008, endyjai wrote:

    Thanks for the commentary.

    RIP to the lost lives, and take care of yourselves. I hope these attacks won't occur during the games.

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  • 13. At 7:44pm on 05 Aug 2008, churchgore wrote:

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

  • 14. At 7:56pm on 05 Aug 2008, vermilionbrush wrote:

    It would appear that there is nothing that China's authorities can possibly do that would please western journalists covering the Olympics. How could anyone give a 100 percent guarantee of safety. Could any restaurant guarantee Mr Reynolds that he would not choke on a fishbone when he orders his next fish and chips? Beijing has done all that is humanly possible to make the games safe. Instead of earning kudos, China has been unfairly criticised by commentators burdened more with their own political baggage and agenda than from any learned understanding of modern Chinese history. The West should condemn unreservedly the recent terrorist attack at Kashgar. It is not only the US and Britain who have right to brand Al Qaeda a terrorist group. The Chinese too have an equal right to define the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) as a terrorist group for reasons of public safety. To suggest that China is acting in ways other than combating terrorism can create negative impressions on people living in East Asia. We may be less inclined to be so sympathetic should something like 9/11 or the London subway blast recur.

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  • 15. At 8:16pm on 05 Aug 2008, bookclips wrote:

    James, I was a bit concerned when your blog disappeared from BBC website yesterday, as I have become quite addicted. And all sort of strang thoughts have come to my mind...I thought the BBC bosses might decide to take you off air because you start to find out more about China and become too pro-Chinese ...

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  • 16. At 8:17pm on 05 Aug 2008, thompeg wrote:

    So you meet the police again James ?

    They may have been a bit more polite because its olympic time !

    How many Chinese journalists in England would meet a policeman, let alone keep being followed,harassed , detained, sent away?

    What do you expect in a brutal police state where a citizen can be tortured and put to death for merely saying "the wrong things" to a foreigner ?

    The Chinese leadership clique in Beijing are scared James. Bullies are always scared. Bullies are always arrogant.
    And these Chinese bullies fear journalists more than terrorists : because you can tell the world what you actually see------things which are not shown to the ordinary Chinese people.

    The Beijing clique are afraid of world opinion; because if anyone knew the full depth of their actions , they would be in The International Court in The Hague with other international criminals : I wonder how they would defend Tiananamen murders of students, thousands of innocent Tibetan monks in forced labour camps, the attempted genocide of the Tibetan nation ( UN Report), the imprisonment and torture of Han who dare to say a word of criticism about the Beijing clique.The bullies are particularly adept with electric cattle prods, I assume (did you see the recent Panorama programme from the miserable land that is known as China?).

    Hey James, do you think you've just sent a report from a police state ???

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  • 17. At 9:05pm on 05 Aug 2008, marginalreform wrote:

    He's a local official, how can he assure the safety in Beijing?

    The Xinjiang killings showed that China's heavy security measure in Beijing is probably necessary after all, and journalists can now take a break from making fun of it.

    China's press restrictions, though, does not help in making the point across.

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  • 18. At 9:37pm on 05 Aug 2008, londonlurker wrote:

    "could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack?"

    This is not a fair question. Can anyone sincerely guarantee anything? Beijing is confident and prepared to provide a safe Olympics. That works for me.

    When they don't display the evidences of terrorist threat (which is confidential), you blame them for using fake threats to oppress dissents; when they can show evidences, you blame them for not being nice to you? well...

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  • 19. At 11:05pm on 05 Aug 2008, RevK wrote:

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

  • 20. At 11:16pm on 05 Aug 2008, steve5312 wrote:

    Why doesn't the BBC just concentrate on the human rights issue and grant NO coverage whatsoever to the games?

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  • 21. At 11:20pm on 05 Aug 2008, tinyFromchina wrote:

    well, take care, James.

    When are you coming back to Beijing.

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  • 22. At 11:42pm on 05 Aug 2008, xbang2003 wrote:

    Hi, James!
    before reading your article, I watched the video about some american athletes worn mask when they came to beijing. I cannot stop crying. I have been the UK for four years because I believe you have higher morality. maybe the news about china from BBC are used to give pressure to our government. being a normal chinese who had ever refused to join the communist, get lost now. I don't feel shame being a chinese, However, I feel extremely unfair to us chinese people. before you ask our government to give more human rights to us, have you done one thing to improve your attidute towards us chinese people? it seems you are encouraging anything which is anti-china. this time, I have to say, both exile tibeten and those terrorists SEEM TO have got unseeable power from SOMEWHERE IN capital countries. being a normal person, I scare about violence because I seldom get protection like rich people, meanwhile, I don't scare anymore once it happened because I am poor and don't need to worry about how much I will lose like the rich.

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  • 23. At 11:47pm on 05 Aug 2008, chuandawei wrote:

    At the last, you wrote: "I never got the chance to ask him the one question I really wanted him to answer: could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack?"
    How come you ask a question like this and seriously expecting some sure answers? What that man would think about your question?

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  • 24. At 00:32am on 06 Aug 2008, Godasse wrote:

    I strongly dislike CP for reasons I can't explain in this forum otherwise I will be censured (I have tried before). However, religious fanatics are much worse than the current CP. If it's true that this act is committed by religious fanatics, it is also likely that their action is also motivated by need of independance of their region, as is often the case.

    I hope, that the Chinese will handle this well otherwise give it another 20 years and this region could be another bloodbath.

    BTW, why don't people talk about a Chinese federation as a solution to China's border problems?

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  • 25. At 00:33am on 06 Aug 2008, KienNgo wrote:

    Dear Reynolds,

    Assume it is the year 2012 and you are head of Police in London and me a reporter in your press conference and hearing your lavish speech. Then the chance arise to ask you the one question I really wanted you to answer

    To paraphrase your last question:

    Considering the Terrorattacks on the public traffic and subway 2005 in London, could he guarantee that the London Olympics would be safe from attack?

    Would you be insulted or refuse angrily to answer or feel that the topic is not necessary related, because you are sure that no such incidents will happen while London is so heavily protected.

    I really would like to know.

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  • 26. At 00:56am on 06 Aug 2008, 1limited wrote:

    Unless a sentence is entirely in parenthesis, the full-stop should come after the closing bracket.

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  • 27. At 01:08am on 06 Aug 2008, nonfamiliar wrote:

    if there are temporary reporting guidelines in place, it's strange the police continue to go about holding up foreign journalists - didn't they get the memo? an oversight like that seems strange considering how well prepared china seems to be for the olympics. especially when it keeps happening again and again.

    my immediate response is - if you'd rather give people the impression you're hiding something than let them see it, chances are whatever it is you're hiding is pretty ugly.

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  • 28. At 01:18am on 06 Aug 2008, BradZimmerman wrote:

    I'm very eager to see how the pro-Chinese serial-posters to the blog respond to this incident.

    Will it be, "you were asking for it"? Or, "you must show China some respect (and you weren't!)" Perhaps it will be, "this is our country and 'Chinese democracy' is different (than actual democracy)!" Quite possibly someone will point out how James doesn't know Chinese, doesn't bother to investigate anything (and/or uses faulty investigatory methods), doesn't speak to regular/real Chinese people and how he ought to go back to the UK and report on the thousands and thousands of knife-attack victims which were so obviously denied their human rights.

    Yes, China-supporters, the IOC let China host the Olympics. Tragedy that may be, but the IOC didn't randomly choose a country - China bid for it and bid very, VERY hard. Unless people here are implying that China's leadership completely failed to do their homework and had absolutely no understanding of the sort of publicity (media coverage) that the Olympics creates ...then the leaders of China were implicitly (and explicitly!) welcoming thousands of journalists and the giant eye of the media to China.

    I'm just glad I live in post-Communist Poland where I do not fear the police, where leaders earn respect rather than demand it, where I can breathe the air without a mask, where my internet access is never blocked or filtered and I can be proud of our history, accomplishments and goals.

    James, keep reporting. The too-often silent but curious majority needs to have reliable sources like you letting us know what you experience in China.

    Everyone else, especially the pro-China supporters: accept the criticism with grace. It may be your country but China is part of the world and is judged by "common" standards. If the people of China wish for the world - particularly "the West" to show China respect, then the people of China can not simply dismiss the criticism with a wave of a hand and the explanation of, "it's *Chinese* democracy!"

    PS: "The West" isn't without fault, as the Chinese media is so quick and eager to show to Chinese readers and viewers. That doesn't mean, though, that "the West" or even the world can't criticize China. We can and will.

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  • 29. At 01:18am on 06 Aug 2008, tucsonmike wrote:

    A cup of tea with the cops? Sounds like British understatement.;-)
    Sounds as though you were lucky. Cops in the outer regions aren't always as tolerant.
    I also laughed because my wife and I are going to the Tucson Citizens Police Academy starting next month. I wonder if the Chinese cops will ever start such a thing?;-)

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  • 30. At 01:21am on 06 Aug 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:


    It seems that the Chinese police officers there made you an interesting cup of TEA at 2.30am in the morning!

    @ least they polite and courtous to you!

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  • 31. At 01:31am on 06 Aug 2008, tigersamosa wrote:

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

  • 32. At 02:05am on 06 Aug 2008, cnlnsyhp wrote:

    Did they show any evidence, for example, the 'Holy War' brochure or home-made guns and bombs?

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  • 33. At 02:33am on 06 Aug 2008, JimTsinghua wrote:

    James really is a very professional journalist, covering so many events across China, except that he is only interested in getting involved in local politics and spreading his shallow knowledge about something he doesn't fully understand.

    I doubt if the BBC has some real professional journalists to cover the Games in China.

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  • 34. At 03:07am on 06 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:


    Can Gorege w Bush guarantee Americans on their own soil safe from terrorist attacks after billions spend on security?

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  • 35. At 03:33am on 06 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    It is not "Kashgar", it is "Kashi" by the way because the city is in China. How would you like it if Xinhua in its English language website and news report start calling England "Yingrun"?

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  • 36. At 03:46am on 06 Aug 2008, bluejeansbj wrote:

    Honestly I can't imagine Chinese journalists being treated nicer by US or UK police.

    And honestly I can't imagine any Chinese news agency sending someone who does not speak English to be the stationed correspondent in US or UK and can still survive. James the fact that you so far have been able to do your job with your translator showed the tolerance and consideration that Chinese have towards you.

    The last bit where you complained about how much that guy talked is funny too - I thought a journalists as a general principle should welcome more information, from all kinds of sources.

    The condescending, sarcastic tone that can be found in almost every blog entry is getting quite annoying.

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  • 37. At 03:47am on 06 Aug 2008, buaadallas wrote:

    Hi James,
    I t's really very dangerous stay outside in the night. And pls understand those policemen, coz they just lost 16 their collegues. It's a very sensative time, no one can guarantee the totally safty there. So, it's necessary to warn you. I think they did the right thing.

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  • 38. At 03:53am on 06 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    James, why ask silly question to an individual to guarantee safety at the Olympics. Organiser of the Games can only do their best in security but no one can guarantee anything and I am sure you are not that stupid.
    You are a westerner wondering about in Kashi were few white men ever visited, not only that you were at the scene of a terrorist attack just a couple of days before with a camera crew and represent the BBC whose reputation as a trouble maker news organisation reknown for anti Chinese bias reporting. So what do you expect? If you did this in USA you have the living crap kicked out of you by the police if the local didnt get you first and your equipment confiscated then detain you for several weeks because you are a threat and a burden to security of the state.

    After 7/7 in London if a foreign news crew caught scouring over the bombing scenes just a couple of days after the attack and then interviewing local Muslims I am pretty sure the Met police would have taken the news crew in custody, take their DNA and send them far away as possible.

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  • 39. At 08:23am on 06 Aug 2008, TerryNo2 wrote:

    Well James, let's make a comparison: if you'd been reading out the UK Iraq War dead at the Cenotaph in London you'd have been surrounded by Police, bundled into a Police van and arrested under anti-terror legislation, as has happened to someone recently - so I wouldn't be too harsh on your Chinese hosts who have just suffered an atrocity.

    There has always been the risk that the Olympic Games would cause all kinds of people, including nutters with a "cause", to crawl out of the woodwork and make trouble. The support given by some senior politicians in the West and in some parts of the Western media to the Tibetan protests has only encouraged this.

    On the news this morning we hear that some Britons have scaled flag poles and unfurled banners in support of the Tibetan protestors. One Briton said, rather arrogantly, they they expect to be detained for a while and then deported; well, I certainly hope that is not the case and such people are sent to jail; leniency will only encourage others.

    I think somethimes we need to reflect on what the Olympic Games are all about: they are to bring nations together in friendly competitiveness and thus avoid conflict. It is a little perverse then that politicians, such as Sarkozy and our own Gordon Brown use it to make political points - ie to perpetuate conflict and not put them aside for two weeks. It is perhaps ironic that the last time there was a major controversy surrounding the Games was after Russia invaded Afghanistan - I bet there's a whole bunch of people in the West who now wish we'd have allowed them to stay there!

    London will host the Games in 2012. I hate to think of the trouble that is currently being planned for then and what measures the British Government will have to take to prevent it. We should reflect on this before criticising China.

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  • 40. At 11:14am on 06 Aug 2008, VincentCoe wrote:

    "could he guarantee that Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack."

    In this world, only death is a certainty.

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  • 41. At 12:40pm on 06 Aug 2008, stanilic wrote:

    From reading this I can only conclude that in modern China the West has met its match.

    China does not want to be patronised by the liberally-minded.

    Perhaps they understand who supplied the opium all those years ago under the guise of free trade?

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  • 42. At 1:08pm on 06 Aug 2008, Cantab wrote:

    I like China, I really do. It's one of those countries that cares about foreigners' well being more than its own citizens. Afterall that's where investment comes from and it is where our face hangs.

    However, I think China needs a few kidnaps and mishaps for people to appreciate the security and care the government provides.

    Oh well, there is always time for that.

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  • 43. At 1:30pm on 06 Aug 2008, heyone wrote:

    So even this description of what happened to you in the police station provoked endless criticisms of you and BBC being biased and anti-China.

    Would people quit complaining things being politicised? Olympics is politics on its own and it's the Chinese government and some Chinese people politicising everthing - they see conspiracies in whatever written, reported or advocated by the West.

    Well, it might be an unfair question for the local official, but the thing is, Reynolds wasn't even given a chance to ask.

    I am not sure how effective a press conference without questions being allowed is.

    I don't know where people get their Chinese-journalists-getting-harrassed stories from (perhaps some assume whatever bad happens in China happens in the West too) never heard of these either from western or Chinese media.

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  • 44. At 2:25pm on 06 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

    To Bradzimmerman.

    You are free to critisize China. But if you lie we will give you some response. The current Olympic circus is a political game among big countries. Find out how much you have been lied to by your dear media first before you boast you "free and fair" media.

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  • 45. At 2:27pm on 06 Aug 2008, michaellou wrote:

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  • 46. At 2:30pm on 06 Aug 2008, angrychinese wrote:

    That most people don't talk to you long, from my opnion is that:

    they are not good at english at the remote city.

    they know western jounalists always try to post negative part. Even though they talk something real, the western jounalists suppose that is supressed by communist party.

    If you would like to tell something more fairly or care more Chinese lives(16 lives), you will not be so feared.

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  • 48. At 2:41pm on 06 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

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  • 49. At 2:59pm on 06 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

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  • 51. At 3:08pm on 06 Aug 2008, AlbertSwift wrote:

    James, for your information the one child policy has been relaxed. Children born from the one child policy who marry another only child can now have two children. This covers the majority of the current generation. Moreover, uneligible couples who choose to have more than one child now face just a £10,000 fine. Before the penalty was much harsher, including loss of job, status and home.

    Get your facts right. But I guess it only helps to support your negative reporting of China.

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  • 52. At 4:04pm on 06 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

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  • 53. At 4:11pm on 06 Aug 2008, bookclips wrote:

    tofupanda wrote:
    "Have British and US government ever sponsored Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement back to 50's, 60's 70's and 80's?"

    May be some research should be done in CIA's involvement with the Tibetian up rising also?

    I came from Cambodia and remember well what the American CIA did to my country back in 1970. They overthrown the royal kingdom in 1970 and installed a puppet regime (with rigged democratic election) which was so corrupt and brutal that triggered a civil war that eventual brought the murderous Polpot (or Khmere Rough) in power that subsequently killed nearly two million of Cambodians.

    So James (and all good western people), please learn about the history of China before critising their governement and people.

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  • 54. At 4:11pm on 06 Aug 2008, nevillevansier wrote:

    2 civilians (one sells vegetables) killing 16 armed soldiers and wounding 16 more with just a normal truck, two grenades and a knife is really unbelievable. Either the soldiers were too rookie to defend themselves against two weak opponents or the attackers were extra-skilled uber super Rambo-type commandos.

    I definitely believe and share James' ideas.

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  • 55. At 4:52pm on 06 Aug 2008, Kathleen_K wrote:

    "Could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack? ", could he? Could anyone? Not a pity that you didn't get the chance to ask him, whatever the answer was, the answer would be meaningless. Also, in future, please ask open-ended questions, not leading questions, or yes/no questions. Show us real journalism and professionalism, please. Not sure why you didn't manage to get locals who was willing to talk you. Reporters from other agencies managed to do so. Maybe you had bad luck or you did get some, but their answers just didn't fit the appetite of the BBC.

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  • 56. At 4:52pm on 06 Aug 2008, tclim38 wrote:

    You want the policemen in Xinjiang to guarantee the Olympic safety in Beijing, which is 2000 miles away?
    And, that was the question you really want them to answer? Are you serious?

    James, I suspect Xinjiang tea might contain too much alcohol. Next time, please ask if they have WooLong from Taiwan :-)

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  • 57. At 5:03pm on 06 Aug 2008, meng0823 wrote:

    "could he guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack?"
    I wonder if your government and polices can guarantee my safty and other brits' safty in england?(since there were terrorists' activites in your country.not to mention about the game you helding in 4 years time) Can they?

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  • 58. At 5:49pm on 06 Aug 2008, nycjoan wrote:

    some readers here thought James Reynolds covers only the Olympics in Beijing. In fact, he clearly says that he is "sharing his thoughts on day-to-day life in China plus the big events, most notably the Olympic Games in 2008." so it's completely understandable if he appeared in xinjiang and reported something else other than the game.

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  • 59. At 7:03pm on 06 Aug 2008, churchgore wrote:

    "It was important for us that there be a clear voice speaking out against the Chinese government's abuse of human rights," the Rev. Patrick Mahoney, director of the Christian Defense Coalition in Washington, told AP by telephone afterward.

    They erected a banner in front of communist strongman Mao Zedong's mausoleum that said "Christ is King" and knelt and prayed in Tiananmen Square.

    Obviously, they are not shot as they angrily predicted earlier.

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  • 60. At 7:18pm on 06 Aug 2008, churchgore wrote:

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

  • 61. At 8:41pm on 06 Aug 2008, fairreport wrote:

    Did not have time to come James's Blog, looks like it is busier than ever, James, your colleagues in BBC might hate you, you have been keeping them very busy for censoring your blog.

    I have read James's Olympic predictions, I have a few predictions as well:

    (1) James will not have a single reports on Olympic, he will do terrorist attacks, traffic, pollution, protests etc to satisfy some people's needs and his personal desire.

    (2) James will be the most famous journist in the West after the Olympic, will win a BAFTA probably. He has done a "BRILLIANT" job in china.

    (3) He will win a goldon medal from Tibet seperatist organizations. Like Jack Chan said, the anti-China protestors just wanted to obtain TV coverage and fame, they don't know anything about Tibet. This does not matter for James though. I have read the news today, a few British and American students demostrated in Beijing, I think they did the right thing, but in a wrong place, should be in Iraq.

    (4) James will leave China after Olympic. He has tried as hard as possible to destroy China's reputation, unitification, as well as economy, he is no longer useful for BBC or backstage bosses after Olympic. The anti-China governmenst and organizations got whatr they thought they have got(as a matter of fact, nothing), and James has got his fame, all are happy, he has no need to stay in China anymore.

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  • 62. At 9:33pm on 06 Aug 2008, objection2it wrote:

    Oh well, this is what we can expect to see more of on the TV coverages of the Games. No fun, no Games.

    As I fear, nothing to see of the Games but just the protestors, Tibet monks, terrorists and western activists in and around China.

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  • 63. At 11:54pm on 06 Aug 2008, john wrote:

    This event ( the Olympics in Beijing) because of the manoeuvring several years ago - aided and abetted by several vested interests has become in effect the world's biggest Chinese take away!!.

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  • 64. At 00:46am on 07 Aug 2008, endyjai wrote:

    I just watched Panorama with John Sweeney in China.

    My vent:

    Journalists don't own the world.

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  • 65. At 02:44am on 07 Aug 2008, drmarkmark wrote:

    Thompeg and Bradzimmerman,
    do write more, we all need to have different views for balance perspective.

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  • 66. At 04:31am on 07 Aug 2008, bbscoukuser wrote:

    putting Tianjin as part of Hebei Province shows exactly how ignorant the BBC journalists are...


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  • 67. At 05:42am on 07 Aug 2008, nonfamiliar wrote:

    "China does not want to be patronised by the liberally-minded. Perhaps they understand who supplied the opium all those years ago under the guise of free trade?"

    obviously the chinese people who profited from smuggling and distributing opium throughout their own country can't be entirely free of implication in that particular series of events. is it even relevant? the CCP doesn't seem to take much exception to myanmar's huge opium production industry these days.

    while i don't dispute colonialism's many crimes, the propaganda taught in chinese school is far from a complete education in history. the chinese ruling class have spent centuries perfecting the art of blaming external forces for china's problems, but this view of history is not often supported by the real events.

    indeed, often the opposite can be shown to be true - for instance it would be hard to argue china's current prosperity would have been possible without opening up her economy to the global trade. nor would the olympics have been granted her without considerable goodwill on the part of the international community.

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  • 68. At 06:04am on 07 Aug 2008, YourLittlePony wrote:

    It has all become much clearer to me now ...

    I read this blog regularly and I have often been baffled at the strange misinterpretation of Chinese situations/actions/comments by this reporter.

    But I realise now it's because he is a newbie, he hasn't been in China very long at all. Of course he can't be expected to understand various things happening around him. Does he even speak/read Mandarin?

    I'm reminded of an anecdote I once read about an Eastern European reporter on their first trip to Britain. He went into a pub and sat down, expecting waiter service. After getting more and more agitated at the lack of 'service', half an hour later he walked out without having drunk anything and wrote a vitriolic tirade about the inhospitality and rudeness of bar-staff in Britain.

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  • 69. At 10:52am on 07 Aug 2008, walkingfish99 wrote:

    china can not expect 100% support for the olympics.
    Like what happened in last few Olympic events, there surely are terrorist groups waiting for the time to sabotage.

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  • 70. At 7:13pm on 07 Aug 2008, hizento wrote:

    Latest report says the smog today is the worst it has been for 2 weeks but it is not bad enough for athlete to compete in endurance events. Former British medalist Steve Cram had a run around and found air quality is fine. Air quality can only improve from now on till the end of the game so all these doom merchants and scare mongering whipped up by western journalists can go and find something else to report on.

    BTW George Bush criticising China's human rights is like the pot calling the kettle black. He is fortunate that the Chinese government has tight control over its people because in a democratic China the ordinary Chinese people would have Bush hung, drawn and quartered and welcome wars with the US and anybody who dare to challenge.

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  • 71. At 01:56am on 08 Aug 2008, Kitty Antonik Wakfer wrote:

    I'm surprised that more commenters didn't express surprise that just 2 individuals are considered by Chinese police to be responsible for killing 16 policemen - and not even with a bomb planted or driven into a building. These were policemen supposedly jogging outside the compound where reportedly 2 grenades were thrown from a garbage truck and then the victims attacked with knives. Sounds like a great deal of physical injury caused under circumstances described. If this actually happened as related, it would seem that the Chinese government would have more credibility if it had allowed the damage to be viewed by outsiders rather than simply issue statements with the area closed to viewing/photographing (from a suitable distance to permit preservation of actual evidence, of course). It leaves the plausibility of the claims to be questioned by readers as to the degree and/or circumstances of the actual damage done. This is very much the situation regarding the US government actions to remove/conceal evidence in numerous situations in past 7 years - and of course far longer than that.

    **Kitty Antonik Wakfer
    Casa Grande AZ USA and Harcourt Park ON Canada

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  • 72. At 03:35am on 08 Aug 2008, wonderfulchinese wrote:

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

  • 73. At 03:43am on 08 Aug 2008, luckypapadatos wrote:

    I am sure he can guarantee that the Beijing Olympics would be safe from attack. Because Uilgan Ethics are quite different from Han. They are closely monitored in Beijing. So no problems?

    Also Tibetans are not very violent, and most Chinese petitioner are seeking for their own interest.

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  • 74. At 6:29pm on 09 Aug 2008, omahhum wrote:

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

  • 75. At 5:38pm on 12 Aug 2008, TomWong wrote:

    Rational Thinking and Common Sense are rare comodities...

    Criticising China for deploying 110,000 security personnel for the Beijing Olympics as excessive is nonsense in the light of relevant facts. Before George Bush arrived in Beijing, Seoul deployed 25,000 troops and police to protect him for a day or two, and arrested about 150 anti-Bush/USA protestors as well. Beijing has over a hundred heads of states and governments, including Bush, over a period of over 2 weeks.

    Expecting Beijing to guarantee safety of everyone is simply too much. Beijing is much larger than NewYork. Just ask how many homicides happen in NewYork on the average day. There are almost half a million visitors to Beijing Olympics, many times more than security personnel. The media should welcome the importance China place on the safety of her guests. Beijing don't have the omnipresent surveillence cameras that blanket London, so more eyes on the street are alternative.

    The media can spin a story easily by citing some facts and mump on other relevant information. Just as Western Media has constantly criticise China for warning of separatist terrorism in XinJiang and Tibet, it is largely ignoring or dismissing the crimes perpetuated by them.

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