Friday, August 8, 2008

Reality Check

While all the focus on the Olympics emerges in Beijing China, I thought I'd take a glance at current happenings in Tibet.

New report reveals intensified crackdown in Tibet as Olympics opens
International Campaign for Tibet
August 5th, 2008

"Despite its promotion of a 'peaceful Olympics', China has intensified its crackdown on Tibet this week following the most significant uprising in nearly 50 years. The wave of mainly peaceful protests against the Chinese government that has swept across Tibet since March 10 is a result of more than half a century of Communist Party misrule, revealing the breakdown of Beijing's Tibet policy at a time when China seeks to convey an image of pre-Olympics harmony.

In order to hide its repression in Tibet, China has virtually sealed off the entire plateau - despite promising increasing openness in the buildup to the Olympics - and imposed a news blackout. A new report published by the International Campaign for Tibet, 'Tibet at a Turning Point: the Spring Uprising and China's New Crackdown' ( provides evidence gathered at great risk of:

The 'disappearance' and detention of hundreds of Tibetans, including monks, nuns and schoolchildren, who are treated with extreme brutality in custody
Unarmed peaceful protestors who have been shot dead, and names of those who have died following torture in prison or as a result of suicide due to despair over the crackdown or being made to denounce the Dalai Lama
More than 125 protests across the Tibetan plateau - the overwhelming majority non-violent. Tibetans have risked their lives to demonstrate that the exiled Tibetan leader, the Dalai Lama, represents Tibetan interests, and not the Chinese state
Sweeping new measures to purge monasteries of monks and ban worship in the wake of the protests, revealing a systematic new attack on Tibetan Buddhism led by Chinese leader Hu Jintao that is reminiscent of the excesses of the Cultural Revolution
Mary Beth Markey, Vice President for Advocacy for the International Campaign for Tibet, says: "Hu Jintao's leadership appears to have chosen no other means than force and intimidation to restore control in Tibet, and has imposed a brutal crackdown that owes more to the political extremism and paranoia of the Maoist era than to a 21st century would-be superpower. As a matter of urgency, world leaders attending the Olympics must publicly express concern in Beijing about the crackdown in Tibet and the hardline policies that led to the spring uprising."

The International Campaign for Tibet is also pressing leaders to seek from Beijing a full accounting of the more than one thousand Tibetans whose status following the spring demonstrations in Tibet is unknown."

So if things seem strangely calm in China, regarding Tibet, it is oppression & iron fist rule that are making it so.

In other news Prezzzident Bush gave the Chinese a verbal whupping about human rights violations & pollution.
Please? They must have thought they were being Punk'd.

I noticed they gave Bush a crappy seat up in the bleachers, or "nosebleed" section, he does not appear to be in the cushy VIP seating area. Bush was having to use binoculars to see the opening ceremony! Is this the Chinese way of saying "take your opinions & criticism & shove it"?

Kudos to the creative concepts of the opening ceremonies....
It was beautiful & dreamlike with cultural ties, and innovative ideas.
I watch the Olympics with the spirit of the international unity at the heart of the gathering.
The idea that China is hosting the Olympics is questionable as the list of negatives is long- human rights, even air quality issues. I am choosing to cut through all the negative elements, and tune in to the original intent.


Fran said...

I have mixed feelings about watching the Olympics at all. I know many are boycotting, re the Human rights violations, and the ongoing horrific treatment of the people & culture of Tibet.
It is in the spirit of the joining of all people in the world for this worldwide event & coming together of all cultures, race, color, creed that I am watching.
But I wish the idiot American announcers would STFU. They are such an embarrassment with their endless blathering on, reading poorly written scripts. They are rude & insensitive. "the average person in this country makes 120 a year. these people have never won an olympic medal."
Please! someone shut them up with the BS remarks already. It;s day one & I;ve had about all I can take with their commentaries.

D.K. Raed said...

I watched the opening ceremonies, and noticed what you did ... that Bush was stuck up in the boonies. In a couple of those camera shots, he was checking his watch & looking like a kid stuck in a boring sunday school sermon. I saw he exchanged a few words with Putin (what, congratulating him on sending tanks into Georgia today?).

I thought the opening ceremonies very worthwhile, in fact they are about the only Olympics-related thing I ever watch. But even with all the glitz & razzledazzle, there were plenty of creepy moments where I felt like I was watching a robot army.

The Tibet treatment stinks. Of course we will see no protests. The state crackdown & surveillance control is complete. I'm sure Bush is very envious.

Fran said...

Oh DK we were having a *sarcasm fest* for opening ceremonies, here at my house. the Olympics has turned into a strange commercial event, and heavy political overtones, reflecting the heay stuff going on in the world. I do love seeing small factions from some small unheard of Island. I hope they win (and shut those announcers up!).
Lots of people feel disgust over the pagentry, knowing any semblance of dissent has been beaten down- sometimes quite literally.
An Oregon man climbed a crane & unfurlked a banner about Tibet. He was arrested & they took his credit card & bought him an expensive plane ticket home.
I think that is illegal, but don;t know the details.... maybe they said you can rot in a Chinese prison the rest of your life, or sign off on this airplane ticket purchase.

There was a robotic element to the opening ceremonies, it;s true-- but they had some very creative elements-- the footsteps (fireworks) to the stadium was interesting. The Giant art screen with dancing painters doing the brushstrokes, the huge scroll, the global & universe imagery, and the walk of all nations/athletes, walking across the ink pads then onto a giant canvas.
The people with glowing lights on them were very cool. 2008 drummers, and the 2008 Tai Chi Masters, the ripple imagery with boxes... and the waterfall element on the upper stadium surrounded by screens. And of course, the lighting of the torch. I remembered there were may protests when teh torch did it;s around the world tour, so I felt like the torch had some special element of a real shedding of the light on the human rights issues of China. Like shedding light or enlightenment on the violations- not blind support.
A creative opening ceremony is a thing to behold.

enigma4ever said...

Hey there I just read what you and DK wrote..I much..also we too were being very sarcastic....there was beauty and was the little things that got me- the little earthquake boy with the great big Basketball player......and I frankly loved bush was given stadium seating- I thought that was perfect...

Some of it was so beautiful..and some of it so militaristic that I felt it was a polarizing thing to absorb...I watched it twice that night to see if I got it wrong- so did 6-6...both of us were left kind of worried...restless...very odd...

thank you for writing this post and remembering the other angle to this...I really appreicate much....I noticed too that the opening ceremonies were very careful to not use the Saffron color at all...

Fran said...

Hi E ~ It is a mixed bag for sure. We all obviously don't condone Human rights violations-- but if that were the case-- the US, Russia, China & a host of other countries would be eliminated as well.
The athletes are not caught up in the politics of it.... just want to do their thing & for many that is a small window of time.

Just trying to find the balance.

Eathquake boy, who rescued 2 other classmates & lost 20 of 30 classmates, is such a kindred soul. That kid won the gold before the games ever began! Awww.