Monday, April 14, 2008

Chinese government has protest activists to thank for

By China Watcher

The series of activists’ protests supported silently by the Western governments following the Olympic Torch runs especially in London, Paris and San Francisco have in fact created a repercussion which is exactly the opposite of what it was intended to do. Singapore has stated that the negative consequences will be well beyond the spectrum of East-West relations even after the Olympic dusts have settled in late August 2008.

Activists’ demands

These Tibetan exiles and human rights activists, as reported by the Western media, have been using the Olympics protests to pressure the Chinese government to accede to its 3 demands, that is, firstly, to correctly handle the Tibetan violence, secondly to improve human rights in China by Western standards and lastly, to do more to alleviate the sufferings of the tribal people residing in the Darfur region in Sudan.

These activists are a bunch of interested bystanders who are out to create its own agenda to try to resolve the world’s problems. Obviously, they would not be so influential and strong if the Western governments and media are not solidly behind them. I am not at all convinced that the uprisings and the torch runs protest were all that noble and non violent.

Thankful to the protests activists

Any person who thought that the many protests will cause discomfort and uneasiness among the Chinese leaders would be mistaken. Some Western journalists have happily commented that the torch runs were a PR disaster for China but I would like to think differently. In fact, the Chinese government will owe the organizers of riots and protests the valuable gratitude for creating the opportunity for them to rally the huge Chinese population to its side. To date, the majority of the Chinese is supportive of the government stance and is of the opinion that Tibet is forever a part of China. Perhaps only a handful of the unhappy dissidents and political exiles in the US are supportive of the Western bigger agenda.

The massive pro-government rally at the torch runs and the many comments of Chinese participants on the Internet bulletins and forums – both domestic and overseas – only reaffirmed my firm position on this matter. I also agreed wholeheartedly with the Singapore Prime Minister that these protests will have a wider repercussion well beyond the Olympics due to the virulent attacks of the West by the Chinese youths on the Net, a breeding ground to the possibility of the formation of anti-Western groups in the future.
Torch runs in Argentina and Tanzania

Meanwhile the torch relays in Buenos Aires and Dar es Salaam have concluded without the chaotic and unruly behaviors of the activists in snatching and extinguishing the torch from disabled torchbearers and the prevention of the buses from reaching its destinations. The difficult stretches of the global tour of the torch relay could be over except in India and Japan where the activists are quite active. But I am confident the governments of these countries are unlikely to allow any disruptions to the torch compared to those sympathetic Western countries, of which I believe they may have an underlying agenda.

Not attending will hurt athletes more

According to an Olympic official, world leaders who intend to snub China by boycotting the opening ceremony over its controversial restoration of order in Tibet will only hurt their own athletes rather than the mood of the Games. IOC President commented that the attendance of the Heads of State or representatives will provide the morale boost to their respective contingents when they come marching into the main Olympic Stadium accompanied by their national flags.

China will take a dim view of any leader who did not attend the ceremony because of political differences and relationship will likewise be strained accordingly. Only the French President has linked his attendance to the initiation of a dialogue between the Chinese government and Tibetan representatives. Most Western leaders were smart enough to say that the non attendance at the opening ceremony was planned long before the Tibetan riots.

Olympics Invitations

I have just found out that it is not the Chinese government who issues the invitation to heads of state or governments to attend but it comes jointly from the IOC and the Beijing Organizing Committee through their respective National Olympic Committees. As such, the boycott of the Olympics whether is partial or full is also a snub of the IOC and its own sports associations.

In reality as demonstrated in past Olympics attendance, it may not be the heads of state but most likely a country’s representative will attend the Olympics event. So I do not understand why those Western media will need to make big hue and cry over this attendance matter. The non attendance of the political figures will not affect the quality and success of the Games as the most important factors are the athletes’ performance and the wide support of the sports fans throughout the world.

At this juncture, the public opinion is on the side of not boycotting the Games even in Western countries.

Human rights issue

As for the lack of perceived human rights in China in the West, politicians or elected representatives are present to resolve it either through the UN or with the ongoing bilateral dialogue sessions. Yesterday, a spoke person from the White House said that in the correct perspective that the only way to resolve the human rights issue in China is through dialogue and not through protests or boycotts.

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