Friday, April 11, 2008

Olympics and anti-China protests may have long term consequences

By China Watcher

On Friday, Singapore Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong has warned that the massive anti-China protests in London, Paris and San Francisco have created an unprecedented outrage in China, especially among the young.

According to Mr. Lee, there is vast amount of content carrying virulent anti-foreign sentiments on the Internet Bulletin boards from angry Chinese commenting on the protests stirred up by the activists and the Tibetans exiled camp. Most of them viewed the protests as anti-Chinese and an attempt to block China’s "coming out party" through the staging of the Olympics.

He was speaking at a conference on "The Politics of Knowledge", organized by the London School of Economics and Political Science and Singapore's Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Mr. Lee also believes that no protesting group truly expects their public display of outrage at China's treatment of Tibetans or ethnic Han dissidents will be able to change China's policy. On the other side of the torch relay, there were Pro-China camps supporting China’s promotion of the Olympics but most of these were not reported. Fortunately, I was able to read this part of the news through various non-Western media.

Whatever the intention of these demonstrators, the people of China believe the protesters want to inflict maximum humiliation on China and the Chinese people more than the Chinese government. He held strongly to his view that these anti-foreign sentiments among the young would have far deeper and wider consequences in their lifetime, well beyond the Olympic Games.

He also added that in an age where information can flow freely and faster, it will not be easy to keep the debate in internet forums and bulletins on a level headed plane, which at times is governed more by emotions rather than reasons.

I shared this view in my earlier article that the anti-China sentiments
could have far reaching consequences. If you view some of these published images captured on the anti-China protests especially in Paris, you cannot help feeling that the French security and police were actually condoning the protests by not seriously blocking the torch from being snatched or extinguished. If that is the way the West wants to challenge China then they must be willing to face the consequences in the future.

If the West continues these unrelenting and unguarded anti-Chinese protests in the name of freedom of expression, I am very certain the Western world would not only have to face the ascent of an uncompromising Muslim world but also a huge anti-western group from China in the near future.

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