Remember this symbol

by lestro

Something tells me we are going to be seeing a lot of it in the next few weeks…

A student carries a sign board reading disaster after she took part in the Mianyang leg of Beijing Olympic torch relay outside the Jiuzhou stadium on Monday in Mianyang of Sichuan Province, China. The three-day Beijing Olympic torch relay held in the quake-hit Sichuan province, the last relay leg before Beijing.

(August 04, 2008) Getty Images via the Seattle Post-Intelligencer

That symbol for ‘disaster’ has been looking oddly familiar all day, and then it suddenly hit me:

But a disaster brewing in China? Are you sure?

They’re usually so careful about an unrestricted media, human rights and the environment...

With four days left before the start of the 2008 Summer Games, Chinese officials have not lived up to key promises they made to win the right to host the Olympics, including widening press freedoms, cleaning up their capital city’s polluted air and respecting human rights.

Gee, it is hard to believe that the Chinese government lied. Who could have ever predicted this?

One of the charter’s six fundamental principles states, “Any discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”

Especially when it turns out that not only did they lie, they actually got worse…

Critics, including top U.S. officials, said Chinese officials have violated those agreements by tightening repression of political dissent in advance of the Games and not allowing reporters covering the Olympics full access…

A recent report by the human rights advocacy group Amnesty International found that Chinese officials have stepped up their persecution of followers of the outlawed Falun Gong spiritual movement, and detained rural petitioners seeking redress on a range of political issues…

Some critics look back and say that it was easy to believe most of the official statements.


Only idiots believed the official statements. Any of us with our eyes open rolled them so hard when Beijing got the games that they damn near fell out of our heads.

Despite making verbal pledges, Chinese officials likely didn’t legally agree to take any action to improve the country’s human rights record, said Susan Brownell, a U.S.-based adviser to the Beijing City Olympic Education Standing Office.

Brownell said she’d seen neither Beijing’s Candidature File nor the Host City Contract but had talked to people who’d seen the contract.

“The idea’s out there that China made commitments on human rights, but it’s simply not true,” Brownell said. “Nobody was in any mood to make any promises then.”

If only we spoke Chinese…

6 Responses to Remember this symbol

  1. kim says:

    I don’t support a boycott and I want the Beijing Olympics to be a success.

    But the Games are a chance, while the world is watching, to press China for change.

    Without change China will carry on executing more of its citizens than any other country in the world, it will continue censoring the media and the Internet and it will continue locking up and torturing those who try to stand up for their rights and the rights of others.

    It isn’t political. To stand up for human rights is to stand up for the values enshrined in the Olympic Charter.

  2. here’s a recent quote from America’s fearless leader:

    In an interview aboard Air Force One with The Washington Post, Bush said it was “really hard to tell” whether human rights in China had improved over the past eight years.

    Bush said he speaks candidly with Chinese President Hu Jintao about human rights, but he skirted a question about a pre-Olympics security drive by Chinese authorities.

    “They’re hypersensitive to a potential terrorist attack,” Bush said in the article for Tuesday’s editions of the paper. “And my hope is, of course, that as they have their security in place, that they’re mindful of the spirit of the Games, and that if there is a provocation, they handle it in a responsible way without violence.”

  3. and China is “sorry” about beating up all those foreign journalists…

    KASHGAR, China — As tens of thousands of foreign journalists arrive to test China’s pledges to respect media freedom during the Olympic Games, the nation Tuesday offered apologies for the beatings police gave two Japanese journalists covering a deadly assault by Muslim separatists.

    Paramilitary police kicked and beat the two journalists, throwing one to the ground and putting boots to his head and body, and damaging his photo gear.

    In a separate incident, police entered the hotel room of an Agence France Presse photographer and forced him to delete photos of the attack scene, the French agency said.

    … Kawakita said paramilitary police swarmed him, lifted him off the ground by his arms and legs and carried him inside a compound, where they kicked him and put a boot to his cheek.

    “It was unbelievable,” said Kawakita, who is in China for two months to cover the Olympic Games.

    Another Japanese reporter, 37-year-old Shinji Katsuta, of the Nippon Television Network, was also manhandled, thrown to the ground and detained.

    … The state Xinhua news agency said the border police would pay to repair the damaged camera gear and other equipment and offer medical treatment for light injuries.

    It said both senior border police and city officials later apologized to the journalists, although it said the two “disobeyed the rules” by entering an area under border police control.

    Kawakita’s employer disputed that version.

    “We strongly protest against the violent detention of a reporter who was reporting by fair means,” Tokyo Shimbun said in a statement carried by Japan’s Kyodo news agency.

    and no word yet on whether apologies will be made for the shut down of the most evil of threats to peace and security:

    Aug. 5 (Bloomberg) — Police locked down Kashgar, cut Internet access in China’s westernmost major city and detained journalists after an attack yesterday by members of the Uighur ethnic group killed 16 officers, according to media reports.

    Web access was shut today in the city, Agence-France Pressereported, citing the staff of Yiquan Hotel, across the road from where yesterday’s attack occurred.

  4. emrldwpn says:

    The Olympic symbol is the character for “jing”, or capital, like in “Beijing”. It is not the character for disaster…

  5. Jangel says:

    My belief is a huge difference between the Olympic games in Greece at 2004 and now in China,is that at Athens it was a celebration for humanity,the Olympic games in China i am afraid that it is just a “show” of discipline and a try to be a more friendly country for tourists.
    Also, the problems started from the first day,i didn’t believe in my ears when i heard that they arrest people for dancing and singing at the road!
    Except that,i saw the show for the start of the Olympic Games and i felt nothing,the only thing that came up to my mind is this people they organize these games not because they want it,or because they like it,but just because they have to.

  6. thesixteenthzephyr says:

    I agree with Kim…. Just watching the Olympics the past two days, I have noticed the extreme importance placed on “national honor,” a concept with which Chinese athletes are absolutely obsessed and a theme that resonates throughout Chinese history and modern culture. If China receives international recognition of its problems–and the media is clearly not averse to commentating extensively on the various environmental and human rights issues as anyone watching has probably noticed–hopefully this blow to the country’s national honor will prompt them to try harder and make strides towards wider freedoms and compatibility with nature.

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