Tag Archives: China

China Reports On Tibetan Uprising’s 50th Anniversary – Sort Of

Visit to 14th Dalai Lama’s last residence in Lhasa_English_Xinhua.

China’s Xinhua News agency didn’t exactly ignore today’s 50th anniversary. It was briefly mentioned in an otherwise rosy travelogue:

LHASA, March 10 (Xinhua) — Norbu Lingka, in western Lhasa, was the last residence for the 14th Dalai Lama before he started his life in exile following a failed armed rebellion in 1959.

Traces of the turmoil have faded over the past five decades in the fast-changing Tibet and can hardly be spotted in the tranquility of early spring in the garden park.

And buried somewhere near the end:

Fifty yeas ago, the upper ruling class in Tibet staged an armed rebellion to preserve serfdom and theocracy and the Norbu Lingka was the location of the rebellion headquarters.

And China Daily gives us this when China on Tuesday called for the withdrawal of a proposed US congressional resolution on Tibet:

As this year marks the 50th anniversary of end of feudal serfdom in Tibet, Ma said,”The democratic reforms are the widest, most profound and most comprehensive social reforms in Tibetan history, blazing a new path for Tibet’s prosperity.”

In March 1959, the Chinese government dissolved the aristocratic local government of Tibet and freed more than 1 million serfs.

“Over the past 50 years, Tibet has undergone profound changes in the political, economic and cultural sectors and the millions of serfs have become the new owners of Tibet,” Ma said.

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2009-03/10/content_7564826.htm

So everything there is great – right?

Dave Zirin’s piece “China’s Olympic Trials”

Folks – this article is in the new issue of the Nation. If you reproduce or republish, please include that fact as well as the below link.
In struggle and sports,
Dave Z

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20080818/zirin

China’s Olympic Trials
By Dave Zirin,

“Go Red for China!” was the slogan unveiled on the Chinese mainland by Pepsi-Cola, whose ubiquitous blue can will, “for a limited time,” be red. Pepsi is just one of many companies advertising at the Olympics, at a cost of up to $6 billion, in an attempt to tap a largely untouched market of more than 1 billion. “You’ve never seen the Olympics in a market that has such domestic commercial scale,” Michael Wood, chief executive for greater China at advertising firm Leo Burnett, told the New York Times. “When the Olympics were in Los Angeles and Atlanta, the U.S. market was already fully developed.”
This is the Olympics the West wanted: games where the grandest prize is not a gold medal but a glittering entree to China’s seemingly endless army of potential consumers. This is the reason that George W. Bush will attend the opening ceremonies, the first U.S. President to do so on foreign soil, and that in March, mere days before the crackdown in Tibet, Condoleezza Rice, laughably, took China off the State Department’s list of nations that abuse human rights.

But if the stakes are high for Western capitalism, for China they may well be higher. Beijing has spent as much as $40 billion to build train stations and Olympic facilities, uprooting more than 1.5 million residents, all in the hope that the games would mark, as the official Xinhua news agency put it, a “historical event in the great renaissance of the Chinese nation.”
National renaissance, however, may be giving way to revolt, both internally and from the athletes themselves. The buzz in the lead-up to 8/8/08 is not merely in Beijing. It’s in Hunan, Shanghai, Guizhou and earthquake-devastated Sichuan, which have all recently seen mass demonstrations against Communist Party rulers. Provincial authorities are now under extraordinary pressure to crack down on protests. Instructions from Beijing are to “go on a war footing” to head off further upheaval before the games.

The steady percolation of the conflict at home has been matched — or even exceeded — by international anger. Athletes, activists and globe-trotting protesters are poised to raise a panoply of issues, including China’s crackdown on Tibet, its support for the Sudanese regime and environmental concerns. The Communist Party has been forced to respond to this pressure cooker by opening a steam valve, announcing on July 24 that public protests will be permitted during the games inside three designated city parks. But as the Times reported, “Demonstrators must first obtain permits from local police and also abide by Chinese laws that usually make it nearly impossible to legally picket over politically charged issues.”
If Chinese leaders believe that will release enough steam for a smooth games, they could be in for a surprise. Olympic protest may extend beyond the parks. More than 200 athletes from “Team Darfur” may be wearing bracelets and speaking out against human rights abuses. As Jessica Mendoza of the U.S. softball team told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “I don’t think it’s my place to tell China what to do. But I do think it’s my place to tell people what is happening. I want people to know that nearly 400,000 people have been killed in Darfur since 2004.” Athletes are also angry that the air quality in what Beijing is calling the “green Olympics” could be hazardous to their health.

A public relations catastrophe could be in the making if dissenters manage to break through the media blockade that runs from Beijing’s troubling record on press freedom to NBC’s soft news coverage. It should not be China’s to bear alone; it should be shared by the Western nations and corporations that got the games they wanted.

[Dave Zirin is the author of the forthcoming “A People’s History of Sports in the United States” (The New Press.. Receive his column every week by emailing dave@edgeofsports.com. Contact him at edgeofsports@gmail.com.]