Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Beijing Olympic Watch: The Games as "Showcase of Repression"

This editorial piece in the Washington Post tears into China's record of repression. Take a look:
AS CHINA'S COMMUNIST leadership conceived it, this year's Olympic Games were to mark the country's debut as a global power, with a booming economy and rapidly modernizing society. Instead, it's beginning to look as though the Games could become a showcase for violent repression, censorship and political persecution by a regime that has failed to rise above the level of police state. Though they present themselves as worldly and reformist, President Hu Jintao and his leadership group seem unable to grasp how the policies they have pursued in recent months have undermined the honor of staging the Olympics and risk destroying China's international prestige.

Even before the upheaval in Tibet this month, Mr. Hu's government was tightening its grip: shutting down publications, imprisoning dissidents and harassing lawyers in the name of pre-Olympic harmony. Officials have reneged on pledges to loosen media controls, not only in Tibet -- where the foreign press has been denied access to the carnage -- but in Beijing itself; as of this week, authorities won't allow live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square, site of the deadly crackdown on pro-democracy students two decades ago.

. . . it looks increasingly likely that the Olympics will serve to remind the world not of China's emerging greatness but of its continuing denial of freedom to its citizens, its repression of minorities and its amoral alliances with rogue states.
Well, if China wanted to get the Games so it could get the international spotlight, it's certainly got that attention -- though right now in very negative ways. Be careful what you wish for; you might actually get it.

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