China sends in the clowns

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  1. #1

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    China sends in the clowns

    Andrew Bolts piece in todays Herald Sun.

    April 25, 2008 12:00am


    "IF I hadn't seen the circus with my own eyes, I'd think the $2 million we spent running a torch around Canberra yesterday was wasted.

    But I watched almost every comical minute of that three-hour relay of the Beijing Olympic torch and thought - hallelujah! - money well spent.

    Far from blowing yet more cash on the most overhyped sports day in history, we'd been given a lesson on truth and politics that's worth even Kevan Gosper's head in gold.

    I don't think we'll soon forget seeing Australian police wrestling the Chinese "flame attendants" - actually members of China's People's Armed Police - in a confrontation over who had the right to guard the torch.

    Priceless! Here was a rehearsal for the first Australia-China war, live on television. How I laughed.

    I loved in particular how our nervous police tried repeatedly to shove those blue-tracksuited Chinese ones out of camera shot so at least viewers wouldn't see they'd been conned by their politicians. I mean, weren't we promised by our Prime Minister those Chinese guards wouldn't be there?

    In a ceremony filled with cant, hypocrisy, fakes and frauds, that was the money shot. The one that showed us the truth at last behind the spin. The truth about China, about the Beijing Olympics and about our own leaders.

    You might remember when it was first rumoured that the torch would be run through Canberra with a phalanx of People's Armed Police, which the Chinese regime uses to, among other things, impose its will on Tibet.

    Just what knucklehead thought this was how to advertise a totalitarian regime's "friendliness", I do not know. I suspect, though, he's now off for re-education of the kind for which the country is famous, and which help to inspire all the protests along the torch relay that China so amusingly calls "the Journey of Harmony".

    And, indeed, those blue guards have given China exactly the publicity it deserved and did not want, tangling with protesters in Istanbul, London and Paris, and being branded "thugs" by the head of London's 2012 Games.

    Personally, I thought the guards were a great touch, illustrating the hypocrisy of giving the Olympics to an oppressive regime that planned to use it not to promote world peace, or whatever the International Olympic Federation last claimed, but the dawn of the Chinese century, in which its authoritarian values will be exported around the world.

    But the Rudd Government fast realised those guards would give it some blues of its own, especially given Prime Minister Kevin Rudd was already seen by many as too close to autocratic China, and too hostile to more democratic allies such as Japan, whose crime was to slaughter whales rather than Tibetans.

    And so here are the assurances it progressively trotted out. From the Attorney-General: "Robert McClelland has denied a report that China had asked Australia for permission for People's Liberation Army troops to help guard the Olympic torch when it comes to Australia."

    From Rudd: "If there are representatives from the Beijing Olympic Committee attending the torch when it is in Australia, my understanding from the Australian authorities is that they would be travelling in an accompanying bus."

    From Rudd again: "We will not be having Chinese security forces or Chinese security services providing security for the torch . . ."

    Let's summarise: according to our Government, the Chinese did not ask to send military guards, and the guards who actually did arrive would not leave the bus, and the ones who did leave the bus would not guard the flame. Which, ahem, they did as well.

    Is that clear? And so we watched three Chinese guards - actually here, actually running with the torch and actually shoving police to get closer.

    You see, they were under orders higher than Rudd's to protect this symbol of China's pride. Only a day earlier, a senior Beijing Games official, Qu Yingpu, said in Canberra that these "flame attendants" would "use their body to form a kind of defence" if the torch was attacked. Hence that arm-wrestling you saw. Hence that lesson in Chinese diplomacy and in this Government's credibility.

    That wasn't the only joke - and lesson - of the day.

    The other memorable image of this "Journey of Harmony" was the torch being run past brawling protesters, many bused in by the Chinese Government, while a dogfight broke out in the skies above. Somehow a battle with a newly muscled China was being staged on our soil, with China's regime even mobilising troops.

    Some 50 buses, we've learned, were laid on to take thousands of aggressively pro-Chinese supporters from Sydney and Melbourne to Canberra, where they were deployed to drown out and intimidate people protesting against China's record on Tibet and human rights.

    Indeed, Uighur, Tibetan and other protesters yesterday claimed they'd been howled down, abused, punched and kicked by some of the pro-China demonstrators, several of whom were arrested.

    So who were all these people singing patriotic Chinese songs and waving huge red flags for the cameras? Who formed this insta-crowd that filled the TV screens and allowed China's Xinhua newsagency to report back home the bright news that "tens of thousands of spectators, many of them enthusiastic Chinese expatriates and students, had lined both sides of the streets . . . chanting support for the Beijing Olympics"?

    They were mainly students from China's elite, it appears - students who, as a condition of their visas, had actually signed agreements promising "not (to) become involved in any activities that are disruptive to, or in violence threaten harm to, the Australian community or any group in the Australian community".

    And who paid for their free buses to Canberra, and issued all those Beijing Games T-shirts and Chinese flags?

    Ask Zhang Rongan of the Chinese Students and Scholars Association, who helped recruit the pro-China protesters, and said the Chinese embassy in Canberra "is organising buses, food and places to stay".

    Whoever did organise all that sure impressed Ted Quinlan, head of the committee in charge of the Canberra torch relay, who admitted: "(It is) obviously a well co-ordinated plan to take the day by weight of numbers."

    Well co-ordinated is right. There was even a plane trailing a "Go Go Beijing Olympics" banner that reclaimed the skies from the plane hired by the Greens to sky-write "Free Tibet".

    Gosh, I thought this was Australia. But as I said, it was worth the $2 million for this lesson - that it might not quite be. Not always. " End
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    In my opinion China is really showing itself off in the worst possible light.
    It might have been a smart idea to have had China's blue trackie dax security detail, wearing cuddly black and white panda suits, then atleast it would have pleased the camera's and appeared to look friendly.

    Maybe a leopard doesn't change its spots, when pushed into a geopolitical corner.

    Last edited by Skyhook; 25-04-2008 at 03:02 PM.

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    It's taboo to be racist againt muslims, south asians and people of black african descent, but it's a free-for-all when it comes to the chinese. There are too many racial undertones coming from western media.

    Why give China the olympics and then now protest?


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    How is it being racist Chimo ?

    Especially as our prime minister is probably the closest western leader to China, and the only western leader that can speak fluent Mandarin.

    Personally I think Kevin Rudd is the best thing for AUS-China relations, so I don't totally agree with Andrew Bolt's story 100%, but he has a few good points.

    What happened yesterday, happened.... You having a problem with the truth Chimo ?

    China is really behaving in the most PR destructive manner thought possible.

    I had a feeling that this Olympics wasn't going to be a particularly easy task for China. Lets just hope that during the olympics, that they really dazzle us with the opening & closing ceremonies. What ever transpires, will be etched into global memory for a very long time......

    Last edited by Skyhook; 25-04-2008 at 03:20 PM.

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    Personally, I thought the guards were a great touch, illustrating the hypocrisy of giving the Olympics to an oppressive regime that planned to use it not to promote world peace, or whatever the International Olympic Federation last claimed, but the dawn of the Chinese century, in which its authoritarian values will be exported around the world.
    I think that many people thought the Chinese government's bullying tactics would be confined within its borders. The sight of the PLA shoving and assaulting citizens in their own countries was not what was planned when the IOC "gave" China the Games. The IOC was shortsighted if it thought China would change for the better by being given the Games.

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    Skyhook, I just realised that the guard on the left is talking into a microphone. A mic is also visible on the left collar of the other guard. This means there were other guards about (a PLA swat squad?), ready to pounce on Aussie citizens should they not behave according to the Chinese government's wishes.

    I though at least Rudd showed some backbone when he said the 'thugs' would not be on Aussie streets. As he didn't stop them, it seems he is nearly (not more than which is impossible) as spineless as the 'leaders' in Blighty.


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    For months before, no one said anything. Then some Tibetans protested and then all of a sudden everything exploded. The whole "grab the torch" was openly encouraged by the media, they made it into a game.

    There are racial undertones, just looked at the way it is being reported in the media. Why pick on China? Why is it only countires with a history of colonialism making such a fuss? And why just before the Olympics? People dont want China to have a successful Olympics. Neo-colonialism.

    But yeah, China has handled the situation very poorly! Amateurs when it comes to the PR game.

    Last edited by chimo; 25-04-2008 at 03:23 PM.

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    Kevin Rudd isnt spineless !He is one of the best Prime ministers Australia has had since Menzies, I'd be careful what you say about him in particular. It's been a very long time since someone so personable, has run Australia.

    Not many PM's that I can recall achieved 50 meetings in 18 days during his last overseas trip, nor have their own families been so multi-racial. Much more preferable than the anglophile John Howard.

    China is like a spoilt child that likes getting everything its own way, and when it doesnt, it dummy spits, economically speaking.

    Its a very finite situation in dealing with China, its not as simple as some of us like to make out.

    Last edited by Skyhook; 25-04-2008 at 03:36 PM.

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    chimo, how short a memory you have. The media blasted both the US and USSR in 1980 and 1984. And again in 2004, Greece was blasted for not being ready and how the Olympics should be taken away from the country because of terrible preparation.

    As for the current situation, many countries kept quiet in the hope that the Chinese government would show restraint (i.e. it would not send in the troops and beat people in the street). It got to the point when other governments could no longer keep quiet - in some countries human rights counts for something and that's tough I realise in countries which/for people who disagree.

    The Chinese government has handled the situation very badly; but the problem is of its own making and solution lies in its hands. Unfortunately it doesn't help when it continues to shoot itself in the foot.


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    Quote Originally Posted by Skyhook:
    Kevin Rudd isnt spineless !
    "We will not be having Chinese security forces or Chinese security services providing security for the torch . . ."
    So what happened?

    (BTW, IMO Rudd is better than the last one and shows great potential. Aussies did good to vote him in. Shame Blighty doesn't have anyone like him...)

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    Exactly Claire!

    China in this case, is entirely to blame for the friction it has attracted. If it had handled things better, it wouldnt have encouraged the world to turn the heat up.

    The problem is, the most dangerous China of all, is a China thats pushed into a corner, it typically responds in rather infantile emotional ways, not in rational, intellectually cohesive ways. the whole country is run by emotion. Although a much milder version compared to what was seen pre 1989.

    Does China really want to be cohesive with the rest of the world ?

    Doe's China see itself as a member of the international community ?

    If the answer is yes, then they need to acknowledge and take on board some of the criticism, and prove it !

    Last edited by Skyhook; 25-04-2008 at 03:54 PM.

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