IS Forum
Forum Index Register Members List Events Mark Forums Read Help

Go Back   International Skeptics Forum » Reference » Forum Spotlight
 


Welcome to the International Skeptics Forum, where we discuss skepticism, critical thinking, the paranormal and science in a friendly but lively way. You are currently viewing the forum as a guest, which means you are missing out on discussing matters that are of interest to you. Please consider registering so you can gain full use of the forum features and interact with other Members. Registration is simple, fast and free! Click here to register today.
Tags beijing , china , olympics

Reply
Old 20th July 2008, 11:30 PM   #1
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
:-( Beijing Olympics -- A Lot of Unhappy People

Edited by Darat:  Original, unedited thread can be found here: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=119050




It is with much sadness that I watch the preparations for the Olympic Games here in 18 more days. Oh, there have been some great accomplishments...the opening of two new subway lines (one of which has a station right outside my apartment, YAY!); the opening of the new international airport (which really is an amazing airport); improvement of transit/transportation in general; etc.

But there are other things which cast a terrible pall over these noteworthy accomplishments. Now, I should emphasize that the Chinese gov't does have real cause for concern. There's a very real and significant threat of terrorist attacks, both from Chinese Muslims from Xinjiang province, and from foreign terrorists who may seek to attack/kill western tourists/athletes. These are far from being imagined threats; in fact, many western gov'ts are sending regular updates to the Chinese gov't about information they are getting regarding potential terrorist actions in China.

And the gov't also has at least somewhat justifiable concerns about crime...if foreign tourists come to Beijing during the Olympics, and then are the victims of crime, it makes Beijing lose face.

But their reaction to these threats is typical overreaction. Here is a list of some of the things the gov't is doing now (or will be doing over the next two weeks), some of which are reasonable, some of which are just way, way too much.

* All flights in and out of the Beijing airport will be cancelled for about 6 hours during the Opening Ceremonies

* Everyone entering the Beijing airport must now go through full security screening, even if just sending off friends, or picking someone up

* When you go on the subway, you have to put your bags through an x-ray scanner just like the ones used at airports

* Russians run a lot of organized crime in Beijing; so Russians are being denied visas or asked to leave Beijing.

* A lot of the drug trade in Beijing is being run by Africans; so not only are Africans being denied visas or asked to leave, but all blacks are being targeted. Many bars and restaurants have been instructed by the police not to accept blacks, period.

* A lot of the higher-class prostitutes in Beijing are Mongolian; so Mongolian women are being targeted and made to leave Beijing.

* The Uigher minority (a Muslim minority who live in China's north-west Xinjiang province) has some people pushing for autonomy/independence from China, and have sometimes resorted to violence. There's a significant threat of terrorism from them during the Olympics, so all Uighers are being made to leave BJ. A female friend of mine who is a Uigher has been living/working in Beijing for the past 10 years, as marketing manager in a foreign company. Two days ago, the police informed her that she has to leave Beijing until after the Olympics.

* Anti-aircraft and anti-missile guns have been set up outside of major Olympic venues

* To decrease traffic, Beijing two days ago initiated a policy whereby cars with even-numbered and odd-numbered license plates drive on alternate days (which really has made a big difference to traffic)

* The gov't, in its normal desire to micro-manage every aspect of how the Chinese people behave, has designed their own cheer that all Chinese are supposed to use during the Olympics. Two claps, thumbs up, two claps, arms in air, repeat.

* Many foreigners -- especially teachers, students, tourists -- have been denied visas; and even those living/working here full time are having difficulties getting visas renewed

* Despite promises of giving complete access to foreign journalists, the gov't is instituting a number of controls, mostly justified in the name of 'protecting them from potential terrorist activities'

A significant reason for all of this was the Tibetan protests, followed by the earthquake in Sichuan. Both events gave the military leaders within the Chinese gov't more power (and the military leaders tend to be the hardliners), taking it away from the more moderate leaders who'd been in charge prior to that. Behind the scenes, a number of moderate Chinese gov't officials have actually resigned from their positions out of frustration over these events.

China's moderate leaders had a chance to do something really special...but circumstances and politics took it out of their hands. Now, it remains to be seen what happens.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture

Last edited by Darat; 6th August 2008 at 03:08 AM.
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th July 2008, 11:38 PM   #2
Hokulele
Deleterious Slab of Damnation
 
Hokulele's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Biggest Little City in the World
Posts: 29,577
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
* Anti-aircraft and anti-missile guns have been set up outside of major Olympic venues.

__________________
"Oh god...What have you done, zooterkin? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!?!" - Cleon
Hokulele is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 20th July 2008, 11:39 PM   #3
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
And in related news, the city of Kunming (where wollery lives) was shocked when two buses (or three, according to some accounts) exploded today, apparently from bombs planted in them. Three people dead, according to the official media. Although there's speculation that it is anti-gov't terrorism by the Uighers, that seems unlikely, given that Kunming is far from Beijing, and not that important. Is more likely to be a more local issue. But nevertheless, when we're constantly hearing about the potential threats of terrorism during the Games, this hardly helps keep people calm.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 05:45 AM   #4
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 23,589
Well, I feared it would be like this. Add to it, according to Danish press:

* Triple rings of control around making transit from other provices slow and tedious.

* Cars are stopped and searched when driving to and from BJ.

As some of you know, I travel to China regularly, on business. We have made a conscious decision to avoid going there till well after the olympics.

This is not a demonstration, but simply to avoid problems and hardships due to all the expected "precautions".

I can't help wondering: In the eyes of the surrounding world, what makes China loose more face? All these abuses or the odd terrorist attack?

Hans

PS: Of the more entertaining preparations, we have, this last year, seen them wall in everything that looks ungainly. If you visit BJ, and go to the Lama temple, notice the nice park across the street. See the picture. Looks strange? Well, it is a photostat. Behind is a junkyard or something like that.
Attached Thumbnails
Click image for larger version

Name:	Park.JPG
Views:	337
Size:	49.7 KB
ID:	11632  
__________________
Experience is an excellent teacher, but she sends large bills.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 06:49 AM   #5
cgallaga
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,535
I have to say I am already olympiced out. And here the "support your our proud olympics" tv public service messages are so 1950's.

Ahhhhh I want to run away until September waaaaaaaaaaaa.
cgallaga is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 07:10 AM   #6
Gurdur
Illuminator
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 4,873
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
.. China's moderate leaders had a chance to do something really special...but circumstances and politics took it out of their hands.
Meh. "China's moderate leaders"? Really? Compared to what? Compared to Mao Tse-Tung, the Gang Of Four, or saya, abroad, Stalin?

Their reactions are typical for a nasty clique who rule by force; it's got nothing to do with "circumstances and politics", but rather the fact that the gerontocracy in China is a dictatorial regime who react correspondingly.
Gurdur is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 07:20 AM   #7
Cleon
King of the Pod People
 
Cleon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 25,682
Originally Posted by Gurdur View Post
Meh. "China's moderate leaders"? Really? Compared to what? Compared to Mao Tse-Tung, the Gang Of Four, or saya, abroad, Stalin?
Er, yes. Quite moderate compared to Mao, the Gang of Four, or Stalin.
__________________
"People like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz." - Newt Gingrich
Cleon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 07:51 AM   #8
Foolmewunz
Grammar Resistance Leader
TLA Dictator
 
Foolmewunz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
Posts: 41,468
And let's not forget Beibei Jingjin Huanhuan Yingying and Nini.

The Chinese call toddlers by dual names (Meimei, Lingling, Baobao, etc...) so if you take off the second part, you get Beijing Huan Ying Ni. Beijing welcomes you.

Cute? Well, this one, which is the plush version of Yingying,... perhaps. But the ones they're peddling in the supermarkets and drugstores are vinyl looking and horrible.

This is Yingying.... (s)he is a panda. Get a good look. In a couple of days I'm going to shove a firecracker up its butt and blow it to smithereens. I am so sick of these little things. They're like frakkin' Gremlins. They multiply when I'm not watching.



Wolfman, they're even making border crossings down south difficult. They have stopped letting HongKongese cross by car and now make everyone get out, scan their bags, and cross on foot. They are inspecting every stick of luggage or cargo that crosses into Guangdong from here. And they've made it next to impossible to get plain old visitor visas for Shanghai, Nanjing, Dalian, etc... for the past five weeks. Our visitors have had to come up with as many as six documents to support a visa, including a Ministry stamped invitation letter.

And the fish they threw Hong Kong is that we get to host the equestrian events. Yeah, Muffy and I will be out there waiting for the Van Hornes and their million dollar horses. Frankly, the horsey set better stay out of Wanchai, or the fate of Yingying may await them!

Here's hoping for a nice dust storm rising up in the Gobi! They could've made so much of this. They're setting the country back about ten years.
__________________
Ha! Foolmewunz has just been added to the list of people who aren't complete idiots. Hokulele

It's not that liberals have become less tolerant. It's that conservatives have become more intolerable.
Foolmewunz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 08:00 AM   #9
cgallaga
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 1,535
I'm actually doing cooking demos on the 16th as part of the Hong Kong Chefs Association. We are part of the half time entertainment, they have two Equestrian events that day separated by 8 hours and so they are trying to keep Muffy and the Van Hornes entertained all day with goofballs like us...and we can't actually cook anything because the universtiy where all this is gonna be held doesn't allow cooking in its common areas. Talk about bside.
cgallaga is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 09:46 AM   #10
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Gurdur View Post
Meh. "China's moderate leaders"? Really? Compared to what? Compared to Mao Tse-Tung, the Gang Of Four, or saya, abroad, Stalin?

Their reactions are typical for a nasty clique who rule by force; it's got nothing to do with "circumstances and politics", but rather the fact that the gerontocracy in China is a dictatorial regime who react correspondingly.
Ah, yes, of course. Please forgive me.

Every single leader within the Chinese Communist Party is a mini-Mao. They care only for personal power and benefit, and not a whit for the Chinese people, or freedom. Let us not make the mistake of actually trying to differentiate them, and notice that among the many Chinese leaders in the national government, there are some who've been fighting quite hard for reform and change.

Gurdur, I'd call you an idiot, except the rules forbid me from doing so, so I won't. I'll simply point out that the ideas you express are simplistic and ignorant. There are people within the Chinese gov't who very much want reform and change; unfortunately, recent events in China have put those people out of the picture for the time being.

Let me put it this way -- there are Chinese in the national government who are literally putting their lives on the line in order to push reform and change in China. This is not hyperbole; if a major crisis were to hit China, and the hardliners took back full control of the gov't, its quite possible these people would be imprisoned or killed. Yet they still make the effort, and push for change.

And it is incredibly insulting for some armchair quarterback who obviously doesn't have a friggin' clue what he's talking about to come in and paint those people with the same brush as the hardliners within the Chinese Communist Party. You sit in the comfort of your home, facing little or no risk whatsoever, and pronounce judgement on people whom you don't know at all, and who are risking a great deal to try to make things in China better.

The things I described above? Some of them are necessary (and not unlike precautions or preparations made at Olympic Games held in other countries); others are a result of paranoia over potential terrorist threats, a fear that while unfortunate, has similar parallels in American gov't policy; and others still are terrible overreactions, the response of more conservative hardliners within the Chinese party to perceived threats. But even within the Party, many people disagree with these actions.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 09:57 AM   #11
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Foolmewunz View Post
They could've made so much of this. They're setting the country back about ten years.
Yeah, no kidding. I've talked with some of the people on the Olympic Committee who are incredibly pissed off and frustrated about it all; there are rumors that the previous Mayor of Beijing (who was the one who won the Olympic bid, and was subsequently promoted to the national gov't) will actually resign from the Party over this. There were quite a few reformers who hitched their horse to this wagon, hoping it would serve as impetus for change.

Then along came the Tibetan protests, and the earthquake in Sichuan. Both issues gave the military huge power (stopping the protests in Tibet, and carrying out rescue operations in Sichuan), and with them, the hardliners within the Party.

Its gonna' be a media circus. Complaints that the media doesn't have the free and open access it was promised as a condition for holding the Games. Complaints from black tourists that they aren't allowed in certain restaurants or bars because of their skin color. Or any of a million other things.

And god forbid that some terrorist group actually manages to pull off some kind of attack during the Games. Not only would it cast a terribly pall over the Games, but it would be the final pretext for the hardliners to seize even more power, and set China back even further.

I've gotta' say...I'm worried.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 05:51 PM   #12
ARubberChickenWithAPulley
Master Poster
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 2,150
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
* To decrease traffic, Beijing two days ago initiated a policy whereby cars with even-numbered and odd-numbered license plates drive on alternate days (which really has made a big difference to traffic)
South Korea did this in Seoul the last several years at various times. However, I never noticed a huge impact on traffic.

Then again, South Koreans tend to flagrantly ignore and break their laws more often than they follow them, so I'm pretty sure it was ignored. I'd guess it probably works better in Beijing.
ARubberChickenWithAPulley is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 06:29 PM   #13
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by ARubberChickenWithAPulley View Post
South Korea did this in Seoul the last several years at various times. However, I never noticed a huge impact on traffic.

Then again, South Koreans tend to flagrantly ignore and break their laws more often than they follow them, so I'm pretty sure it was ignored. I'd guess it probably works better in Beijing.
Actually, thus far its working brilliantly. Traffic is far, far better...and city buses, that are famous for always running behind schedule because of traffic delays, are now running about 90% on time.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 06:30 PM   #14
Policenaut
Infidel Defiler
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,191
It should. I bet most Chinese people don't want to go to a Chinese prison.
Policenaut is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 06:39 PM   #15
SezMe
post-pre-born
 
SezMe's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Santa Barbara, CA
Posts: 25,139
Wolfman, you didn't say if the Olympics had personally affected your daily life.
SezMe is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 08:55 PM   #16
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 25,924
Wolfman: This sounds like a major news scoop if all these things are true.
Did you learn this through the news media or some other way?
If racial discrimination is an official or semi-official policy, that would be newsworthy.

It's a little hard to imagine that they wouldn't realise that such policies themselves would be the bigger scandal and bigger loser-of-face in western eyes.
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 09:05 PM   #17
Foolmewunz
Grammar Resistance Leader
TLA Dictator
 
Foolmewunz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
Posts: 41,468
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Wolfman: This sounds like a major news scoop if all these things are true.
Did you learn this through the news media or some other way?
If racial discrimination is an official or semi-official policy, that would be newsworthy.

It's a little hard to imagine that they wouldn't realise that such policies themselves would be the bigger scandal and bigger loser-of-face in western eyes.

Racial stereotyping isn't against the law (and certainly isn't against the culture) in China. They tend not to think too much about what the western eyes are seeing - at least not when it comes to issues of what they perceive to be local security. They're sure we all hate them and want to see their downfall (they are after all, the old guard, and they're somewhat correct about that), so being Chinese, and successful Chinese at that, they feel they know what's good for China.

The more moderate factions definitely understand that perception is very important, but they also know that Mr. and Mrs. Tourist will complain about the food, the heat, the air and the hotel room,.... plus the security and waiting in line. But that's nothing compared to 15 million Beijingese complaining about bombs going off in the city. One leads to loss of face in countries who you hate, anyway. The other leads to overthrow of their status quo.

Alway remember that the single interest of Chinese politicians is like the interest of all politicians, everywhere. To stay in office. When we look at the impact in the west as to something done in China, the easiest way to figure it out is to say, "How does this effect the population of China? Is there any perceived threat in this to the ruling order." That's where the answer usually lies.
__________________
Ha! Foolmewunz has just been added to the list of people who aren't complete idiots. Hokulele

It's not that liberals have become less tolerant. It's that conservatives have become more intolerable.
Foolmewunz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 10:37 PM   #18
Puppycow
Penultimate Amazing
 
Puppycow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Yokohama, Japan
Posts: 25,924
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Actually, thus far its working brilliantly. Traffic is far, far better...and city buses, that are famous for always running behind schedule because of traffic delays, are now running about 90% on time.
I sense a business opportunity for the person who can invent a false digit for the license plate.

How about raising the price of gas instead? Isn't it subsidized in China?

I've heard from some in California that the infamous and often clogged California Freeways have become more drivable with these higher gas prices.

Licence plate numbers are too arbitrary. What if you need to use your car on the wrong day?
__________________
A fool thinks himself to be wise, but a wise man knows himself to be a fool.
William Shakespeare
Puppycow is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 11:24 PM   #19
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by SezMe View Post
Wolfman, you didn't say if the Olympics had personally affected your daily life.
Certainly. I've had major problems getting my visa renewed (got a temporary renewal that lasts until the Olympics are over); and business sucks right now, won't get back to normal until the Games are over.

Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Wolfman: This sounds like a major news scoop if all these things are true.
Did you learn this through the news media or some other way?
If racial discrimination is an official or semi-official policy, that would be newsworthy.

It's a little hard to imagine that they wouldn't realise that such policies themselves would be the bigger scandal and bigger loser-of-face in western eyes.
Actually, pretty much all of this has appeared in the media (Chinese and/or Western); the only part that hasn't is my evaluation of the inner workings of the Beijing Olympic Committee, and how much the actions of the gov't have upset some of the gov't officials involved with that. This info comes from personal contact with them.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 21st July 2008, 11:27 PM   #20
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
I sense a business opportunity for the person who can invent a false digit for the license plate.

How about raising the price of gas instead? Isn't it subsidized in China?

I've heard from some in California that the infamous and often clogged California Freeways have become more drivable with these higher gas prices.

Licence plate numbers are too arbitrary. What if you need to use your car on the wrong day?
This is intended as a purely local and temporary measure, only within Beijing, and only during the Olympics. Raising gas prices would be too problematic for that kind of strategy (it would affect people outside of Beijing). The license plate strategy, while not perfect, does the job as a temporary measure.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd July 2008, 05:51 AM   #21
Beerina
Sarcastic Conqueror of Notions
 
Beerina's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 30,425
Don't serve blacks, period.

You, you, and you, you get the hell out.


I can't wait for NBC's in-depth coverage...of the lives of the athletes in Up Close and Personal segments*!










* Which, by the way, will replace broadcast of actual sports since more people watch when those are on than when actual sports are on.

Alls I have to say is I hope CBC is showing it this year so I can tune in Windsor 9. From previous Olympics to Space 1999, it's served me well.
__________________
"Great innovations should not be forced [by way of] slender majorities." - Thomas Jefferson

The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?
Beerina is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd July 2008, 12:23 PM   #22
King of the Americas
Banned
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 6,513
Athletes are being asked to wear 'smog masks'...? REALLY?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/sp...ts/24mask.html

Is this a political protest of the conditions there?
King of the Americas is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 22nd July 2008, 05:26 PM   #23
Foolmewunz
Grammar Resistance Leader
TLA Dictator
 
Foolmewunz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Pattaya, Thailand
Posts: 41,468
Originally Posted by King of the Americas View Post
Athletes are being asked to wear 'smog masks'...? REALLY?

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/24/sp...ts/24mask.html

Is this a political protest of the conditions there?
The organizing committee will freak out!
This is the kind of thing they truly don't want. If you get miles of video footage of premier athletes getting off the plane or bus with smog masks on, it's going to make every newscast in the world.
I'm betting there will be huge political pressure from the USOC to not have the athletes do this. (Barcelona has equally bad pollution.... no one made such a dramatic move, there.)
__________________
Ha! Foolmewunz has just been added to the list of people who aren't complete idiots. Hokulele

It's not that liberals have become less tolerant. It's that conservatives have become more intolerable.
Foolmewunz is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd July 2008, 05:18 AM   #24
Radrook
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,834
They weren't that protective when I went there and was surrounded by five Chinese airport taxi and hotel accommodation employees and threatened with violence if I didn't hand over money I didn't owe and which they demanded I fork over immediately in USA dollars or else. Had my luggage held hostage until payment was given.

Strange also that the woman I was to marry was hit and killed by a car that same day at the airport she was waiting for me. Going to Beijing? Beware!

BTW

They need to explain to their militarily-uniformed airport security guards that people are not luggage to be moved from one location to another via grabbing suddenly by the arm and without even being given a warning. Need to not move airplain arrivals from one gate to another without warning non-Chinese speakers. Need to not to take a respectful request for English to be spoken if possible as an insult and a reason to call security. And a host of other common courtesies which they seem to naturally lack.
Radrook is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd July 2008, 07:16 PM   #25
a_unique_person
Director of Hatcheries and Conditioning
 
a_unique_person's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Waiting for the pod bay door to open.
Posts: 43,093
The irony is that China is determined to show itself to the world as a modern, free country. Everything it does just shows that it is not. I was watching a news report about a house on a street that is being turned into a showcase, where a garden was to go. Overnight, the house was knocked down, and the garden planted. Amazing. The harder they try, the worse it gets.
__________________
Continually pushing the boundaries of mediocrity.
Everything is possible, but not everything is probable.
“Perception is real, but the truth is not.” - Imelda Marcos
a_unique_person is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 23rd July 2008, 09:47 PM   #26
Policenaut
Infidel Defiler
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 2,191
That sounds kind of like the dog and pony show North Korea does whenever outsiders visit. Lights on, lights off.
Policenaut is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 05:47 AM   #27
moon1969
Graduate Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Posts: 1,288
China should stop supporting Robert Mugabe and the Darfur genocide. Maybe then there should be olympics. I got no problem with China hating that hypocrite and liar Dalai Lama aka holy man Tenzin Gyatso.
moon1969 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 06:17 AM   #28
Darth Rotor
Salted Sith Cynic
 
Darth Rotor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 38,527
Wolfman, I note that in your discussion with Gurdur on this bit about Chinese moderates that you come off as an apologist for the Chinese government. It's not important what some people in government want, claim to want, or appear to want, it is what is done that makes a difference, and sends the message. (See also the problem the Bush administration has over its actions, versus its stated intentions. )

While I love your local knowledge, and the insights you offer, I am skeptical about your objectvity. I have blind spots on a few subjects, so I know how easy it is to go in that direction.

DR
__________________
Helicopters don't so much fly as beat the air into submission.
"Jesus wept, but did He laugh?"--F.H. Buckley____"There is one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth ... His mirth." --Chesterton__"If the barbarian in us is excised, so is our humanity."--D'rok__ "I only use my gun whenever kindness fails."-- Robert Earl Keen__"Sturgeon spares none.". -- The Marquis
Darth Rotor is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 01:19 PM   #29
Father Dagon
Graduate Poster
 
Father Dagon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,193
Originally Posted by moon1969 View Post
I got no problem with China hating that hypocrite and liar Dalai Lama aka holy man Tenzin Gyatso.
More a case of realpolitik and collegial jealousy. Realpolitik also dictates that we should support Dalai Lama in order to annoy the chinese.

Also, I just LOVE the way the chinese burrow themselves deeper and deeper into failure. And the best part of it all - the chinese might not even know that banning all blacks can be considered racist. It's China who is the big victim after all. Enemies of the people stole mah crops and Taiwan!
Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
The irony is that China is determined to show itself to the world as a modern, free country. Everything it does just shows that it is not. I was watching a news report about a house on a street that is being turned into a showcase, where a garden was to go. Overnight, the house was knocked down, and the garden planted. Amazing. The harder they try, the worse it gets.
Dude, that's old hat! Have you read Anhua Gao's To the edge of the sky? The best howler in the book is when the commies are playing international trade fair (I have only read the book in swedish, so it's probably called something else in english.) They are instructed to fool, trick and con the foreigners as much as possible - i.e. exactly how the commies thinks what capitalism is about. It could only be funnier if a bunch of nazis tried to emulate what they thought was proper jewish business practices.
__________________
"Eh-ya-ya-ya-yahaah - e'yayayayaaaa... nhg'aaaaa... ngh'aaaa... h'yuh... h'yuh... HELP! HELP!... ff-ff-ff-FATHER! FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH"
Father Dagon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 01:44 PM   #30
Radrook
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,834
Originally Posted by Father Dagon View Post
....Also, I just LOVE the way the chinese burrow themselves deeper and deeper into failure. And the best part of it all - the chinese might not even know that banning all blacks can be considered racist. It's China who is the big victim after all. Enemies of the people stole mah crops and Taiwan!....

Banning all blacks? From the Olympics? Are you serious or jesting? I did hear the "N" word used by an interpreter while I was there. I also heard that they complained about the USA sending such an ugly woman as Condolizza Rice on official business to their country. Also, the way they represent blacks, as hyperactive word-drivelling idiots in their martial arts films is a bit weird. So I wouldn't be at all surprised that they would come up with something like that privately but publicly I doubt it since there would be an international outcry to boycot the event.
Radrook is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 01:54 PM   #31
Father Dagon
Graduate Poster
 
Father Dagon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Posts: 1,193
Originally Posted by Radrook View Post
Banning all blacks? From the Olympics? Are you serious or jesting? I did hear the "N" word used by an interpreter while I was there. I also heard that they complained about the USA sending such an ugly woman as Condolizza Rice on official business to their country. Also, the way they represent blacks, as hyperactive word-drivelling idiots in their martial arts films is a bit weird. So I wouldn't be at all surprised that they would come up with something like that privately but publicly I doubt it since there would be an international outcry to boycot the event.
Ok, I was a bit improving on Wolfmans's OP:
* A lot of the drug trade in Beijing is being run by Africans; so not only are Africans being denied visas or asked to leave, but all blacks are being targeted. Many bars and restaurants have been instructed by the police not to accept blacks, period.
As ham fisted as it gets. And internets to everyone who can provide pictures of any "no blacks"-signs.
__________________
"Eh-ya-ya-ya-yahaah - e'yayayayaaaa... nhg'aaaaa... ngh'aaaa... h'yuh... h'yuh... HELP! HELP!... ff-ff-ff-FATHER! FATHER! YOG-SOTHOTH"
Father Dagon is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 02:00 PM   #32
MG1962
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 17,252
I dont know - a lot of the precautions are very reasonable - Sydney had a squadron of Black Hawk helicopters in the air full of anti terrorist troops the whole time. We had mulitple bag checks, ID checks etc. Bomb squads, sniffer dogs. Every delivery vehicle was x-rayed and visually checked. All the venues were locked down for a week before the games started and this was all in a pre 911 world
MG1962 is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 06:32 PM   #33
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
Wolfman, I note that in your discussion with Gurdur on this bit about Chinese moderates that you come off as an apologist for the Chinese government. It's not important what some people in government want, claim to want, or appear to want, it is what is done that makes a difference, and sends the message. (See also the problem the Bush administration has over its actions, versus its stated intentions. )

While I love your local knowledge, and the insights you offer, I am skeptical about your objectvity. I have blind spots on a few subjects, so I know how easy it is to go in that direction.

DR
Darth,

I'm not an apologist for the government as a whole; I am, however, quite a sincere advocate for specific people within that government who are working very hard to bring about positive change (and facing significant risk for doing so). The problem here is the inability of many people to differentiate between the actions of the government as a whole, and the actions/beliefs of individuals within that government.

Consider the American gov't back when slavery was legal. You had people in the gov't who supported slavery (for quite some time, a majority); and you had people in the gov't who opposed slavery. Would it be fair to condemn those who opposed slavery, because the gov't itself supported slavery? Or should we, rather, admire and respect those who, despite the fact it was not popular or even safe (anti-slavery proponents could face violence for their beliefs), worked within the government to try to change the situation for the better?

An "apologist" would argue that the gov't's abuses are acceptable, or that they are not true. That is not what I've done. Quite the opposite, I started a thread that specifically highlighted some of the abuses that are currently taking place.

And I'm trying to demonstrate that the simplistic view of people like Gurdur -- views based on absolute ignorance of the actual situation -- that everyone in the gov't here is some kind of evil despot are fundamentally untrue. Yes, there are power-hungry despots within the gov't; there are also those who are working very hard to bring about positive change.

That doesn't mean that those who want that change are always successful; but for all the problems and difficulties, the Chinese people today enjoy more freedom than they have ever had in 5000 years of Chinese history. And the situation is continuing to improve. That is no small accomplishment, and the people within the gov't who have helped to bring that about -- and who are working from the inside to continue that process of change -- deserve recognition and praise for that. Not to be tarred with the same brush as people like Mao or Stalin.

In general, those who accuse me here of being an "apologist" tend to be those who consider that saying anything good about China, or about specific people within the Chinese gov't, as 'bad'. They have a black-and-white view of the world in which you are either 'all good', or 'all evil'. I attempt to demonstrate that it is very far from being that simple; that while there are still abuses and problems in China, nevertheless the situation is, overall, changing for the better. And the people who are leading that change are people who deserve our support, not our condemnation.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 06:56 PM   #34
Darth Rotor
Salted Sith Cynic
 
Darth Rotor's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Posts: 38,527
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Darth,

I'm not an apologist for the government as a whole; I am, however, quite a sincere advocate for specific people within that government who are working very hard to bring about positive change (and facing significant risk for doing so).
While the potential is tantalizing, results are what we see.
Quote:
Consider the American gov't back when slavery was legal. You had people in the gov't who supported slavery (for quite some time, a majority); and you had people in the gov't who opposed slavery.
An odd analogy, until I look back at your OP and see the blacks being shown the door among "polite company" in some places in China. I noted in Japan that racism was casually worn like a sweater. Likewise, I imagine, in China.
Quote:
An "apologist" would argue that the gov't's abuses are acceptable, or that they are not true. That is not what I've done. Quite the opposite, I started a thread that specifically highlighted some of the abuses that are currently taking place.
Fair enough. Keep the updates coming.

DR
__________________
Helicopters don't so much fly as beat the air into submission.
"Jesus wept, but did He laugh?"--F.H. Buckley____"There is one thing that was too great for God to show us when He walked upon our earth ... His mirth." --Chesterton__"If the barbarian in us is excised, so is our humanity."--D'rok__ "I only use my gun whenever kindness fails."-- Robert Earl Keen__"Sturgeon spares none.". -- The Marquis
Darth Rotor is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 24th July 2008, 07:12 PM   #35
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Darth Rotor View Post
While the potential is tantalizing, results are what we see.
Yes, and no. As I pointed out, China's gone through phenomenal positive change in the past 15-20 years. It is far, far more free today than it was even a decade ago. Yet many people, whenever they refer to the Chinese gov't today, refer to the Cultural Revolution and the Tianmen Square Massacre (actually, a significant number of modern Chinese leaders were victims of the Cultural Revolution, and quite dedicated to trying to prevent such a thing from happening again).

And despite the fact that numerous positive changes have taken place under this government, at the instigation of people within the gov't who seek positive change, many people still insist on comparing them to people like Mao and Stalin.

So many people are not seeing the 'results'; they are seeing only what they want to see, and ignoring everything else.
Quote:
An odd analogy, until I look back at your OP and see the blacks being shown the door among "polite company" in some places in China. I noted in Japan that racism was casually worn like a sweater. Likewise, I imagine, in China.
The analogy was not in regards to racism, but rather in regards to the fact that it is more than possible to have a government which, as a whole, does things that we consider wrong/evil; yet within that gov't, to have people who are sincerely seeking change and improvement. China still has a long way to go with regards to racial issues.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th July 2008, 02:58 AM   #36
Radrook
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,834
Don't you think it's rather hipocritical to embargo Cuba because it is communist while doing a brisk business with China which is communist and which fares no better in human rights? Such an inconsistency smacks of hipocrisy and dubious priorities.
Radrook is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th July 2008, 04:11 AM   #37
Wolfman
Chief Solipsistic
Autosycophant
 
Wolfman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Posts: 13,394
Originally Posted by Radrook View Post
Don't you think it's rather hipocritical to embargo Cuba because it is communist while doing a brisk business with China which is communist and which fares no better in human rights? Such an inconsistency smacks of hipocrisy and dubious priorities.
Consider that the United States, which was founded on the principles of freedom, equality, and democracy, took some 150 years to abolish slavery, give women the vote, etc. And there are still struggles related to equality and equal rights.

Now consider that China, which in 5000 years of history never had principles of democracy or equality, only began the process of change and reform about 20 years ago.

Don't you think it's rather hypocritical to expect China to accomplish in 20 years what it took the U.S. 150 years to do? Change doesn't happen overnight; and people back in the West seem to prefer to remain intentionally ignorant of just how long (and how much struggle) it took to get to where they are today. China's moving in the right direction; and while we should not turn a blind eye to their abuses, or excuse those abuses, we nevertheless should also acknowledge the advances they are making, and encourage further change and reform.
__________________
Please check out my business, The Language of Culture
Wolfman is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th July 2008, 04:21 AM   #38
MRC_Hans
Penultimate Amazing
 
MRC_Hans's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2002
Posts: 23,589
Originally Posted by Radrook View Post
Don't you think it's rather hypocritical to embargo Cuba because it is communist while doing a brisk business with China which is communist and which fares no better in human rights? Such an inconsistency smacks of hypocrisy and dubious priorities.
It could be hypocritical, ..... or pragmatic.

Cuba is small and so close it is totally dependent on the US. Embargo is (probably) an efficient tool against it.

China is larger than the US, lies on the other side of the planet and has plenty of potential trade partners. An embargo will not affect her any more than it will affect the US in reverse. Maybe less.

ETA: Or in other words, if the bully is small, whop him. If the bully is big, join him.

Hans
__________________
Experience is an excellent teacher, but she sends large bills.
MRC_Hans is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th July 2008, 04:54 AM   #39
Radrook
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,834
Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Consider that the United States, which was founded on the principles of freedom, equality, and democracy, took some 150 years to abolish slavery, give women the vote, etc. And there are still struggles related to equality and equal rights.

Now consider that China, which in 5000 years of history never had principles of democracy or equality, only began the process of change and reform about 20 years ago.

Don't you think it's rather hypocritical to expect China to accomplish in 20 years what it took the U.S. 150 years to do? Change doesn't happen overnight; and people back in the West seem to prefer to remain intentionally ignorant of just how long (and how much struggle) it took to get to where they are today. China's moving in the right direction; and while we should not turn a blind eye to their abuses, or excuse those abuses, we nevertheless should also acknowledge the advances they are making, and encourage further change and reform.
Sorry I gave the impression that China deserves absolutely no credit for its efforts. All efforts at treating people fairly should be commended. Also, there is much that I admire of Chinese culture. For one, its women in my opinion are the most desirable for marriage precisely because of the values they have acquired from Chinese culture. Second, I admire the scientific accomplishments of the past and their ability to move forward again industrially. What I don't admire is their present form of government. But I do recognize that things take time to mend and am in no way judging their efforts at doing this as halfhearted or hypocritical since I am unfamiliar with the details of their efforts and am therefore not qualified to evaluate the situation either pro or con because of that.
Radrook is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Old 25th July 2008, 05:02 AM   #40
Radrook
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 4,834
Originally Posted by MRC_Hans View Post
It could be hypocritical, ..... or pragmatic.

Cuba is small and so close it is totally dependent on the US. Embargo is (probably) an efficient tool against it.

China is larger than the US, lies on the other side of the planet and has plenty of potential trade partners. An embargo will not affect her any more than it will affect the US in reverse. Maybe less.

ETA: Or in other words, if the bully is small, whop him. If the bully is big, join him.

Hans
Since that is the case, then is it any wonder that weak nations try to acquire nuclear weapons in order to attiain the
same "respect" from the USA that Korea attained in view of the modus operandi you have just described? Shouldn't it be more than obvious that such a policy of respecting the strong and beating up on the weak encourages precisely that reaction? You don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure that out. Any explanation as to why those in charge of foreign policy are so nearsighted?
Radrook is offline   Quote this post in a PM   Nominate this post for this month's language award Copy a direct link to this post Reply With Quote Back to Top
Reply

International Skeptics Forum » Reference » Forum Spotlight

Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is On
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:18 AM.
Powered by vBulletin. Copyright ©2000 - 2021, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

This forum began as part of the James Randi Education Foundation (JREF). However, the forum now exists as
an independent entity with no affiliation with or endorsement by the JREF, including the section in reference to "JREF" topics.

Disclaimer: Messages posted in the Forum are solely the opinion of their authors.