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Tags beijing , china , olympics

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Old 26th July 2008, 05:07 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
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.
I just read on my e-mail-provider's page and article from the Spiegel about a Muslim terrorist group called 'Islamic Party Turkistan' claiming responsibility for bus bombs in Yunnan (spelling?) and an explosive-laden tractor attack in Wenzhou (spelling?) on the 17th. They're threatening more attacks etc. Much of that on Chinese TV and are those attacks in Kunming included in the claims, too?
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Old 26th July 2008, 06:31 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by mrbaracuda View Post
I just read on my e-mail-provider's page and article from the Spiegel about a Muslim terrorist group called 'Islamic Party Turkistan' claiming responsibility for bus bombs in Yunnan (spelling?) and an explosive-laden tractor attack in Wenzhou (spelling?) on the 17th. They're threatening more attacks etc. Much of that on Chinese TV and are those attacks in Kunming included in the claims, too?
Yeah, I'm honestly not sure what to think of this at all. The Chinese authorities are denying it is part of any organized terrorist effort; and there seems to be little or no evidence to support the IPT's claim that they're responsible.

The talk about this -- and the rumors that are flying around -- is quite fevered, with numerous different theories. Some foreigners lean towards a belief that the Chinese gov't engineered the attacks in order to justify increased military presence at the Games...I personally discount that theory entirely.

First, some clarification -- "Turkistan" is the name of the independent nation that some Uigher Muslims want to establish in north-western China. While it seems that overall only a minority of Uighers support this notion, those who do support it have a fairly active terrorist faction that has been responsible in the past for bus bombings, and other such activities.

However, their attacks in the past have tended to target cities that represent Chinese power -- Beijing, Shanghai, or cities within the Uigher Autonomous Region that have predominantly Han Chinese populations. Hitting places like Kunming -- that is far from the Uigher area, and has no real significance to their struggle -- has never been a strategy they've used in the past, and one that doesn't seem to make much sense.

But then others point out that, with the increased security surrounding the Games, Beijing and other such targets may be too difficult...so they could be seeking to disrupt the Games with a strategy of fear by hitting other, less protected targets.

Added to all this, while bombing a bus may seem an implicity terrorist action, it is actually not that uncommon in China for other people to use such a tactic; similar to the "going postal" idea, if someone feels that they've been unfairly fired from their job working for public transit, or has a family member killed when hit by a bus, or just someone who hears voices telling them to destroy the buses, they may decide to bomb the buses.

I personally tend towards the belief that it is just a local thing, that the IPT has seized on to gain publicity; the main reason for this is that the bombs they've used in the past have been more powerful, and more effective. The bombs used in this instance were very amateurish, not at all like what they've used before. But its still possible that the IPT is responsible; or that the IPT will get inspired by this to launch other, similar attacks.

Given the level of security in Beijing these days, I'd say that a well organized attack within the city is fairly minimal (they've had American anti-terrorist military forces consulting with them for the past year on this); but that doesn't rule out attacks on other more vulnerable targets.

And to add to the list of inconveniences -- the gov't has announced that from now until the end of the Games, any public meetings of over 20 people must get special authorization in advance. This, unfortunately, includes the training classes that my company offers; and getting permission is a pain in the tuckus. So we're taking a one month holiday.

In addition to this, all "non-residents" of Beijing must get special identity papers in order to stay in Beijing during the Olympics; if the police stop a non-resident, and they don't have the papers, they can be escorted out of Beijing until the Games are over. Here's where it gets tricky. China has a system called "hukou" (who-koe), whereby each person is given 'citizenship' in a specific town/city. In order to live in another city, you must transfer your hokou to that city (similar to getting a visa to visit another country, or a green card to live in another country). It's a little complicated, so let me try to explain it like this:

Buy property in another city -- you must have a hukou for that city. So a person with a Xi'an hukou can't buy property in Beijing.

Work in another city -- technically, you're supposed to have a hukou to get a job in a particular city; however, the authorities tend to overlook this (although it can be a handy rational for getting rid of someone they find undesirable).

Live in another city -- as long as you are renting (not buying), you can live in another city without a hukou for that city

Visit another city -- travel is no problem whatsoever, your hukou doesn't matter.

What the Beijing gov't has done is to significantly tighten the normal hukou restrictions. If you don't have a Beijing hukou (and there are lots of Chinese in Beijing who don't), you either get the special permit, or you leave. And if you want to go to Beijing, you have to apply for the permit in advance (similar to getting a visa, although it is much faster).

Foreigners are subject to the same restrictions; I'm considered a resident of Beijing, since my visa and residence permit were issued here. But other foreigners may be required to get the additional permit (although this does not seem to be strongly enforced right now).

More fun times in jolly ol' Beijing.
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Old 26th July 2008, 06:37 AM   #43
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And in regard to the Wenzhou bomb, it appears that the claims from the IPT are completely fabricated. Here's an article from the China Daily:
Quote:
An explosion that killed 17 people in what was originally thought to be a traffic accident was in fact caused by a disgruntled gambler plotting revenge with an apparent bomb attack, police in east China said on Sunday. Investigators had found fuses and other explosive-making materials in the home of a tractor driver who was killed in the blast in Longwan Village, Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province, said police. The explosion occurred outside a small building alleged to have been a local gambling den when the tractor was involved in a collision with a car and a minibus, said police.
While it is not unknown for the Chinese media to cover up or fabricate stories when deemed necessary, this seems a pretty open-and-shut case. There have been interviews on TV with people who witnessed the blast, and with people who knew the farmer who made the bomb. Furthermore, the farmer (who was driving the tractor, and was killed in the blast) was not Uigher, or Muslim.

So I'd say that we take the claims of the IPT with a rather significant dose of salt.
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Old 26th July 2008, 06:50 AM   #44
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Sounds like a load of paper work, this Hokou business.
Does China regularly - more or less - have a problem with bombings and terrorism?

And yea, as for the less protected targets, the article said the self-proclaimed leader of the group said in the video which was released they were hitting anything Olympics-related and using 'never before tried' methods as well. We'll see. Meh.
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Old 26th July 2008, 07:11 AM   #45
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Originally Posted by MG1962 View Post
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
Mind you, if you weren't near one of the Olympics sites, you hardly knew anything unusual was happening. Things sound a bit more extensive in Beijing.
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Old 26th July 2008, 07:35 AM   #46
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I love how the Olympic Games is such a powerful symbol of human unity, even after all these centuries.
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Old 26th July 2008, 04:17 PM   #47
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Lightbulb Olympic Potemkin Village

Beijing begins massive Olympic shutdown
(AP via Yahoo)

Quote:
BEIJING - Beijing's Olympic shutdown begins Sunday, a drastic plan to lift the Chinese capital's gray shroud of pollution just three weeks ahead of the games.

Half of Beijing's 3.3 million vehicles will be pulled off the roads and many polluting factories will be shuttered. Chemical plants, power stations and foundries left open have to cut emissions by 30 percent — and dust-spewing construction in the capital will be halted.

In a highly stage-managed Olympics aimed at showing off the rising power of the 21st century, no challenge is greater than producing crystalline air for 10,500 of the world's greatest athletes.

"Pea-soup air at the opening ceremony would be their worst nightmare," said Victor Cha, director of Asian Studies at Georgetown University.

...
Beijing 2008: bars forbidden to serve "blacks" and Mongolians, outdoor tables banned
(Asia News)

Quote:
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) - For "reasons of safety", bars are forbidden to serve "blacks"" and Mongolians or place tables in the street. Street musicians are being banned, and so is buying medicines containing "stimulants" without a prescription. Prohibitions are on the rise for the Olympic capital, while the first leaks reveal a grandiose fireworks display for the inauguration.

Bar owners around the Workers' Stadium in downtown Beijing say that public security officials are telling them not to let in "blacks" and Mongolians, and many of them have even had to sign a pledge. The official reason is the fight against drugs and prostitution, dominated in the past by Mongolians and persons of colour.

...
Black pimps and prostitutes in China? Where did they come from? I'm sure the Olympics would be much better if it weren't for all these foreigners showing up.



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Tribune 14 December 1945

Originally Posted by George Orwell
...

If you wanted to add to the vast fund of ill-will existing in the world at this moment, you could hardly do it better than by a series of football matches between Jews and Arabs, Germans and Czechs, Indians and British, Russians and Poles, and Italians and Jugoslavs, each match to be watched by a mixed audience of 100,000 spectators.

...
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Old 26th July 2008, 04:30 PM   #48
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Germans and Czechs? I don't know about any beef we might have with them.
Anyway, I am looking forward to seeing crystal clear skies above Beijing. Or if they can actually achieve it.
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Old 26th July 2008, 06:27 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Mind you, if you weren't near one of the Olympics sites, you hardly knew anything unusual was happening. Things sound a bit more extensive in Beijing.
Actually, you can't see the military stuff at all...its quite unobtrusive. Other security measures, such as the seemingly omnipresent metal detectors that seem to be everywhere in the city now, are not to unobtrusive.
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Old 26th July 2008, 07:19 PM   #50
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And another article about the security measures for the Games; this one about the fact that the Beijing gov't has 400,000 "security volunteers" for the Games. These are basically retired men and women who will serve as a local neighborhood watch, looking for suspicious people or activities in their neighborhood. The article is written by Geoffrey York, who is quite notorious for slanting all articles about China in as negative a manner as possible, and this one is no exception:
Quote:
In the small Beijing suburb of Hongxialu, there's a new force in town. The government has recruited a special unit of 288 residents, mostly middle-aged or elderly, to work as “security volunteers” in the lead-up to the Olympics.

Wearing red armbands with Olympic badges, the volunteers loiter near the entrance gates of their neighbourhood. They scrutinize every visitor and report to the police if they see anyone unfamiliar or suspicious.The volunteers of Hongxialu are just one cog in a vast machinery of surveillance in Beijing these days. Across the city, a network of 400,000 informants and volunteers has been mobilized to keep an eye out in their communities. The old Maoist system of neighbourhood committees, which had largely fallen into irrelevance in the past decade, is being revived again as a tool of social control.


When the last gold medal has been awarded and the athletes have left, this network of informers – along with an estimated 300,000 surveillance cameras and a strengthened security apparatus – will remain as perhaps the biggest legacy of the historic Beijing Olympics.
Now, first of all, I know quite a few of these "security volunteers" personally...they are the parents and grandparents of my friends here. And with the -- very real -- threat of terrorism during the Olympics, they've been told simply to watch for suspicious people or activities in their communities. It is, as I said above, essentially a large-scale neighborhood watch program.


Geoffrey York tries to raise the spectre of bringing back the old system of neighborhood committees; a spectre that is entirely unfounded, and reveals either gross ignorance of what he's talking about, or else a willing eagerness to distort facts to his own end. To whit:


Old System -- Nobody wore identification, they were hidden within the community, you didn't know who it was


New System -- They wear clear identification


Old System -- Their primary purpose was to spy on people within their community, and report them to the authorities


New System -- Their primary purpose is to watch for outsiders who don't belong in the community, and report them if they seem suspicious


Old System -- The focus was political, reporting people for any statements or beliefs that contradicted those of the government


New System -- The focus is primarily non-political, to prevent potential terrorist attacks, or other kinds of crime. There is a political aspect to this, in that it will also be used to try to stop unauthorized protests (Falun Gong, Tibet, Human Rights, etc.) in such communities.


Old System -- was controlled by the Politburo (to enforce correct political thinking)



New System -- is controlled by the Public Security Bureau (the police) (tho prevent crime)



Geoffrey then goes on to raise the even more frightening -- if entirely unsubstantiated by any facts whatsoever -- spectre that after the Games are over, this terrible system will not only remain in place in Beijing, but will be extended throughout China. I thought that reporters were supposed to "report"...since when did being able to predict the future become part of a reporter's domain?
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Old 26th July 2008, 07:33 PM   #51
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I saw someone interviewing a woman in china today (I think on CNN) and she was saying "Oh the grey sky just means it's about to rain. See that's why I have this umbrella. It's not pollution." Now is this possibly just self delusion or government fed?
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Old 26th July 2008, 08:15 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Policenaut View Post
I saw someone interviewing a woman in china today (I think on CNN) and she was saying "Oh the grey sky just means it's about to rain. See that's why I have this umbrella. It's not pollution." Now is this possibly just self delusion or government fed?

... Or simply a rainy day?
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Old 26th July 2008, 08:30 PM   #53
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Following up on the article I linked to above, I decided to actually write a letter to Geoffrey York, and cc: it to his editors. Not that I expect much from it...but if there's any response, I'll share it here.
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Dear Mr. York,

As a Canadian who has been living and working in China for the past 15 years (including running my own business, and establishing a non-profit organization to work with one of the Chinese minority groups), it is with some dismay that I've read your ongoing reports about China. Your very obvious negative bias, combined with your willingness to distort facts and jump to unwarranted conclusions, is quite something to behold.

Your latest article, about the local "security volunteers" in Beijing, is perhaps one of your greatest triumphs in this regard, and I wanted to write to congratulate you on perhaps one of the best example of non-journalism that I've seen within the pages of the Globe and Mail. If this were written as an opinion piece, it might pass muster (in that it obviously reflects your personal opinions); but as actual reporting, it is abysmal. Of course, making such an accusation, without actual examples, would be pointless. So, let me address some of the points you raised in your article.

"Security volunteers" are a revival of the old system of "neighborhood committees".

You are, apparently, fairly knowledgeable about China. Yet your comparison of these two systems can be attributed only to one of two factors: complete ignorance of the topic which you are discussing; or a willful distorting of the truth in order to pursue your own agenda.

There are, in fact, numerous differences between the security volunteers, and the neighborhood committees. To list the more relevant differences:

1) People within neighborhood committees wore no identification, and generally nobody knew who they were. Security volunteers, on the other hand (and I should mention that the parents and grandparents of many of my Chinese friends are included in the ranks of the "security volunteers"), wear very clear and obvious identification as to who they are. There is nothing secret or hidden about it.

2) The purpose of the neighborhood committees was to spy within the community, to watch and report on the people with whom they lived. The purpose of the security volunteers is to watch for outsiders who do not belong there, and who are acting in a suspicious manner (or are actively engaging in illegal activities). It is, in fact, quite remarkably similar to neighborhood watch programs back in Canada, where local community volunteers wear arm bands and patrol their community, looking for outsiders who don't belong there, and who are acting in a suspicious manner (or are actively engaging in illegal activities).

3) The purpose of neighborhood committees was primarily political, to enforce "correct thinking", and to report those expressed ideas contrary to those of the government. The purpose of the security volunteers is primarily crime prevention, to report people engaged in activities that are (or appear to be) illegal. This includes potential terrorists (who are, sadly, a real threat at present). Yes, there is a political aspect to this, in that they are also supposed to report anyone organizing unapproved protests within their community. But it is a far, far cry from the way that the old neighborhood committees worked.

4) The old neighborhood committees were controlled by the politburo, with a focus on enforcing correct political thinking. The new security volunteers are controlled by the Public Security Bureau, with a focus on crime prevention.
And kudos on your use of the term "network of informants", and the threat that they will continue to be used after the Games are over. This despite the fact that you offer not one piece of evidence that the government intends to continue to use these volunteers after the Games finish (and despite the fact that not only has the government stated that it will only use them during the Olympics, but the volunteers themselves have been explicitly told it is only a temporary measure -- facts that you neglected to mention in your report). And despite the fact that they aren't "informants". At least, no moreso than the local neighborhood watch volunteer in Canada who, seeing a person who seems suspicious in their community, reports it to the police for investigation. In China, "informant" has a very specific connotation -- someone who reports on other people for their political beliefs. And that has nothing whatsoever to do with what these security volunteers are doing.

China's Security Obsession

Your reporting on the security measures that the Beijing gov't is taking are, generally, quite accurate. And I have no issue with that. However, it is curious to note not just what you report, but also what you omit. For example, you omit to mention that many of the security measures Beijing is taking have been used at other Olympic Games. You omit to mention that there is a very real and serious threat of potential terrorist attacks, both from internal groups (the Uighers) targeting Chinese, and external groups (Al Qaeda) targeting foreigners; and that many of these security measures are taken specifically to counter that threat. You omit to mention that many Western cities are setting up networks of security cameras similar to that in Beijing (London, England being a fairly notable example of this). In other words, you seek to present as negative an image as possible by simply bombarding the reader with a long list of apparent dangers/abuses, without giving any perspective whatsoever.

Now, I'm far from being an apologist for the Chinese government. There are numerous problems and abuses here. In 15 years in China, I've seen plenty of that. And although I live in Beijing (and am CEO of my own business here), I am not one of those isolated expats who lives in a comfortable community, away from normal life. I established the Lugu Lake Mosuo Cultural Development Association (www.mosuoproject.org), which works with one of China's poorest and most isolated minority groups, in the Himalayan mountains on the border of Yunnan and Sichuan. Their religion is Tibetan Buddhism, and there have been numerous injustices perpetrated against them...injustices that we seek to redress, and to improve.

And yes, many of the measures that the Beijing gov't have taken are quite overboard, and should not be ignored. Telling bars and restaurants to turn away black customers, for example. Or reneging on their promise to provide unfettered media access during the Games. Or only allowing protests that have "proper permits" (effectively barring all protests that the gov't doesn't want).

And yes, if I compare China today to Canada today, it is pretty darn difficult to come up with a lot of positive comparisons.

However, if I compare China today with China 15 years ago, the amount of positive change is absolutely mind-boggling. When I arrived in China, they still had two different currencies -- one for foreigners, another for Chinese. All my mail was opened and read by the police. Chinese who visited me had their identity recorded, and if they visited me more than two or three times, would get a visit from the local PSB. If I wanted to visit a Chinese person's home, I'd have to go to the local PSB to get permission first. The list goes on and on and on.

The amount of positive change that has taken place in China -- within a period of only 15 years -- is almost unprecedented. And deserves to be recognized.

I agree 100% with informing the world about the abuses that take place within China. We should be unrelenting in continuing to place pressure on the Chinese government to continue the process of change and reform that is taking place. But likewise, we should make equal efforts to recognize and praise the positive advances that are made. Advances in gender equality (Chinese women enjoy one of the highest levels of social equality of any Asian nation today). Advances in education. Advances in health care. Again, the list could go on, and on, and on.

Therefore, I don't object to the fact that you report negative issues in China; what I object to is the fact that your reports are almost exclusively negative. And not only are they almost exclusively negative, but they rely on tactics of misinformation and propaganda that would be worthy of the Communist leaders you so regularly vilify. It is interesting to note that for all your condemnation of how the Chinese leaders control and distort the information they give to their public, you use exactly the same techniques yourself! You use intentionally inflammatory language (such as referring to security volunteers as "informers"); you use negative and frequently inaccurate comparisons (such as comparing security volunteers to the old neighborhood committees); you leave out relevant information that does not suit your specific agenda (such as the fact that security volunteers have been specifically informed that their positions will be terminated as soon as the Games finish); you leap to entirely unsubstantiated and unsupported conclusions (such as your claim that this "network of informants" will remain in place after the Games are finished); etc., etc., etc.

I do not expect this email to make any difference to your reporting; you obviously have your own agenda, and you aren't going to let little things like "accuracy" and "balance" get in the way of that. However, I felt a distinct need to respond to your article, and to let you know that the travesty you call "journalism" has not gone unnoticed. And I will cc: a copy to Edward Greenspon and Stephen Northfield, simply so that they will be aware of my concerns regarding "journalistic integrity", and the apparent lack of standards they use in evaluating the articles printed within their pages.

If you bother to reply to me at all, I'd appreciate it if you would make an effort to actually address the specific points I raised in regard to your article. If you can actually give points to defend the claims you made, or to contradict the points that I have raised, I would welcome those. However, if its going to be a simple "You're entitled to believe what you want" kind of response, please don't bother; if you are unable or unwilling to make an actual defense of the points I've raised, I don't really see much purpose in any further correspondence.

Regards,
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Old 26th July 2008, 08:32 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by Policenaut View Post
I saw someone interviewing a woman in china today (I think on CNN) and she was saying "Oh the grey sky just means it's about to rain. See that's why I have this umbrella. It's not pollution." Now is this possibly just self delusion or government fed?
...or could it be that she knows it is a foreign TV station, and doesn't want to say something negative about a city she is proud of, that would be broadcast to the entire world?

...or could it be that it is, in fact, about to rain?
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Old 26th July 2008, 08:41 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
...or could it be that she knows it is a foreign TV station, and doesn't want to say something negative about a city she is proud of, that would be broadcast to the entire world?

...or could it be that it is, in fact, about to rain?

Being in Beijing yourself, was it a rainy day?
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Old 26th July 2008, 08:44 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
Being in Beijing yourself, was it a rainy day?
It has rained twice this week (and looks like it may rain today). Since I'm not sure exactly what day this woman was actually interviewed, I can't really say whether or not it rained on that day. But it would not be an unreasonable assumption.
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Old 26th July 2008, 09:02 PM   #57
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I don't think it was going to rain because she was the only one with an umbrella and no one had any jackets. Also you couldn't see any clouds or anything to tell what the weather pattern might have been. The sky was just one solid light grey color. This "grey haze" was talked about and the reporter I believe said it had blown in from an industrial area. Anyway I think the first of your hypothesis is a reasonable conclusion.

So anyway I hear Tony Leung is getting married finally. Big news in China? I'd imagine so.
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Old 27th July 2008, 05:34 AM   #58
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Well, Geoffrey York has replied to my email, and given quite a detailed and extensive reply, at that. It is only fair that his response and rebuttal be included here for everyone's consideration.
Quote:
Dear Mr. Lombard --
Thanks for your comments. I'm very interested in your work in China, especially the Lugu Lake cultural development project. In 2004, I visited Lugu Lake and wrote a lengthy article about the problems of the Mosuo people, so I believe your project is an important and much-needed one.
Thanks also for your detailed confirmation of my earlier article about the systematic discrimination against blacks at many of Beijing's bars and nightclubs, including the new restrictions that prevent many blacks from entering bars in Beijing. The confirming evidence, which you posted in the comments section of our website, is valuable and much appreciated, because the Chinese authorities have tried to deny this report.
Let me respond to the other main points in your message:
1) You say that I have a "negative bias" in my reports about China. You're entitled to your opinion, of course, but I'd like to note that since 2002, when my posting began, I have written hundreds of articles about positive changes in China, including economic and social changes. Most recently, you could look at my blog, which is well-promoted on our website, in which I mention many of the positive things about China. If you go back to May, in my extensive coverage of the Sichuan earthquake, you'll find that I wrote many positive articles about the changes in China. I'm happy to send you copies of these articles if you would like.
2) You argue that the "security volunteers" should not be described as informants. Yet according to Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency, the job of the security volunteers is to inform the police if they see any strangers or suspicious behavior in their neighborhood. If their job is to inform the police, I don't think it is inaccurate to describe them as informants. In addition, of course, the network of informants goes far beyond the security volunteers. For example, China admitted last week that the so-called "Olympic volunteers" at the Olympic venues will include many security agents in plainclothes disguises. China also disclosed that taxi drivers have been trained as informants. It's clear that a massive effort is being made to set up a network of informants this year. Even if the "security volunteers" take off their armbands and are officially disbanded after the Olympics, the network will still exist.
3) You argue that the "security volunteers" are different from the neighborhood committees of the past. But you are describing the neighborhood committees which existed in the Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. As you must know, the neighborhood committees continued to exist long after the death of Mao, and they became more regularized and began wearing red armbands. In the past decade, these committees have focused mostly on minor issues such as sanitation and fire prevention. By reviving these "volunteers" and giving them new duties of security and surveillance, it is a return to the situation of the 1980s (not the 1960s). Nowhere in my article did I suggest that the new "security volunteers" are a return to the Cultural Revolution.
4) You seem to believe that I am the only one who sees the similarity between the "security volunteers" and the neighborhood committees of the past. Many others, including well-respected scholars and human rights groups, see the same parallel, and are very worried about it. They, too, believe that this apparatus will continue to exist after the Olympics, even if the armbands are removed. Here, for example, is a link to an article published by the well-respected Jamestown Foundation which makes the same points: http://www.jamestown.org/china_brief...icleid=2374309
5) You argue that the "security volunteers" are no different from the "Neighborhood Watch" associations in Canada. This is surely an inaccurate comparison. If you walk into ordinary residential communities in Toronto or Ottawa, I doubt very much that you will be scrutinized by "volunteers" in red armbands who are standing at the entrance gates with an obligation to report any strangers to the police. By the way, it is Xinhua (not just me) that described how the "volunteers" are loitering by the entrance gates to scrutinize visitors.
6) You admit that there is a "political aspect" to what these volunteers are doing in Beijing, and you admit that one of their jobs is to prevent "unapproved protests" within their community. This is precisely my point. China has revived the political duties of the neighborhood committees which had been previously reduced to sanitation and fire-prevention duties. By contrast, there is no "political aspect" to the Neighborhood Watch associations in Canada.
7) Your comparison to Neighborwood Watch is inaccurate for another reason: the sheer size and scale of these volunteer committees in Beijing. For example, the neighborhood of Hongxialu has 288 volunteers to watch a neighborhood of 70 buildings in a 1.4-square-kilometre area. This is a ratio of four informants for every apartment building in the entire neighborhood. (These numbers are taken from Xinhua and the Chinese government.) I think Canadians would be shocked if their neighborhood had four official informants for every apartment building. Of course, these special Olympic informants in Beijing are in addition to the existing network of police, security agents and other plainclothes personnel, which is already very large.
8) You argue that "security measures" are justified because of the "very real" threat of terrorism by Uyghurs and Al Qaeda. This is a matter of opinion, of course, and you're entitled to your opinion. But you didn't mention that Uyghur terrorists have not killed civilians anywhere in China since 1997, and Al Qaeda has never attacked anyone in China.
9) You mention that other countries have surveillance cameras too. Of course this is true, but Britain is the only country in the world with a network of surveillance cameras that rivals the network in China. And Britain has a system of legal checks and balances that doesn't exist in China. In Britain, there are privacy protections and legal protections that prevent the abuse of surveillance cameras. This does not exist in China.
10) I would like to add one further point, about something that you posted on the Globe and Mail website. You criticized me for my description of the 1989 massacre of the Tiananmen students. Your specific complaint is that I wrote that "hundreds and perhaps thousands" of people were killed by the Chinese military in June 1989. You said that "nobody" has ever supported an estimate of "thousands" of people killed. In reality, of course, the estimated death tolls by a variety of well-respected sources have ranged from several hundred to several thousand. The Chinese Red Cross, on the day of the massacre, estimated that 2,600 people were killed. Jan Wong, an eyewitness to the massacre, concluded -- after much research over a period of many years -- that about 3,000 people were killed in June 1989. See her book, Red China Blues, p. 278.
Best regards,
Geoffrey York
And, in an additional email:
Quote:
Dear Mr. Lombard --
Just one final point that I'd like to add. You accuse me of bias. But I have no connections to any advocacy group and no organization except The Globe and Mail. I have no financial interests in China, and nobody pays my salary except The Globe and Mail. If you check my background, you'll see that I have worked for The Globe and Mail for the past 27 years and have reported in dozens of countries around the world. I have no reasons for any personal bias. On the other hand, your biography on the Internet shows that you have worked for the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee. You were a speech-writer for the Mayor of Beijing, you helped to "facilitate communication" for the Mayor, and you even wrote his speech in his final presentations to the IOC in 2001. This is all very impressive, but it certainly suggests that you have a personal bias in promoting the Olympics and promoting the Chinese authorities. I think you should have declared your personal bias and financial interests when you wrote your lengthy letter to my bosses. (Perhaps you were unpaid by the Mayor of Beijing, but you have certainly used your Beijing government experience to promote your business interests in China.)
Best regards,
Geoffrey York
I should note here that his replies were quite civil, and quite thorough in responding to all the points I raised. He deserves significant credit for that.
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Old 27th July 2008, 05:37 AM   #59
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And, of course, I replied to him. Following is my return correspondence:
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Geoffrey,

I do not deny having any "bias" whatsoever; every person has their biases. However, if you check the things that I write about China (and if you follow the link that I have provided in the Globe and Mail discussion, you can find an extensive discussion that I initiated about these very issues), you will find that I always seek to provide a balanced perspective. Yes, I have bias...but I present both sides of the argument. The good, and the bad. The "bias" I may have from having worked with the Mayor is also rather counter-balanced by the "bias" I have from seeing the abuses that the Mosuo (many of whom are very close friends) have suffered at the hands of the government. If you're going to use the former against me, I'd expect that the latter be considered in my favor.

I might also add that, besides helping the Mayor of Beijing, I've also been quite active in criticizing many of the government's policies, and have actually been asked in the past to be a consultant on national education policies. I've fought adamantly for improvement of the situation of the Mosuo people. The fact that I've been involved with the Olympics in no way means that I'm some sort of lap dog or lackey for the government. Quite the opposite, as you found in your own brief internet search, there is plenty of publicly available information about me, including my criticisms of the government, and many of their policies.

Nor do I use a national newspaper as a pulpit for preaching my biases -- presenting conclusions that are unsubstantiated by any actual facts, or presenting information in a manner that is entirely one-sided. I'm sure that, when you write about Canada, you don't include a description that includes "where 22,000 Japanese were interned and had their property illegally seized during WW II" (or any of the other numerous abuses that have been visited upon people by our government throughout Canadian history). And regarding the numbers you cite -- you quote a single author, and an estimate made on the same day as the event happened (a number that the same organization later stated was wrong). I keep a fairly close watch on human rights groups and their claims, and even those who are quite adamantly anti-China quote numbers in the hundreds. In fact, one of my best friends here, a lawyer, has a brother who was killed in Tiananmen Square, and who was there himself. He most certainly would have noticed "thousands of dead bodies". As would the countless thousands of other Chinese who witnessed the event. Yet not one single Chinese I've ever talked to who was actually there -- and I've talked to many -- puts the number at anything more than a few hundred. It is notable here that even among those dissidents from Tiananmen Square who've fled China, and live in places like Canada, also put the number (at the most) in the hundreds.

Regarding the "security volunteers", I have them in the compound that I live in, also. They are mostly retirees who wear an armband and sit in chairs while ********ting with each other. They watch people as they come in and out, but that's about it. Several friends have parents or grandparents who are doing this. I called two different friends, before I wrote this, simply to confirm, and both replied that the only obligation they have in regards to reporting is that if they see activity they actually consider suspicious, they should notify they authorities. They are neither required nor expected to report on the movements or activities of every stranger. I have likewise visited many areas in Beijing that have their own security volunteers. Not once have I, or any of my Chinese friends, been stopped by them, asked for identification, or any other such nonsense...despite the fact that we were strangers. I'm quite sure, however, that if I'd unrolled a "freedom for Tibet" banner, I'd have been reported pretty damn quickly.

You say that you've written positive articles about China. Yes, you have. And I'm always rather surprised when I see them. Because the vast majority of your articles are overwhelmingly negative; not only do they report only the bad news, but they use language that intentionally incites hatred or fear. Those grandparents sitting in chairs outside my compound aren't just "security volunteers". No, they are Maoist informants!

Which brings me to your protest that what I said about the neighborhood committees applied only during the Cultural Revolution. That is true...in later years, they changed somewhat. However, your article refers /specifically /to, "the old Maoist system of neighborhood committees". And it is that Maoist system -- the one implemented under Mao Zedong, during the Cultural Revolution -- to which I refer. It seems rather vain to use intentionally evocative language like "the old Maoist system", then turn around and complain that its not relevant when I in turn do a specific comparison between the system Mao set up, and the modern volunteers.
And, of course, you roll out the tried and true "I'm only quoting what other knowledgeable people have said" response. This, of course, ignores the fact that you are very blatantly quote-mining. You simply look for quotes that support the position you've already decided upon, and ignore all others. Are there knowledgeable and authoritative figures who would disagree entirely with your assessment, and give an entirely different picture? Of course there are. But we won't find them anywhere in your article.

As I said, I have no problem with what you say, /if it is presented as opinion/. People are more than entitled to have differing opinions, and I fully support that. I do not in any manner, shape, or form expect everyone to agree with me; and acknowledge that it is quite possible that some of the things I believe are, in fact, false. Which is why I always seek to present my arguments simply as personal opinion; and to keep a balance in those opinions.
My problem is that what you write is opinion pieces that masquerade as news reports. There is no objectivity here, no attempt to present a balanced view. No attempt to simply report the facts, and let the reader reach their own conclusions. You reach your conclusions in advance, and then do everything that you can to support those conclusions. Quote-mining to find only those quotations that support your position, while ignoring opinions or quotations from others who are equally or more knowledgeable. Deliberate use of negative language to further stigmatize your target. Coming to sweeping conclusions that are entirely unsupported by any evidence whatsoever, but based instead on your own personal opinion -- or would you care to cite the specific sources that can authoritatively state that the "security volunteers" will be a network of informants that will remain in place long after the Games are finished? You stated this as a fact, as a conclusion; not as simply an opinion (yours, or anyone else's).

I do want to thank you very much for your extensive reply; and you did raise some valid points. It is, obviously, a rather confrontational email, and I appreciate the fact that you did reply in a rational and intelligent manner. I just wish that the news you presented in the Globe and Mail provided even a modicum of the balance as the replies you wrote to me.

Regarding the Mosuo...while I very much seek to let more people know about the Mosuo, and the work we are doing with them, I've also learned to be extremely wary of the media. I've had several different times when interviews with foreign media have been altered in a manner that entirely misrepresent my own position. Given what seems to me an obvious negative bias on your part, I would have very little faith at all that what I said would be presented accurately and honestly; I see too much danger of isolated comments being used to misrepresent myself, and my organization.

And I'm happy to provide the confirmation regarding the treatment of blacks; so long as you also notice that I specifically stated that although it exists, it seems very much to be a result of independent actions by local police, not a result of any government policy. If you choose to use the former information, I would expect that you also use the latter. If you choose not to use the latter, then I would respectfully ask that you not use me as a source for the former...as it would, once again, be quoting me entirely out of context, and a blatant misuse of my own statements.

And one final comment, regarding your statement that, "Perhaps you were unpaid by the Mayor of Beijing, but you have certainly used your Beijing government experience to promote your business interests in China" -- Yet another example of jumping to conclusions without any evidence or substantiating material whatsoever. No, I have not used my connections for my business at all; my involvement with the Mayor was some eight years ago, my new business was just established this year. I did it entirely on my own, with no appeal to government connections whatsoever. I did, however, use my connections with the Mayor to assist in setting up my non-profit organization...one of the very first non-profits to be established by a foreigner at the provincial level of approval (Yunnan province, in this case). So yes, I did benefit from my connection with the Mayor; but your own conclusion as to the nature of that benefit is entirely incorrect.

Thank you again for your response; I greatly appreciate the time and effort you took to provide a reasoned rebuttal to my comments, regardless of the fact that it is doubtful that you and I will come to any real agreement on most of these issues.

Regards,

John Lombard
And since he added an extra email the first time...so did I!
Quote:
Geoffrey,

One more quick comment, regarding the terrorist threat. You said, "You argue that "security measures" are justified because of the "very real" threat of terrorism by Uyghurs and Al Qaeda. This is a matter of opinion, of course, and you're entitled to your opinion. But you didn't mention that Uyghur terrorists have not killed civilians anywhere in China since 1997, and Al Qaeda has never attacked anyone in China." Let me set the record straight; nowhere did I make a blanket statement that all security measures were justified (again, drawing conclusions that never existed). Only that, given a distinct and real terrorist threat, some degree of security measures are necessary (and, in fact, there were numerous security measures at Olympics in Atlanta, Syndey, etc., for exactly the same reason). I do feel that some of the security measures go too far.

And regarding the question of whether there is a "real threat", I wouldn't consider it "just a matter of opinion". The Islamic Party of Turkistan (a terrorist branch of the Uigher independence movement) just this week not only took credit for bus bombings in Kunming that killed three people, but specifically threatened more violence and attacks across China. Surely, as a reporter focused on China, you are aware of this, and didn't intentionally choose to ignore that fact when you stated that, "Uigher terrorists have not killed civilians...since 1997". Nor, I'm sure, did you intend to deliberately avoid the fact that non-civilian targets have been hit by Uighers in more recent years...by any reasonable standard, they're a threat.

Now, there's some question as to whether or not the bus bombings in Kunming were the work of the IPT. I myself am skeptical, but on the other hand, nobody else has taken credit for it (and bus bombings have been one of their signature tactics in the past). And the fact remains that a known terrorist organization, that has been responsible for the deaths of both civilians and non-civilians, has specifically stated their intent to carry out terrorist attacks during the Games.

Then there's Al Qaeda. Surely, again, you are not unaware of the fact that the U.S. gov't considers their athletes to be very likely targets of terrorist actions, and in fact has provided assistance to the Chinese government in their anti-terrorist efforts in preparing for the Games? And likewise, surely you are aware that Al Qaeda has proven their willingness, time and time again, to attack Americans (or other 'enemies') in any country or location they can do so?

So, let me put it to you.

We have one terrorist organization, with a proven record of violence and killing, taking credit for bus bombings this week, and stating their intent to carry out attacks during the Games. We have another terrorist organization with a stated intent to attack its enemies anywhere in the world, and that many world governments consider a significant threat at the Olympic Games (not just those in China, but also in other countries).

Yet you argue that this is just "a matter of opinion"?

I'd argue that /any/ government -- Chinese or otherwise -- would be grossly negligent /not/ to take significant security measures against such a threat.
Now, once again, if you have any actual evidence to the contrary -- that in fact, the IPT has no intent of carrying out terrorist attacks, or that Al Qaeda respect the sanctity of the Olympic Games and would not try to attack American (or other) civilian or government targets present at the Games, please feel free to offer those up for consideration.

Regards,

John
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Old 27th July 2008, 07:28 AM   #60
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Wolfman,

You have mentioned a very mixed bag of steps the Chinese Gov't is taking, some good, some bad and a few at both extremes. Overall though, before the start of the games will this likely end as a positive gain for the people of China, a loss of previous gains or will life return to the status quo before the changes implemented because of the Olympics?


As an aside, it would be interesting to see some of the "black" athletes from around the world going out and trying to eat in the restaurants away from the Olympic Village.



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Old 27th July 2008, 07:55 AM   #61
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Wolfman,

This point is concerning to me. In your postings on the Globe and Mail site, you weren't trying to sugar coat or revise the Tienanmen massacre were you?

Quote:
10) I would like to add one further point, about something that you posted on the Globe and Mail website. You criticized me for my description of the 1989 massacre of the Tiananmen students. Your specific complaint is that I wrote that "hundreds and perhaps thousands" of people were killed by the Chinese military in June 1989. You said that "nobody" has ever supported an estimate of "thousands" of people killed. In reality, of course, the estimated death tolls by a variety of well-respected sources have ranged from several hundred to several thousand. The Chinese Red Cross, on the day of the massacre, estimated that 2,600 people were killed. Jan Wong, an eyewitness to the massacre, concluded -- after much research over a period of many years -- that about 3,000 people were killed in June 1989. See her book, Red China Blues, p. 278.
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Old 27th July 2008, 07:57 AM   #62
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Originally Posted by Boo View Post
Wolfman,

You have mentioned a very mixed bag of steps the Chinese Gov't is taking, some good, some bad and a few at both extremes. Overall though, before the start of the games will this likely end as a positive gain for the people of China, a loss of previous gains or will life return to the status quo before the changes implemented because of the Olympics?


As an aside, it would be interesting to see some of the "black" athletes from around the world going out and trying to eat in the restaurants away from the Olympic Village.



Boo
And it would be even more interesting for an international news agency to follow those atheletes around Beijing while trying to do so. In fact, I have a number of friends in such organizations and will email them to ask if they are planning to cover that side of the news.
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Old 27th July 2008, 08:22 AM   #63
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Originally Posted by Skeptic Guy View Post
Wolfman,

This point is concerning to me. In your postings on the Globe and Mail site, you weren't trying to sugar coat or revise the Tienanmen massacre were you?
Not at all. Although no exact count is possible, I fully believe that quite likely hundreds of people died at Tiananmen Square. But not thousands...a figure that Geoffrey York has used very frequently in numerous reports about China. The only sources that he's able to cite are A) a report that was made on the day of the massacre, in the midst of massive confusion (and a report that was later revised by the same organization that made the initial report), and a single author who was not even present at the event in question.

By contrast, as I mention in my reply, I personally know several people who were there, and one whose brother was killed that day. Not a single one of them comes even close to "thousands" of people killed. And if you want to argue that perhaps they are afraid of the government, then how about Chinese dissidents from the Tiananmen Square protests who have since left China, and now live in Canada, and the U.S. Surely, if thousands of people had been killed that day, they would be the first ones to declare that...yet to my knowledge, not a single one of them makes such a claim.

And if you check out any of the numerous human rights groups that address the Tiananmen Square Massacre, you will likewise find that they pretty much universally put the numbers in the hundreds. These are people who are pretty strongly anti-Chinese...yet even they don't claim it was "thousands" of people killed.
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Old 27th July 2008, 08:27 AM   #64
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Originally Posted by Boo View Post
Wolfman,

You have mentioned a very mixed bag of steps the Chinese Gov't is taking, some good, some bad and a few at both extremes. Overall though, before the start of the games will this likely end as a positive gain for the people of China, a loss of previous gains or will life return to the status quo before the changes implemented because of the Olympics?
I would hesitate to make any predictions at all, simply because so much depends on what happens during the Games.

Take a worst-case scenario: someone actually does make a terrorist attack (or multiple attacks) at the Games. The gov't responds in the only way it knows how...with massive overreaction, sending in the military, and giving hardliners and excuse to seize even more power within the government.

Or a best-case scenario: the Games go off relatively smoothly, and the increased international attention puts more pressure on China for continued positive change (they are, after all, hosting the World Expo in Shanghai in 2010). Increase tourism and business fosters continued economic growth in China, which in turn fosters education and a middle class that has ever increasing economic power. That, in turn, drives a process of change that leads to the continuing democratization of China.

Or...it could be anywhere in between.
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Old 27th July 2008, 11:50 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
I fully believe that quite likely hundreds of people died at Tiananmen Square. But not thousands
Oh, well I guess that makes it OK? It is so silly of people to complain about deaths in Tienanmen Square when it was only hundreds of people, not thousands, killed.

Wolfman, since you are the self proclaimed authority on China, what is the acceptable official government number of deaths per protest?
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Old 27th July 2008, 07:34 PM   #66
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Originally Posted by The Painter View Post
Oh, well I guess that makes it OK? It is so silly of people to complain about deaths in Tienanmen Square when it was only hundreds of people, not thousands, killed.

Wolfman, since you are the self proclaimed authority on China, what is the acceptable official government number of deaths per protest?
Edited by Darat:  For Forum Spotlight


As Cleon states, at no time have I ever said that Tiananmen Square was acceptable, or excusable. Quite the opposite. Not only do I condemn it absolutely, but I have close friends here who lost family members there.

The discussion about this particular issue began in the Globe and Mail forums (a copy of which I have not posted here), in which I referred to Geoffrey York's tendency to include the sentence "Tiananmen Square, where hundreds or even thousands of people were killed in 1989". He has since corrected me in a subsequent email (our exchange continues, and is quite interesting), that while he used the expression a few times, apparently the other uses were by other journalists, not by him.

However, my point of disagreement with his was not that Tiananmen Square was in some way excusable, or acceptable. It was the fact that the Globe and Mail's articles about China tended to use this description regardless of what the article was about; and that the estimate of "thousands" of people killed at Tiananmen Square was not one widely supported by the vast majority of authorities on the massacre. It was a deliberately prejudicial sentence, inserted because the author knew the negative sentiments that its inclusion would immediately arouse. Since my bone of contention with Geoffrey York is that he presents a very deliberately biased perspective, this was relevant.

One of the issues that has come up in my exchange with Geoffrey is the ongoing use of Tiananmen Square in many articles about China. If we're going to talk about Tiananmen Square every time we mention China, then why do we not talk about the 22,000 Japanese who were interred during WW II in Canada, and had all their property illegally stolen from them, every time we talk about Canada?

Geoffrey's response was that the Japanese internments happened some 60 years ago, and were no longer relevant; whereas the events at Tiananmen Square happened 2 decades ago, and were still relevant.

I then replied that if we are going to apply time limits, then since China's invasion of Tibet was some 50 years ago, we should also stop mentioning that. Its old news, no longer relevant...if one accepts the premise that such things have pre-determined time limits.

My own argument is different. I argue that such things should be based on the current government's involvement in the issues being discussed. The current leaders in China had nothing to do with Tiananmen Square; nor have they engaged in any massacres of a similar nature. Criticize them for abuses that they are responsible for, yes. But constant and deliberate efforts to tar them with the imagery of 1989 are intellectually and morally dishonest.

By the same token, although the invasion of Tibet happened some 50 years ago, there are still specific abuses being acted upon the peoples of Tibet by the current government; and therefore, even though it happened 50 years ago, it is still a relevant issue, and it should be discussed in relation to the current government's actions and responsibilities.
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Old 27th July 2008, 07:35 PM   #67
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Wolfman,

I understand your hesitation and reservations. I think I worded my question poorly in what I was asking.

Given the changes made, how likely is it that these changes will remain in effect after the games or will policies return to the status quo? Do you see the overall changes made as positive or negative in the life of the general population?

Much of what I've read seems to focus on the negatives and the restrictions being placed on anyone that might be considered a minority or outsider. There have also been the positives such as the new railways lines and the alternating traffic days that have seem to have alleviated much of the traffic congestion and possibly improved the local air quality. The security patrols seem a potential for both positive and negative depending on the level of paranoia and zealousness of those patrolling along with the response to information passed on by the patrols.




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Old 27th July 2008, 07:39 PM   #68
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Originally Posted by Boo View Post
Wolfman,

I understand your hesitation and reservations. I think I worded my question poorly in what I was asking.

Given the changes made, how likely is it that these changes will remain in effect after the games or will policies return to the status quo? Do you see the overall changes made as positive or negative in the life of the general population?

Much of what I've read seems to focus on the negatives and the restrictions being placed on anyone that might be considered a minority or outsider. There have also been the positives such as the new railways lines and the alternating traffic days that have seem to have alleviated much of the traffic congestion and possibly improved the local air quality. The security patrols seem a potential for both positive and negative depending on the level of paranoia and zealousness of those patrolling along with the response to information passed on by the patrols.

Boo
Barring unforeseen events of a particularly dramatic nature -- such as terrorist attacks -- I believe that once the Games are over (and by this, I mean both the regular Olympics and the Paralympics...the regulations will stay in place until both events are concluded), things will pretty much return to 'normal'.
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Old 29th July 2008, 06:33 AM   #69
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Back on the topic of the Olympics, rather than Wolfman's unwillingness to simply dismiss and condemn everything related to the Chinese government, this story on CNN caught my eye.
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Old 29th July 2008, 07:18 AM   #70
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
* A lot of the higher-class prostitutes in Beijing are Mongolian; so Mongolian women are being targeted and made to leave Beijing.
Edited by Darat:  For Forum Spotlight



Are Mongolian women particularly hot for some reason? Or just kind of exotic, like the African woman's window had a small line outside it in Amsterdam's red light district?


It's true!
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The government should nationalize it! Socialized, single-payer video game development and sales now! More, cheaper, better games, right? Right?

Last edited by Darat; 6th August 2008 at 03:01 AM.
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Old 29th July 2008, 08:21 AM   #71
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Originally Posted by Beerina View Post
Are Mongolian women particularly hot for some reason? Or just kind of exotic, like the African woman's window had a small line outside it in Amsterdam's red light district?


It's true!
Its not so much that they're exotic. Its that they're trained extensively before coming to China. They speak excellent English (most Chinese prostitutes do not), they know lots of 'tricks' to make a man happy, etc.

And if you get caught, it is two 'foreigners'...which is treated much less seriously by the authorities than if a foreigner is doing it with a Chinese woman (which causes the entire nation of China to lose face, of course).

And no...I don't know this from personal experience. However, it is a frequent topic of discussion here.
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Old 29th July 2008, 09:24 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
I would hesitate to make any predictions at all, simply because so much depends on what happens during the Games.

Take a worst-case scenario: someone actually does make a terrorist attack (or multiple attacks) at the Games.
An unsophisticated group, Black September, pulled it off in 1972. Modern terrorist groups are varied in their level of sophistication, and the security measures to prevent their successful pulling of some stunt/slaughter certainly improve since Munich.

But the sordid fact is that "there is no security."

For the sake of people in Beijing, including an old high school buddy of mine, I hope no terrorist attack takes place. I am not optomistic.

DR
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Old 29th July 2008, 09:33 AM   #73
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DR, I would more suspect attacks on aircraft en-route to China as a possibility. When you know in advance where the security attention is going to be, its much more likely that you will attack where it is not.

For example, suppose some religiously radicalized air force pilots of some nation bordering china decide to take it upon themselves to arm an aircraft and attack a plane from Israel? I really doubt they will have a fighter escort all the way to Chinese airspace, and if it is a suicide mission, a fighter has a lot more range than if it is a sortie you plan to return from.

But yeah, I expect the worst regardless of the fact that I can always imagine the worst!
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Old 29th July 2008, 12:00 PM   #74
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
. . Not only do I condemn it absolutely, but I have close friends here who lost family members there.
The way read it, you were implying that 100's were an acceptable number and that 1000's were not. I will not let a third party tell me what to think. Now that it has come directly from you. I apologize for misinterpreting what you wrote.

I have some financial investments in China and I will say they have done very well for me. I do fear that these upcoming Olympics may show the dark side of China, instead of the shining jewel of the orient they want everyone to see. I hope it comes off good for them. Good for them will also be good for me.

I also understand your position in China can be perilous. If you do say the wrong thing, you could wind up in prison at the whim of some bureaucrat. Good luck to you.
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Old 29th July 2008, 11:09 PM   #75
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Perhaps now would be a good time for a sing-a-long:

Official 2008 Olympics Song: Please Ignore The Communism
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XDU3ePlyH8&feature=user
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Old 29th July 2008, 11:17 PM   #76
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This ad is so annoying it made the news in Australia:
YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


The company behind the advert is the same company behind the Opening Ceremony uniforms of the Chinese Athletes which has been compared to Tomato Scrambled Eggs:

Quote:
"When the Chinese delegation comes out, they will certainly catch the eyes of the audience," the outfit's designer, Liu Ruiqi, told The China Daily.
The state-run newspaper didn't make it clear whether the Liu Ruiqi it quoted was the same Liu Ruiqi who is the chairman of the Hengyuanxiang Company Ltd, which selected the winning design from thousands of entries in a year-long competition.
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Old 29th July 2008, 11:23 PM   #77
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I saw a picture in the local paper of the Nepalese police beating up Tibetan protesters in Tibet. I could be wrong, but some of the police looked distinctly Western, with pale skin and blond hair.
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Old 30th July 2008, 04:41 AM   #78
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Originally Posted by a_unique_person View Post
I saw a picture in the local paper of the Nepalese police beating up Tibetan protesters in Tibet. I could be wrong, but some of the police looked distinctly Western, with pale skin and blond hair.
Ummmm...Nepal is a separate country, no way there are Nepalese police in Tibet.
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Old 30th July 2008, 11:15 AM   #79
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Although no exact count is possible, I fully believe that quite likely hundreds of people died at Tiananmen Square. But not thousands...a figure that Geoffrey York has used very frequently in numerous reports about China. The only sources that he's able to cite are A) a report that was made on the day of the massacre, in the midst of massive confusion (and a report that was later revised by the same organization that made the initial report), and a single author who was not even present at the event in question.

By contrast, as I mention in my reply, I personally know several people who were there, and one whose brother was killed that day. Not a single one of them comes even close to "thousands" of people killed. And if you want to argue that perhaps they are afraid of the government, then how about Chinese dissidents from the Tiananmen Square protests who have since left China, and now live in Canada, and the U.S. Surely, if thousands of people had been killed that day, they would be the first ones to declare that...yet to my knowledge, not a single one of them makes such a claim.

And if you check out any of the numerous human rights groups that address the Tiananmen Square Massacre, you will likewise find that they pretty much universally put the numbers in the hundreds. These are people who are pretty strongly anti-Chinese...yet even they don't claim it was "thousands" of people killed.
Here is an eyewitness account that supports your claim.

Quote:
"As a researcher in 1989 for Human Rights Watch in Beijing, Robin Munro witnessed first hand the weeks of pro-democracy demonstrations in the city and the People's Liberation Army's final assault on June 3-4."

...Can you describe that what happened on the night of June 3 and [the morning of the] 4th out there and your personal experiences?

.....

... Reports in the week after June Fourth stated that troops had assaulted the monument about 4:30 a.m. and massacred all the students on the monument, saying that thousands of students had been shot down in cold blood. That didn't happen, and had it happened, I wouldn't be here today -- as simple as that. ...
I can't post a link because my post count is less than 15. Just Google for "Robin Munro PBS" and click on the first link.


Also Google for "Black Hands of Beijing". Click on the second link. (The first link the Amazon page for the book.)

I hope Robin Munro is credible enough for Geoffrey York.
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Old 30th July 2008, 04:37 PM   #80
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Originally Posted by Wolfman View Post
Ummmm...Nepal is a separate country, no way there are Nepalese police in Tibet.
It was the Nepal side of the border apparently.
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