Archive for the ‘2008 Olympic Games’ Category

China: Activists Make Link to “Genocide Games”

October 17, 2007

Because of China’s involvement in Sudan during the “genocide” in Darfur, many in Hollywood have started calling the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics the “Genocide Games.”  Below is a report on how Reporters San Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) is protesting China’s repression.

October 15, 2007

Activists from Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) today demonstrated in front of the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland, unfurling a giant flag in which the Olympic rings appear in the form of interlocking handcuffs.

The demonstration marked the opening of the 17th Chinese Communist Party Congress in Beijing attended by more than 2,200 delegates, who are expected to give a boost to the leadership of President Hu Jintao whose period in power has been marked by a harder ideological line in the name of a “harmonious society”.
Photo
Two men walk past a sign advertising the Chinese Communist Party’s 17th five-yearly Congress in Beijing. China will strengthen the role of the Communist Party in foreign-invested enterprises as the number of cadres in overseas companies here grows, a leading official said Wednesday,
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“We hope through this action to challenge the IOC and its president Jacques Rogge, who refuse to condemn the bad state of human rights in China,” the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

“We have also contacted the IOC’s ethical commission but they replied that they can only be activated by Jacques Rogge himself. This lack of will on the part of Olympic bodies is worrying,” the organisation added.

Games of the XXIX Olympiad

“For the past several weeks an icy wind has blown through freedom of expression in China. This with less than 10 months to go before the opening of the Olympic Games. How can the IOC and its ethical commission remain silent before such a heavy toll of violations of freedom of expression?” it asked.

“More than 30 foreign journalists have been arrested and prevented from working since the start of the year. No fewer than one thousand discussion forums and websites have been closed since July. And a score of dissidents have been imprisoned for expressing themselves freely,” Reporters Without Borders said.

Preparation for the Congress, a key event in the life of China’s sole political party, saw new restrictions slapped on all sectors of the press, Internet-users, bloggers, website managers, foreign journalists and defenders of freedom of expression.

There has been an increase in directives ordering the media to use only reports put out by the official Xinhua news agency. The Publicity (formerly Propaganda) Department has ordered state-run newspapers to step up news linked to the preparation of the Congress and the activities of the leadership.

Recently, five of the major official dailies brought out identical front pages, with the headline: “The 17th Congress of the CCP is set to be hot, hot, hot!” Next to it was the same article about Chinese leaders ordering a mining company to do its utmost to rescue workers trapped in a pit. The same photo of President Hu Jintao on a visit to Kazakhstan also appears on the cover page.

Several dozen online discussion forums, including Ai Zhi Fang Zhou
(www.chain.net.cn/forum

devoted to the patients with Aids, have been closed. The managers have been told that they will only be allowed to reopen once the Congress is over. Several hundred websites and blogs have been closed in the last two months.

On the eve of the Congress, the Party has also spearheaded a campaign for greater morality in the media, which led to a suspension of several reality television programmes. The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) on 14 September quoted the fight against pornography as a reason to ban 11 radio programmes about sexuality. “Their content on sexual life and the effectiveness of medication for sexual problems was of an extremely pornographic nature,” the administration said. The SARFT also added that “films that were not suitable for children were also not suitable for adults.”

China: Culture of Corruption a Problem

August 5, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
First Published: May 15, 2007

China has a “culture of corruption” that often causes western business people heartburn.

Consider just a few cases:

–In June of 2006, the Communist government in China sacked the Vice-Mayor of Beijing. A western businessman accused him of soliciting a bribe. During the investigation, officials discovered the Vice-Mayor, who was overseeing the construction of Olympic venues for the 2008 Games, had built himself a pleasure palace filled with young concubines on the outskirts of the city.

Mr. Liu Zhihua’s colorful private life emerged after he was removed from his post after a foreign businessman reported him for extorting a bribe.

The Times of London reported: “Mr Liu’s sacking has triggered accusations of widespread corruption surrounding the Games, and highlighted a culture of graft that is said to trouble British and other foreign companies working as specialist contractors on Beijing’s Olympic sites.”

The newspaper also wondered why the mayor was not investigated because China has a history of protecting the top officials when making a show trial for more junior people.

–That same month, a bogus ambulance picked up an injured pedestrian in Beijing, charging him about $100 US, and then driving him not to the closest hospital but to one much further away. The man bled to death.

Concerned Chinese newspapermen discovered a plot that included unlicensed ambulances intercepting emergency calls and charging exorbitant rates to collect patients.

–On Sunday, May 4, 2003, The Washington Times published an article I wrote about SARS. To refresh the memory, SARS is Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome.

That May 2003 piece was titled “China’s Ham-Handed SARS Response: Omen of The Future In Disease Control?”

In the SARS incident China first denied that it had an epidemic. It responded with a media cover-up and did not face the medical emergency. As a result, China was just starting to tackle the problem when Singapore and Vietnam were mopping up.

We also learned during the SARS emergency that China lacked sufficient medications, medical staff and hospital facilities to properly service their own population.Like many other things in China, the medical system was mostly a sham. The best educated medical professionals, it was uncovered, went to the west to work once their education was completed.

The World Health Organization estimated that only about 4% of China’s medical professionals were prepared for a disease like SARS. And the medical staff was severely undermanned.

Today, according to China’s Ministry of Health (MOH), “In most countries, the ratio of the number of nurses to the total population is about 0.5 percent, but the ratio in China is only 0.1 percent.”

–On May 10, 2007, the maker of Budweiser beer went to court in Arkansas to claim that an Arkansas-registered company is illegally marketing beer in China, using the American brewer’s trademarks.Anheuser-Busch sued USA Bai Wei Group in Pulaski County, Arkansas, Circuit Court, seeking an injunction to revoke Bai Wei’s corporate charter and require a name change.

Bai Wei (pronounced By Way) is how the Chinese language trademark for Budweiser is pronounced in English, according to the St. Louis-based brewer’s complaint, filed Friday.

This incident is part of a decades long disregard for intellectual property rights in China, where western copyrights and trademarks are ignored. I saw my first illegally republished or “pirated” book in China in 1976.

The bottom line is this: until the culture of Chinese business improves, westerners will always be frustrated and wary of getting taken. More so in China than in almost any other nation in the world. This will sometime become a stumbling block to good relations and good business.