Archive for the ‘Olympic torch’ Category

Chinese heckle Olympic torch run protesters in Malaysia

April 21, 2008

By JULIA ZAPPEI, Associated Press Writer 

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – A crowd of Chinese onlookers heckled and hit a Japanese family with inflated plastic batons Monday after the three unfurled a Tibetan flag before the start of the Malaysian leg of the Olympic torch relay.

The family, comprising two adults and a boy, was detained by police, who also took a Buddhist monk and a British woman wearing a “Free-Tibet” T-shirt into custody. All five were later released.

Criticism of China‘s human rights record has turned August Beijing Olympics into one of the most contentious in recent history.

Protests have dogged the round-the-world torch relay during its stops in Paris, London and San Francisco, with demonstrations over China’s crackdown in Tibet where it forcefully put down anti-government riots.

Though the torch’s most recent legs in South America, Africa and Asia have been relatively trouble-free, host countries have beefed up security in an effort to thwart possible disruptions.

About 1,000 police stood ready to guard the relay in Malaysia against protests. A Buddhist group held special prayers at a Kuala Lumpur temple for a trouble-free torch run and a peaceful Olympics.

The president of the Olympic Council of Malaysia, Imran Jaafar, set off with the torch, jogging a short distance before handing it to the next runner in the relay covering 10 miles through downtown Kuala Lumpur.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080421/ap_on_re_as/
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China and The Olympic Force for Change

April 20, 2008

By Sue Meng
The Washington Post
Sunday, April 20, 2008; Page B07
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A rash of protests disrupted the Olympic torch relays in San Francisco, Paris and London. Hu Jia, a Chinese activist, was sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison this month for “inciting subversion” of Communist Party rule. The central government continues to crack down on unrest in Tibet. What was to be a triumphant medal count for China is quickly becoming a tally of its human rights abuses. It looks as if the Olympics are doing little to change China, and China is doing a lot to change the Olympics.
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But the Chinese government is one thing; 1.3 billion Chinese people are another.
Race walkers compete Friday at National Stadium, an Olympic venue in Beijing.

Race walkers compete Friday at National Stadium, an Olympic venue in Beijing. (By Getty Images)

It is important not to conflate China with the Chinese government. The Olympics have stirred an enormous outpouring of nationalism within China and among Chinese abroad. We should not dismiss Chinese nationalism as part and parcel of the Communist machine. Nationalism has forged civic engagement, cutting across groups normally divided by age, class and geography. This engagement leads to greater awareness of the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. Far from legitimizing an authoritarian regime, the Olympics foster the kind of nationalism that will help the Chinese carve out a civil society, which may be the best antidote.
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Already the Games have become a rallying point for millions of Chinese eager for China to take its place on the international stage. China’s turbulent history in the 20th century makes clear why hosting the Olympics strikes a deep chord of national pride: In a single lifetime, millions of Chinese will see the pendulum swing from the famine and isolationism of the 1950s to recognition and global integration in 2008. From all corners of the country and from overseas, Chinese are flocking to Beijing to witness history. The Olympics galvanized Chinese nationalism. Chinese nationalism will change China.
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Nationalism in China does not necessarily mean a blind capitulation to government’s repressive tendencies. Increasingly, there is a civic dimension to Chinese nationalism. Zhu Xueqin, a professor at Shanghai University, argues that compared with 10 years ago, people today are more aware of their “civic rights,” which include the right to information, the right to question the authority of the government and the right to be protected from retaliation.

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/18/AR2008041802715.html 

Olympic torch relay brings China woe rather than glory

April 19, 2008

By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers

BEIJING — The Olympic torch relay was meant to kick off China‘s moment in the sun, but it’s turned into a public relations fiasco with ever-larger squads of police in foreign capitals shielding the torch from protesters.

People visit Japan's Buddhist Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, ...
People visit Japan’s Buddhist Zenkoji Temple in Nagano, central Japan. Monks at the ancient Japanese Buddhist temple on Friday pulled out of hosting a ceremony for the protest-marred Olympic torch relay because of China’s crackdown in Tibet.(AFP/JIJI PRESS)


China has given no sign that it will cut short the relay, which continues its 21-city global odyssey Saturday in Bangkok, Thailand , and Monday in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia .

Yet frustration has set in that the troubled torch relay may signal further minefields ahead for the Summer Games on Aug. 8-24 , and a loss of face for China rather than a boost for the world’s most populous nation.

“All that has happened is a kind of humiliation,” said Hu Xingdou, a political analyst at the Beijing Institute of Technology . “The government never expected this.”

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080418/
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People holding Tibetan flags demonstrate on March 31 in Lyon, ...
People holding Tibetan flags demonstrate on March 31 in Lyon, southeastern France, to denounce the Chinese clampdown in Tibet. China said that protesters were out to hijack the Olympic Games as the torch relay embarked on a world tour that ignited demonstrations world wide.(AFP/Jean-Philippe Ksiazek)


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Thailand Braces for Unrest As Olympic Torch Approaches

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Hundreds of Thai police braced for another round of anti-China protests on Saturday as the Olympic torch was readied for its parade through Bangkok, the latest leg of its troubled tour from Greece to Beijing.

Several groups angry at Beijing’s human rights record and its rule in Tibet are planning demonstrations but will meet no opposition from police as long as they remain orderly, Thai Olympic chief General Yuthasak Sasiprapa said.

“If they are peaceful, it’s OK,” he told Reuters. “But we will not tolerate any violent or illegal protests. The torch and runners will be tightly escorted by police patrols and motorcycles all along the route.”

The 10.5-km (6.5-mile) relay is due to start at 0800 GMT in the capital’s China Town — a reflection of Thailand‘s close social ties to its giant regional neighbor — before proceeding past the golden-spired Grand Palace.

The main protest during the procession will be outside the regional headquarters of the United Nations, where a dozen pro-democracy groups say they will demonstrate against China‘s crackdown on unrest in Tibet in March.

Police Special Branch officers say they are also aware of a move by local supporters of Falun Gong, the religious group outlawed by Beijing, to voice their opposition to the Games, which open in Beijing on August 8.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20080419/wl_nm/olympics_torch_dc_1

A police car is parked in front of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok ...
A police car is parked in front of the Chinese Embassy in Bangkok on April 18, 2008. The troubled Olympic torch relay arrived in Thailand on Friday, as more controversy erupted when one of the Japanese hosts dropped out in protest over China’s crackdown in Tibet.(AFP/Nicolas Asfouri)

Police guard torch ceremony in Pakistan

April 16, 2008

NEW DELHI (AP) — Runners carried the Olympic flame around the outside of a sports stadium Wednesday — an invitation-only event in front of an elite, sparse crowd with heavy security to deter any anti-China protesters or terrorist attacks.

Clearly worried about the possibility that the high-profile ceremony might be disrupted, thousands of police aided by explosives-sniffing dogs stood guard as Pakistan’s pro-China government ensured a trouble-free stop on the torch’s global tour toward Beijing.

Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf (L) and Prime Minister ...
Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf (L) and Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani (R) wave to the public as Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee Executive Vice President Jiang Xiaoyu smiles during an Olympic torch ceremony in Islamabad April 16, 2008. Thousands of Pakistani police and paramilitary soldiers were deployed in Islamabad on Wednesday for the Olympic torch relay, as Australia braced for clashes between pro-Tibet supporters and Chinese students.(Mian Khursheed/Reuters)

Televised live — the only way the general public could watch — the relay of Pakistani and Chinese torchbearers looked almost like a practice run as they jogged on access roads around the perimeter of Jinnah Stadium, Islamabad’s main sports….

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http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2008-04-16-olympic-torch_N.htm?csp=34

Officials extinguish Olympic torch again

April 7, 2008

PARIS -(AP)  Security officials have extinguished the Olympic torch for a second time amid heavy protests during the torch relay in Paris.
Police have escorted the flame onto a bus, apparently to move it away from protesters.

The flame was being carried out of a Paris traffic tunnel by an athlete in a wheelchair when it was stopped because protesters booed and began chanting “Tibet.”

It was the second time Monday that officials extinguished the torch amid protests. The procession was apparently being continued on board a bus.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

PARIS (AP) — Security officials have extinguished the Olympic torch amid heavy protests during the relay in Paris.

Police in jogging gear put the torch out and brought it aboard a bus, apparently to move it away from protesters. The flame was being carried down a road along the Seine River amid demonstrators carrying Tibetan flags when the relay was stopped. It is not immediately clear what police plan next.

About 3,000 police — riding motorcycles, jogging or traveling on skates — are on hand to protect the Olympic torch. The relay started Monday at the Eiffel Tower.

Olympic Torch Aflaim in China: Protests Expected

March 31, 2008
By STEPHEN WADE, Associated Press Writer  

BEIJING – The Olympic torch was re-lit Monday at an elaborate ceremony that signaled the start of a round-the-world relay that is expected to be a lightning rod for protests against China‘s policies and human rights practices.

President Hu Jintao opened the relay at an elaborate ceremony in Tiananmen Square in the heart of the capital, underlining the importance China places on the Olympics and its hopes to display a confident, strong nation to the world when the Games open Aug. 8.

The ceremony 130 days before the start of the Olympics was broadcast on state television, and comes a week after the lighting ceremony for the Olympic torch in Greece was marred by protests.

“I declare the torch relay of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games begun,” Hu said after handing the flame off to China’s Olympic and world champion hurdler, Liu Xiang. Liu jogged off the square as confetti flew, Chinese and Olympic flags waved and traditional drums pounded.

After a one-day stop in Beijing, the flame goes Tuesday to Almaty, Kazakhstan, the start of a monthlong 20-country, 85,100-mile global journey.
The grandiose relay is the longest in Olympic history and has the most torchbearers — a sign of the vast attention lavished on the Games by Beijing, which hopes to use it to showcase China’s rising economic and political power.

Instead, however, it has provided a stage for human rights activists….

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080331/ap_on_sp_
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