Archive for the ‘olympics’ Category

China: Your Worst Environmental Nighmare

November 7, 2008

I admit I have a deep distrust for anything the communist leadership and the state controlled media of China proclaims.  But when Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao reiterated before a United Nations conference on the environment Friday China’s position that, as a developing country, it had no real role in the world’s environment and global warming issues, I was again dismayed and angry.

China’s sprawling and largely unregulated coal-fired industries are spreading a brown pall over the globe.  Every household in China cooks and heats with coal.  Coal soot blackens Chinese buildings and homes, inside and out, like never before seen on earth, even in Scotland 100 years ago.  And scientific study after scientific study has said that Chinese people die premature deaths in the millions due to pollution.

Above: Tiananmen Square in Beijing, just before this summer’s Olympics.  Photo: Odid Bality, Associated Press.
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Wen Jiabao, a scientist, a geologist in fact, knows all this to be true.  But to continue making inexpensive goodies for your local Wall Mart which keeps the Chinese people employed and earns China a tidy profit, Mr. Wen will continue to foster the myth, in fact the lie, that it took decades for the “developed nations” to learn to be environmentally smart so therefore China has decades to do the same.

The immensity of China’s destruction of the earth is almost unfathonable.  Seventy percent of China’s rivers and inland waters are polluted and some 90% of its ground water has pesticide and toxic levels of fertiliter and animal dung in it.  The air in China pegs all measurement instruments with pollution like an earthquake registering a “ten” on the Richter scale.  The Chinese government has almost no control over its far-flung industries, as the poisoned milk and other food product scandals proved.  So now China, even when equipped with thousands of ways learned in the West to cut down on pollution, is urging the world to look the other way.
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

Above: Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao speaks to Danish Climate Minister Connie Hedegaard in Beijing on Friday.

The world should say “No way” to China on pollution and the environment.

But as the decision is to be made at the United Nations, where other “developing nations” dominate and the United States is the Great Satan, expect the U.S. and other Western nations to work their butts off on the environment on a fool’s errand for years to come: because the destruction of our planet earth by China will continue unabated as long as the West remains “tolerant” and accepts such lies as those spewed by Mr. Wen.

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
Wakefield Chapel, Virginia
November 7, 2008

Related:
China: Dodges All Responsibility, Says Rich Nations Must Take Climate Lead

China: 70% of waterways and 90% of underground water polluted

China is the World’s E-Waste Dumping Ground

Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, ... 
Cyclists pass through thick pollution from a factory in Yutian, 2006. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and a top UN official urged industrialised nations Friday to alter their lifestyles and not let the global financial crisis hamper climate change efforts.(AFP/File/Peter Parks)
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The New York Times’ produced a nine article series on pollution in China before this summer’s Olympics.  Here is an exerpt:

In its rush to re-create the industrial revolution that made the West rich, China has absorbed most of the major industries that once made the West dirty. Spurred by strong state support, Chinese companies have become the dominant makers of steel, coke, aluminum, cement, chemicals, leather, paper and other goods that faced high costs, including tougher environmental rules, in other parts of the world. China has become the world’s factory, but also its smokestack.

This mass shift of polluting industries has blighted China’s economic rise. Double-digit growth rates have done less to improve people’s lives when the damages to the air, land, water and human health are considered, some economists say. Outmoded production equipment will have to be replaced or retrofitted at high cost if the country intends to reduce pollution.

China’s worsening environment has also upended the geopolitics of global warming. It produces and exports so many goods once made in the West that many wealthy countries can boast of declining carbon emissions, even while the world’s overall emissions are rising quickly.

Read more and link to other articles:
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/21/world/asia/21transfer.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
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China, Air Pollution and the Olympics

In China, airborne pollution causes more than 650,000 premature deaths a year, according to medical professionals.

·”International experts said that hundreds of millions of Chinese are exposed every day to the potentially lethal mix of soot particles and smog.” New York Times, Dec. 9, 2007.

• A UN Environment Report indicated that high levels of air pollution were a “legitimate concern” for anyone taking part in the Beijing Olympics.

• Beijing is so choked with smog that athletes are concerned about competing. In fact on 9 April Olympic chief Jacques Rogge conceded that air pollution was an issue for athletes’ health in Beijing during the Games. He earlier denied fears over pollution, but then suggested that certain events of more than one hour could be exacerbated by the weather. The marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking are the events. Most at risk are the marathon, road cycling, triathlon, open water swimming and race walking.

• Marathon record-holder Haile Gebrselassie withdrew from the Olympic event because of the pollution.

• New Zealand and American athletes wore face masks frequently while in Beijing.

• Some countries such as Britain, Australian and Canada delayed their teams’ arrivals in Beijing until the last possible moment to protect their athletes from air pollution.

• The Daily Telegraph reported that Britain’s swimming team trained in Osaka, Japan instead of in China nbecause of the air pollution. The Canadian team provided athletes with asthma inhalers.

• In an interview with the BBC, the World Health Organization’s Dr. Michal Krzyzanowski warned visitors to Beijing that “high pollution levels may be a trigger to serious problems if they already have, for instance, cardio-vascular disease. Those who come with asthma may suffer attacks.”

How free are reporters, the media in China?

October 17, 2008

Rules that gave foreign reporters greater freedom during the Beijing Olympics are due to expire. The BBC asked a range of reporters in China what difference the rules have made to their working lives.

By James Miles
The Economist and the BBC
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“It was mainly a psychological difference, we had been widely flouting the rules before, leaving Beijing to report in the provinces without seeking advance approval as was officially required.

“So when the new regulations were introduced, we were still travelling just as much but without the fear of the knock on the door by the police, without the need to change from hotel to hotel to remain under the radar screen.

“But we were still frequently encountering local officials who either didn’t know or said they didn’t know about the new Olympic regulations or were determined to ignore them.

nervous policeman in Tiananmen Square
Chinese policemen used to be nervous of foreign journalists

“There was one remarkable incident, shortly after the new regulations were introduced early last year, when I went to Henan province.

“As I expected, I was stopped by local officials. But I called the Foreign Ministry in Beijing, and remarkably, the local officials apologised to me and disappeared, leaving me with startled villagers who said this was the first time they’d ever managed to openly speak with foreign journalists.

“But since then, I’ve encountered the same kind of difficulties as before the regulations. A few days ago, I was out in the western region of Xinjiang, and was detained for several hours by local police.

“There are key parts in the country that remain very difficult to get into, and the most obvious one is Tibet. Tibet wasn’t mentioned specifically in the Olympic regulations, in theory they apply to the whole of China, but orally Chinese officials said Tibet remained excluded and we still had to seek permission.”

Read the rest:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/7676013.stm

Chinese paramilitary policeman

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.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080421/ap_on_re_as/
olympic_torch;_ylt=AmjkWpruOue8rzIyZBqPQlas0NUE

China Falls Short on Vows for Olympics

April 21, 2008

By Jill Drew and Maureen Fan
The Washington Post
Monday, April 21, 2008; Page A01
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BEIJING, April 20 — China has spent billions of dollars to fulfill its commitment to stage a grand Olympics. Athletes will compete in world-class stadiums. New highways and train lines crisscross Beijing. China built the world’s largest airport terminal to welcome an expected 500,000 foreign visitors. Thousands of newly planted trees and dozens of colorful “One World, One Dream” billboards line the main roads of a spruced-up capital. The security system has impressed the FBI and Interpol.
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But beneath the shimmer and behind the slogan, China is under criticism for suppressing Tibetan protests, sealing off large portions of the country to foreign reporters, harassing and jailing dissidents and not doing enough to curb air pollution. It has not lived up to a pledge in its Olympic action plan, released in 2002, to “be open in every aspect,” and a constitutional amendment adopted in 2004 to recognize and protect human rights has not shielded government critics from arrest.
A haze of pollution hangs over China's National Stadium, known as the bird's nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8.
A haze of pollution hangs over China’s National Stadium, known as the bird’s nest, the main venue for the Beijing Olympics beginning Aug. 8. (By Greg Baker – Associated Press)
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The two realities show that when China had to build something new to fulfill expectations, it has largely delivered. But in areas that touch China’s core interests, Olympic pledges come second.
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“To ensure a successful Olympic Games, the government did make some technical and strategic efforts to improve the environment, human rights and press freedom. They did make some progress. But in these three areas, there’s a long, long way to go,” said Cheng Yizhong, an editor who tracks China’s Olympic preparations.
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With the Games less than four months away, the International Olympic Committee is scrambling to nail down specifics of how China will treat criticism of its actions during the event. Pressed this month, IOC President Jacques Rogge clarified that athletes would be allowed to speak freely in Beijing’s Olympic venues, calling it an “absolute” human right.
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“I can’t help but feel cynical about all this,” said David Wallechinsky, an Olympic historian, who said the IOC should have been more forceful with China earlier. “What are they going to do, take away the Games?”

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/20/AR2008042002044.html?hpid=topnews

China urges calm after anti-Western demonstrations

April 20, 2008

By TINI TRAN, Associated Press Writer 

BEIJING – Fresh anti-Western protests flared in several Chinese cities Sunday as people vented anger over pro-Tibet demonstrations along the Olympic torch relay. State media appealed for calm in an apparent attempt to dampen the nationalistic fervor.
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Over the weekend, protesters waving Chinese flags have rallied in front of the French Embassy in Beijing and at outlets of French retailer Carrefour in nine cities across the country. They have threatened boycotts of the retailer, whom they accuse of supporting the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader — a charge Carrefour denies.

Tibetan native now living in Ann Arbor, Lob Sang, left, made ...
Tibetan native now living in Ann Arbor, Lob Sang, left, made his difference of opinion known to demonstrators, right, during the Dalai Lama’s visit to the University of Michigan on Sunday, April 20, 2008, in Ann Arbor, Mich. Many demonstrators wore T-shirts that read ‘Support Beijing 2008,’ a reference to the upcoming summer Olympics. (AP Photo/Jerry S. Mendoza)

A front-page editorial in the People’s Daily newspaper, the official mouthpiece for the Chinese Communist Party, called for calm, urging people to cherish patriotism “while expressing it in a rational way.”

“As citizens, we have the responsibility to express our patriotic enthusiasm calmly and rationally and express patriotic aspiration in an orderly and legal manner,” the commentary said.

The editorial seemed to reflect concern among China’s leaders about a growing anti-Western backlash, fueled by anger over the demonstrations in Paris, London and San Francisco during the Olympic torch relay. The relay has become a magnet for protests against China‘s rule in Tibet and its human rights record.

Barry Sautman, a political scientist at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, said the government is trying to rein in the demonstrations in order to ensure calm and project an inviting image ahead of the Beijing Olympics in August.

“That’s why they want demonstrations to be very short,” Sautman said. “They want to wrap them up as soon as possible so they can go on to restore the image of China as welcoming to people around the world.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080420/ap_on_re_as/china_
tibet;_ylt=Ak7V1OruK9KpfMtY_iPAXras0NUE

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.

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

China hit by fresh anti-Western protests

April 20, 2008

BEIJING (AFP) – Fresh protests broke out across China on Sunday in reaction to the Western media’s coverage of China‘s handling of Tibet ahead of the Beijing Olympics, state media said.
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The latest demonstrations came after thousands of Chinese rallied Saturday in support of their country, with branches of the French retailer Carrefour heavily targeted.
Protestors hold Chinese national flags during a demonstration ... 
Protestors hold Chinese national flags during a demonstration against Carrefour supermarket and French goods in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Saturday, April 19, 2008. The unrest in Tibet and protests during the worldwide Olympic torch relay have created a backlash of anger inside China against those viewed as supporting independence for Tibet. There is an online movement in China to boycott the French retail chain Carrefour due to protests in Paris during the torch relay.(AP Photo)

People gathered in front of Carrefour stores, chanting slogans of “Oppose Tibet independence” and “Oppose CNN’s anti-China statements,” referring to the international broadcaster, the official Xinhua news agency said.

They also chanted “Support the Olympics,” “Play up! China,” and “Condemn CNN” through loudspeakers.

More than 1,000 people assembled in front of a Carrefour store in the northwestern city of Xian holding protest banners, Xinhua said.

There were also demonstrations in the northeastern city of Harbin and the eastern city of Jinan, the report added.

The protests came despite the deployment of police in massive numbers across China after weeks of state-approved anti-Western rhetoric culminated in Saturday’s protests.

Police surrounded branches of Carrefour, which has been at the centre of a boycott by Chinese consumers over its alleged support of the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama — a claim it denies.

At one point, 53 police cars were seen on the rooftop parking lot of a Carrefour store in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, an AFP photographer witnessed. Dozens of law enforcement vehicles were seen on the streets around the store, he said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080420/wl_afp/chinaunresttibet
rightsoly2008france_080420075257

Chinese-Americans Call On CNN to Fire “Racial” Cafferty

April 19, 2008

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Chinese-Americans rallied outside CNN’s Hollywood office on Saturday to demand the firing of commentator Jack Cafferty for calling China‘s goods “junk” and its leaders a “bunch of goons and thugs.”

“We understand free speech,” Lake Wang, 39, told the Los Angeles Times. “But what if Cafferty said this about other racial groups? I think he would be fired. I think he’s jealous of China.”
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A crowd estimated by police at 2,000 to 5,000 gathered, chanting “Cafferty, Fire,” and singing Chinese songs. The crowd was peaceful, and no arrests were made, police Sgt. David Torres said.

Another two dozen people holding Chinese flags also demonstrated outside CNN’s corporate headquarters in Atlanta.

A call to CNN representatives seeking comment was not immediately returned.

Cafferty made the comments during an appearance on “The Situation Room” that aired April 9.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080419/ap_on_re_us/cnn_protest_1

Jack Cafferty prepares for an appearance on CNN's 'The Situation ...
Jack Cafferty prepares for an appearance on CNN’s ‘The Situation Room,’ Wednesday, June 21, 2006, at CNN’s New York headquarters. China on Thursday April 17, 2008 snubbed an apology from CNN over remarks by one Cafferty as a wave of verbal assaults on foreign media raised concerns over coverage at this summer’s Beijing Olympics. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu rejected CNN’s explanation that commentator Jack Cafferty was referring to China’s leaders — not the Chinese people — when he described them as ‘goons and thugs.’ CNN said it apologized to anyone who thought otherwise.(AP Photo/Kathy Willens, FILE)

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.”

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/mcclatchy/20080418/
wl_mcclatchy/2913842_1

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.

Read the rest:
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)

Tibet an ‘international issue,’ Japan PM tells China

April 18, 2008

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan‘s Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda bluntly told China Friday that Tibetan unrest had become an international issue, contradicting Beijing‘s official line, and hinted it could hit the Olympics.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (L) talks with Japanese ...
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi (L) talks with Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda during a meeting held at the premier’s office in Tokyo. Fukuda bluntly told China Friday that Tibetan unrest had become an international issue, contradicting Beijing’s official line, and hinted it could hit the Olympics.
(AFP/POOL/Dai Kurokawa)

Yasuo Fukuda made the remarks to visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who is paving the way for President Hu Jintao‘s much-anticipated trip here next month.

“Prime Minister Fukuda stated that there was a need to face up to the reality that the matter has become an international issue and that it should not affect the Olympics,” a foreign ministry statement said.

“It is desired that the Chinese side does all it can to solve the matter,” it quoted Fukuda as saying.

China has repeatedly countered criticism of its crackdown in the Himalayan region by saying its handling of protests last month was strictly an internal matter.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080418/wl_asia_afp/
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