Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chinese Takeover

Les jeux olympiques ne seraient-ils qu'une sinistre mascarade?
The olympic torch traveled in Paris early this week -- at least partly. A succession of incidents led it to be whisked to a safer place mid-itinerary. As expected, there were plenty of demonstrations against China's (mis)handling of the Tibet situation. Less expected was the rough treatment those carrying Tibetan flags along the torch path got. Chinese-style rough. A huge controversy ensued.

French Interior Ministry spokesmen explained, tail between their legs, that since the Chinese were responsible for the safety of the torch per Olympic Committee's by-laws, the French police was only there to provide logistical support. The sportifs running next to the torch bearers were actually Chinese elite riot policemen (remember Tiananmen?) The French police justified its laissez-faire attitude by stating that it was only there to ensure a balance between securing the torch and respecting freedom of expression. Pretty lame.

This was a dark day for France -- and for democracy in general. That China systematically tramples human rights is one thing. That a country like France condones it in the name of "realpolitik" or "respect of sovereign nations" is another. Have we become so dependent on all that Chinese junk that we feel compelled to bend over and forsake our basic human dignity? Dark day indeed.
[update 04/11/08: more via Why Travel To France + Chinese torch security proposal]
screenshot from