Tag Archives: China

A Move Against Olympic Terror

The Obama Administration has levied sanctions against Abdul Haq (not to be confused with this Abdul Haq), who attempted to launch terrorist attacks during the Beijing Games:

The Treasury Department’s target was Abdul Haq, head of the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Party. The action means that any bank accounts or other financial assets found in the United States belonging to him must be frozen. Americans also are barred from doing business with Haq, who is Chinese.

With that off the docket, Obama can now focus on forging a non-proliferation treaty with Lehman Brothers.

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The Humiliation of Taiwan

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When you see Taiwan competing in international events like the Olympics or the World Baseball Classic, you’ll notice it goes by the moniker “Chinese Taipei” and its athletes stand for the Chinese national anthem. This isn’t by choice, as “Uncle Popov” reminds us in an excellent piece at the Bleacher Report.

Depending on whom you ask, Taiwan is either a free country, part of an archipelago called the Republic of China (distinct from the People’s Republic of China), the rightful rulers of mainland China (a fairly wacky stance), a client state of China, or the rightful inheritance of the People’s Republic. Obviously, China believes–illegitimately–that it has claim to Taiwan, and because China is more powerful and wields more influence, that’s the global consensus today.

Indeed, most of the world doesn’t recognize Taiwanese sovereignty, and international sports governing bodies–never known for their testicular fortitude when it comes to standing up to the People’s Republic–almost always follow suit. That’s led to some controversy and resistance.

For example, leading up to the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006, then U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo (R-CO) blasted MLB for bowing to Chinese pressure and forcing the Taiwanese to compete under the “Chinese Taipei” name, which they’re known by in IOC and even World Trade Organization circles. Tancredo’s efforts, of course, came to grief.

As petty as it sounds, any change in WBC or Olympic policy would be seen by the Chinese as an international incident. Over here? Hell, the governor of Texas can daydream about high treason, and we don’t sweat it too much.

Anyhow, things aren’t likely to change. It would be nice, though, if at the very least journalists and commentators covering these events would make a point of saying/writing “Taiwan” loudly and proudly at every chance.

Baby steps, as they say.

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The End of International Torch Relays

The IOC has taken the step (belated in my mind) of banning international torch relays leading up the Olympics:

Instead of representing a symbol of hope and inspiration, the Olympic torch became a magnet for protesters in 2008 en route to Beijing, sparking sometimes violent protests over China’s human rights record.

The only curiosity is why they didn’t take this step before the Beijing Games. It’s not as though clashes along the torch route were unexpected. London 2012 organizers say they were already planning to keep the relays within the U.K.

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South Africa’s Bad Week

As mentioned below and elsewhere in Spolitical, South Africa’s snubbing of the Dalai Lama has opened up the 2010 World Cup hosts to much criticism. Now, mere days after denying an entry visa to the (generally) beloved Tibetan spiritual leader, South Africa has decided to bestow a lofty state honor–one previously given to MLK and Gandhi–upon … Fidel Castro.

SA’s decision to marginalize the Dalai Lama is wrong in the moral sense, but from the standpoint of realpolitic I can understand not wanting to anger a major trading partner like China–particularly at a time when Africa is losing Chinese investments. But to follow that up by paying homage to Castro? Inexplicable.

Given how bumpy the road to the World Cup has already been, one must wonder whether SA’s forthcoming bid to host the 2020 Summer Olympics took a serious hit in recent days.

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Post-Olympics Human Rights in China, Part II

“The decision in 2001 to give the games to China was made in the hope of improvement in human rights and, indeed, the Chinese themselves said that having the games would accelerate progress in such matters.” – IOC member Dick Pound

From the Economist:

IT’S official: “Tibet has moved from darkness to light, poverty to affluence, dictatorship to democracy and seclusion to opening up.” So proclaims the notice at an exhibition in Beijing marking the 50th anniversary of Tibet’s “democratic reforms”. To celebrate, officials in Tibet have designated Saturday March 28th as Serf Liberation Day. Lest anyone not share the mood of rejoicing, security will be tightened, dissidents kept behind bars and foreigners firmly steered away from the region.

From the BBC:

China is reported to have blocked the YouTube video-sharing website because it has been carrying video of soldiers beating monks and other Tibetans.

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South Africa’s Snub

South Africa has raised eyebrows and hackles by refusing to grant a visa to the Dalai Lama. In all likelihood, they did so to appease China. China is a major trading partner, and last year the African National Congress signed a memorandum of understanding with the communist behemoth. Suffice it say, “understanding” China means appreciating how much they loathe Tibet’s spiritual leader. Of course, South Africa won’t admit to this. Instead, they’re invoking their status as host of the 2010 World Cup:

Spokesman for the South Africa president told reporters, “at this time the whole world will be focused on the country as hosts of the 2010 World Cup. We want the focus to remain on South Africa… A visit now by the Dalai Lama would move the focus from South Africa onto issues in Tibet.”

Last year, South Africa imperiled that host status by enabling Robert Mugabe, and now one must wonder whether FIFA is regretting its decision.

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Post-Olympics Human Rights in China, Part One

“The decision in 2001 to give the games to China was made in the hope of improvement in human rights and, indeed, the Chinese themselves said that having the games would accelerate progress in such matters.” — IOC member Dick Pound

From Friday’s Wa Po:

A human rights watchdog says Chinese security forces have detained a former soldier who publicly expressed regret over his role in the bloody 1989 crackdown on pro-democracy protests in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.

From Friday’s NYT:

China’s grass-mud horse, the mythical and popular Internet creature whose Chinese name sounds very much like an obscenity, is being put out to pasture by censors, the Web site Global Voices reported on Wednesday.

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