Friday, August 22, 2008

China: And the World Turns a Blind Eye

The Olympics are almost over.
And now, perhaps, we can go back to acknowledging what China is really like, rather than pretending that everything is ok, because some people are running fast around what is, without doubt, a fine stadium.
For some weeks now, most of the world has been focussing almost entirely on the running, jumping, swimming, boxing and other events in Beijing.
As it did, the repressive Chinese regime has been keeping up its bad work. It is still, systematically, depriving its people of information. It is little surprise that those Chinese you meet outside their home country are completely indoctrinated. I have been told, categorically, that there was no massacre at Tiananmen Square. It didn't happen. It's a 'western invention.'

Right now, the Dalai Lama has revealed that many dozens of protesters were massacred in Tibet on August 18.
Pro Tibet protesters in Beijing have been jailed. iTunes has been blocked because it's selling Songs for Tibet, produced by the Art of Peace Foundation in support of the people of that disputed region.
The hateful murders and deliberate starvation continues in Darfur.
Burma continues, with Chinese support, to be run by a despicable junta which murders its own people with bullets and neglect.
And China continues to support the dictator Mugabe in Zimbabwe.
But for two weeks, the world, or most of it, managed to pretend none of this was happening. Britain, surprised by its medal tally, is devoting page after page of its newspapers to its glorious athletes, and little or no space to those who are suffering under the odious Chinese regime.
There has, for example, been little mention of those who were jailed specifically because of the Olympics. Scant mention of those thrown out of their homes to make way for the 'fine stadium.'
But then, the world will turn a blind eye even when the games are over when things will, undoubtedly, get worse.
China is useful. Indeed, there are those economists who say China is vital. And staying on the right side of China is vital for western economies.
The world has a habit of turning a blind eye. It did so in the Balkans. It did for years as Ethiopians starved to death. It did in Darfur until it was forced to react. It hasn't exactly covered itself in glory in relation to Zimbabwe.
The Games are all but over now.
And everyone's counting their medals.
Who, I wonder, will count those imprisoned for their religious or political beliefs, who will count the dead when the real repression resumes in the near future?

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