Categorized | China, Politics, Sports

The Great Gall Of China

The world’s greatest sporting event has put China in a spot light. But many would rather see the country put in a spot. As the D Day approaches closer, so does the propensity of the vexing questions hitting home.

I have never been a big fan of things Chinese. Sure they are making more money and the infrastructure is all snazzy. But that shouldn’t be an excuse to deny a huge number of people their right to justice.

However the thing I am interested in bring up here is not politics but IOC’s latest announcement regarding the way China controls its internet. The Olympics governing body wants the hosts to loosen up its information highway restrictions and take it a bit easy.

I bet this is more than what the Chinese communists bargained for when they pitched for the Olympics venue.

IOC executives sound dead serious about this issue. In fact one of their brass even ventured an opinion to the media that in case China does not go easy on the filters, it could reflect negatively on the host country.

Its time somebody stood up to the Chinese and called the ball as it is. Imagine the international media which would inevitably converge in the country covering the world’s greatest sporting action without access to tools that are routinely and freely available in majority of other parts of the world.

Particularly disturbing has been China’s response to the Tibetan protest. It has not gone down too well and consequentially even the celebrities around the world are starting to wash their hands off the event. Steven Spielberg cut his support as an artistic adviser during the opening and closing ceremonies, India’s top soccer player refused to run the torch as a measure of solidarity with the Tibetans.

Here are some pictures of the protest:

Tibetan protesters shot dead by the Chinese riot police on March 16, 2008. Dead bodies were brought at the monastery where People are seen donating money for burying the fallen.

The Chinese police flag march in the troubled region.

I think this is a right move at the right time by the IOC and the committee should be commended for not know-towing to the Chinese diktat. IOC should build bridges with the hosts and get as much leeway as it can. Be it restrained action against the protesters or less shackles on the Internet.

But if China is unmoved, the protests should be taken to its next logical step of boycotting. Even we could contribute in our own small way by not watching the games. We mean business and Chinese govt should not be left in any doubt about that.

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Disclaimer: I am against Chinese government policy. Personally Chinese are some of the nicest people that I have met during the course of my professional and personal life.

    4 Responses to “The Great Gall Of China”

    1. Tarun says:

      Alright, nobody messes around with them! Thanks for the heads up.

    2. Tarun says:

      I don’t think SMS or MMS is a problem. These can be easily snooped upon. Remember even Indian govt is trying to bring Blackberry service providers in line by ordering them to allow snooping by govt agencies.

      The Chinese problem is more of filtering the internet content or totally blocking it. I don’t know if you are aware but websites like Wall Street Journal, Businessweek, Economist etc are not accessible in China. Just recently they provided access to Wiki engligh and BBC.

      And then there is the problem of filtering. If you search for words like democracy and human rights, results are going to be way different than what you will get if you do the same sitting in India.

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