Thursday, March 27, 2008

Still in the Dark

The unrest in Tibet on March 14 still hasn't allowed us here in China to have access or uninterrupted access to foreign media sites.

A few days earlier I was finally able to view the BBC website and Canada's Globe and Mail. But not anymore.

I'm still having trouble reading my Yahoo emails. As soon as I log in the page either lets me view a few emails before going blank or goes blank immediately. It takes several minutes before allowing me back in, again only temporarily.

Yesterday the Chinese government allowed some foreign journalists up to Tibet on a press trip to see what had happened a few weeks earlier. But even then we're not allowed to read what they saw.

The AP bureau chief, who is on the trip, reported several monks disrupted a government press conference today to say the riots were not instigated by the Dalai Lama and they knew they might be arrested for speaking out.

While the Chinese government is trying very hard to give the semblance of having everything under control, things are falling through the cracks.

A few days ago when the torch was lit for the Beijing Olympics, some protesters managed to kick up a fuss during the ceremony by unfurling a flag with images of handcuffs in the shape of the Olympic rings, while the president of the Beijing Olympics Organizing Commitee Liu Qi was making a speech.

Apparently he was a very good actor and didn't let the scuffle faze him.

But this wasn't shown to Chinese viewers -- the unchoreographed scene was quickly cut away to stock footage about the torch relay.

Nobody is going to rain on China's parade.

However, there are plans of protests happening in when the torch arrives in San Francisco, and if French President Nicolas Sarkozy decides to not to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing, it might be a quiet blessing for the French to also voice their dismay at China's handling of Tibet when the torch goes through Paris.

One has to wonder if the Chinese really realize the possible negative effects of hosting the Games, or are they burying their heads in the sand and hoping somehow it will all go away come August.

In the meantime the rest of us here want to have our Internet access back. But it looks like China is going the way of the latter.

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