Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Protests have already Begun

Today the torch was carried by basketball star Yao Ming into Tiananmen Square in a lavish ceremony. Apparently tomorrow it goes to the Temple of Heaven and the Great Wall before it enters the National Stadium, or Bird's Nest on Friday.

And while the "sacred flame" made its way through the capital, two Britons made their own statement on a street lamp.

As members of the Students for a Free Tibet, they didn't go through proper channels and apply to be able to protest, or even go to one of the three designated parks for demonstrations.

Instead, they climbed up one close to the Olympic Green and unfurled a homemade banner that read, "One World, One Dream, Free Tibet" and "Tibet will be free".

One of them, 24-year-old Iain Thom, even did a mobile phone interview with the BBC while he was still on the street lamp. He also unfurled the Tibet flag temporarily.

He said: "I'm here today because I've been a long-term Tibet activist and I feel like now is a really critical time for Tibet.

"The Beijing Games have been used by the Chinese government as a propaganda tool to whitewash their human rights record in Tibet."

Meanwhile down below police looked up and were probably horrified by the daring act and perhaps wondered how these two laowai even got up there unnoticed.

Heads are going to roll for that.

In the end four people were arrested, including Thom. Two will be put on a plane tonight, and the other two tomorrow morning.

Another quiet protest was also made about Beijing's air quality when four US track cyclists stepped off their plane at the airport wearing black masks.

Cyclist Mike Friedman said: “Why we wore the masks is simple: pollution. When you train your whole life for something, dot all your i’s and cross all your t’s, why wouldn’t you be better safe than sorry?

“They have pollution in Los Angeles, and if the Olympics were in Los Angeles, we would probably wear these masks, too.”

The Games haven't started yet and already the criticism has begun -- as expected.

Hope the Chinese are ready to spin, spin spin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

glad to learn the stupid tibet protester was arrested together with his clique to be deported. also nice to hear the americans apologise for wearing masks when they arrived at beijing airport.