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Protests Accompany the Lighting of the Torch March 24, 2008

Posted by Philip Ryan in Dalai Lama, News, Tibet.

Protesters did briefly disrupt the Olympic torch-lighting ceremony:

Three pro-Tibet activists have briefly disrupted the ceremony in which the Olympic torch for the Beijing Games was lit in Greece.

The protestors breached a cordon of about 1,000 police officers at Olympia to display a flag demanding a boycott of the Olympics amid mounting controversy over China’s crackdown in Tibet.

The men, of the French human rights group Reporters Without Borders, ran up behind Liu Qi, the head of the Beijing Olympic organising committee, as he spoke before the flame was lit.

One man unfurled a black flag portraying the Olympic rings made from handcuffs. Another tried to grab the microphone from Mr Liu and shouted “freedom, freedom”.

But Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, insisted there was no “momentum” for a boycott of the event which starts in the Chinese capital on August 8.

(Danny Fisher has BBC footage of this.) The torch is due to arrive March 31st in Beijing. Chinese officials vow tight security will be in place for that day and the entire games, due to begin in August.

And Rediff News asks, Whodunit?

A scenario in which the Dalai Lama wantonly stokes the dormant embers of decades into a conflagration against China seems utterly implausible.

. . .

There is absolutely no chance of China agreeing to bring within the purview of the talks demands such as independence, self-determination or referendum in the light of its stand on Tibet. It is too late in the day to go back on the endorsement, open and tacit, by the international community of the fact that Tibet is a part of Chinese territory and the recognition given to its sovereign rights as such for over five decades.



1. BIG JOHN Lancaster - March 24, 2008

I think that it is very sad that the Tibetans have decided to disrupt the Olympics because they are unhappy with China rule. It is the young Tibetan demonstrators who have started the violence and destruction and tried to spread it to other provinces and countries. They should know that the China government would not stand for it just as any other country would not stand for it. I agree there are humanitarian abuses in China but I think that things have improved greatly over the past several years in China. I have visited China a number of times and have always felt safe and been well treated and it is a beautiful country with many good people. I think that the Dalai Lama is against the violence and that it would be useful for both sides to calm down and engage in conversations. I realize that the China government probably feels burned by recent events but they also need to take a step backward and consider at least talking with the Dalai Lama to see if some middle ground can be reached. It would be a terrible tragedy for the entire world if the Olympic Games were marred by these violent demonstrators who see to have only thier own agenda in mind. China is not about to make Tibet independent, the Dalai Lama understands and agrees to that fact. The young Tibetans have attacked and perpetrated violence against shopkeepers and others just because they are ethnic Han (the majority ethnicity in China), not because they have done anything to the Tibetans. This is certainly racism. Perpetrating violence against innocent victims will not further the Tibetans cause. The Tibetans are now suffering the consequences of their rash actions and I think they have underestimated the probable actions of the China government.

2. vincent - March 24, 2008

I totaly agree. The olympics are for all the hardtrained althlets around the world no matter what their race, political or religious believing to prove themselve amoung the world ‘s bests.

Leave the political issues to UN. Let the Olympics be the purest sporting event like it always intent to be. I ,for one, not so interested in an Olympics within only “friendly, freedom and peace loving countries.”

By the way, if such thing happen then who make the call. EU ,US or the UN.

3. Jay - March 24, 2008

Totally agree! A few monks are not going to change progress of human race. Give it up and move on… Even the Taiwaneses are happy that they choose new leader that is more friendly toward currently Chinese government.

A lot of western trouble makers are still a minority comparing to majority of the world.

4. Nasdaq7 - March 24, 2008

130 has died for just protesting. I wouldn’t go to the games if I was an athlete. China could have saved the lives of those people, but they have no respect for human life.

5. vincent - March 25, 2008

nasdaq7, It wasn’t just a protesting, It is a RIOT. Maybe there was 130 people died from it. The riot beat up people on the street and burned girls alive when they were hiding from them. The rioters beat up people to dead not because they ‘ve done anything wrong but chinese han. Are you kidding me? Police just forming wall and taking shield from the rocks and firebombs from the video. And some video show Nepal police beat up the protesters were labeled as Chinese from CNN, you think?
There were more than thousand of western tourists at Tibet during the riot and I am sure most of them has videocam or cell phone cam some sorts, I didn’t see any image that show the police done anything outrage. But you see the words: bloodshed, crash all over the places from the same medias.
Don’t go then,me neither, believe what you want to believe or some medias want you to believe. The tickets are almost sold out anyway if not so. It suppose just a pure sporting event but some rioters try to link it to the politic. You won’t be missed that is for sure.

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