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Okay, so at the moment I'm watching BBC news live coverage of the Olympic Torch relay in San Francisco, where they've secretly changed the route of the torch, secretly, with absolutely no notice.  It is surrounded by soldiers and police, with media photographers being driven just in front of that in what appears to be a Duck Tours bus.  This is one of the most insane things I've ever seen.

Over the weekend a friend of mine informed me in his most dignified tone of left wing irritation that he finds it hypocritical that people in the US and the UK are upset about Tibet when their own countries are occupying Iraq.  Which is a point, yes.  But the thing that makes the Chinese government so much worse, above Tibet and Burma and Sudan, is the fact that it's a totalitarian, dictatorial regime.  It's NOT the same as all of the other imperialistic countries who get the Olympics (not, deep down, that I give a rat's ass about the Olympics), it's worse.  People in China can't even use the internet.  And this farcical media spectacle/fake torch run really drives it home, the cheerful way in which the Chinese government is happy to lie to paint itself as a legitimate government, to protect its own wizened grip on power.  It would be funny if it wasn't so sad.  What does it mean for the world that one billion people are living under a regime that purposefully misleads them and tries to teach them not to think too deeply about where the power lies?

Also, a voice labelled 'Olympic Historian' has just informed us that the Nazis invented the Olympic flame. Huh.  I did not know that.


Apr. 12th, 2008 09:58 pm (UTC)
I definitely think the footprint issue is a HYUUGE one - did you read the paper that recently came out (of Berkeley, natch) that showed that the majority of the US/UK carbon footprints were generated on China, then blamed on it? But I really don't have a problem with China on the carbon front, I think they're certainly more 'progressive' than the US.

Nope, my problem is definitely the intellectual freedom one. Maybe it's because I instinctively distrust authority, and because I think a lack of critical thought is pretty much the source of MOST of the world's big problems. It terrifies me that there's a billion people in the world who are essentially being forced to be passive citizens. That's horrific.

And, yes, I very much subscribe to Catherine's point. Where I'm born shouldn't restrict my right to protest, nor should it restrict anybody else's. If I've been given privileges I need to earn them by being a responsible, engaged person.