China cracks down on Olympic protesters

posted at 10:58 am on March 11, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When the International Olympic Committee awarded the 2008 Summer Games to China, it insisted that China respect human rights and free speech during the international event.  China agreed, and allowed its citizens to apply for demonstration permits during the three-week extravanganza.  The Washington Post reports that the process wound up being a confessional, with applicants persecuted for their attempts to protest the government:

When Ji Sizun heard that the Chinese government had agreed to create three special zones in Beijing for peaceful public protests during the 2008 Summer Olympics, he celebrated. He said in an interview at the time that he believed the offer was sincere and represented the beginning of a new era for human rights in China.

All previous evidence to the contrary, of course.

Ji, 59, a self-taught legal advocate who had spent 10 years fighting against corrupt officials in his home province of Fujian on China’s southeastern coast, immediately packed his bags and was one of the first in line in Beijing to file his application to protest.

It is now clear that his hope was misplaced.

In the end, official reports show, China never approved a single protest application — despite its repeated pledges to improve its human rights record when it won the bid to host the Games. Some would-be applicants were taken away by force by security officials and held in hotels to prevent them from filing the paperwork. Others were scared away by warnings that they could face “difficulties” if they went through with their applications.

Ji has spent the past eight months in various states of arrest and detention. In January, he was sentenced to three years in prison, the maximum penalty allowed, on charges of faking official seals on documents he filed on behalf of his clients. Ji is appealing.

I hope the moral relativists at the IOC pay attention to this, although I doubt they will.  The notion that a three-week sporting event would effect real political change in China was laughable on its face, but the IOC insisted that its award to Beijing would help its dissidents.  Perhaps they can talk to Ji, if they can get into prison to see him.

For the rest of us, we knew that the IOC had done nothing but give China a three-week world stage on which to trot out propaganda of every sort.  The regime made all sorts of promises — unfettered Internet access, for instance — that it never intended to meet.  They even manhandled the Western press when covering a peaceful protest by Tibetan activists.  Beijing’s pledges of openness were nothing but a cheap facade to fool foreigners for a little over a fortnight as the inexpensive ante to their propaganda jackpot.

The only people to pay for it were those sucked in by the IOC’s insistence on giving Beijing credibility on these promises — people like Ji, who will go to prison because he dared believe that the regime would allow protests.


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This will hurt Chicago’s bid for 2016 Olympics if the IOC does not want this to happen again.

WashJeff on March 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM

For the rest of us, we knew that the IOC had done nothing but give China a three-week world stage on which to trot out propaganda of every sort.

Thanks to NBC, which played its part nicely.

flyfisher on March 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Does Chas Freeman approve?

rbj on March 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Cue Claude Rains.

mankai on March 11, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe IOC officials have a history of susceptibility to bribes. Say, how did that case involving the age falsification of the Chinese gymnastics performer finally work out?

a capella on March 11, 2009 at 11:07 AM

Hope and change. It looks like they changed back to the old ways.

Of course america has been changed back to the Clinton era.

seven on March 11, 2009 at 11:07 AM

The Washington Post reports that the process wound up being a confessional, with applicants persecuted for their attempts to protest the government:

This is why I worry about gun registration…

myrenovations on March 11, 2009 at 11:09 AM

And Obama celebrated how wonderful the Chinese govt ran its country. Didn’t he.

lorien1973 on March 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

The IOC is just the UN in running shoes. What a waste.

AubieJon on March 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

And Obama celebrated how wonderful the Chinese govt ran its country. Didn’t he.

lorien1973 on March 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

And I am sure he meant what he said. Another Chinese import.

WashJeff on March 11, 2009 at 11:12 AM

Chas Freeman called, says that Chinese are not doing enough to put down these applicants…

runner on March 11, 2009 at 11:13 AM

There were two women in their 70s whose homes were torn down to build the stadium. They also applied for a permit to protest last year, were arrested, and sentenced to 1 year of hard labor in a camp.

Blake on March 11, 2009 at 11:15 AM

Chas Freeman Seal of Approval.

Techie on March 11, 2009 at 11:16 AM

And Obama celebrated how wonderful the Chinese govt ran its country. Didn’t he.
lorien1973 on March 11, 2009 at 11:10 AM

That is yet another issue Obama is a “moderate” on. Personally, he has no problem with the current Chinese goverment. But that’s what he has advisers for — to keep him from getting lax.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

Yeah, well Cheney threw people into his gulag system too, so who are we to point fingers?

Bishop on March 11, 2009 at 11:26 AM

G_d, I miss Cheney. Not Bush, just Cheney.

myrenovations on March 11, 2009 at 11:28 AM

We have our own civil rights abuses here. Congresspeople take money from Indian Tribes that violate their members rights, taking away voting rights, violating due process and exposing them to ex-post facto laws.

Getting caught up with the Chinese Olympics just proves that it’s THE MONEY STUPID. Everyone can look away as long as money is being paid.

Same thing for here with Schwarzenegger and our new Speaker of the house.

originalpechanga on March 11, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Lying communist scum. I’d urge the populace to revolt, but the government has all the guns.

SKYFOX on March 11, 2009 at 11:34 AM

After she’s done embarrassing herself and us as Secretary of State, maybe Hillary can join the IOC. She’d obviously fit right in.

irishspy on March 11, 2009 at 11:34 AM

Seems odd that Beijing officials would arrest someone for attempting to protest provincial corruption. On the rare occasions I bother to read the People’s Daily there’s often a story or two about corrupt officials being sentenced to death for graft. Maybe the reaction depends on the official in question.

(Posting with a VPN condom on for that added sense of security)

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 11:43 AM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 11:43 AM

I would think that the CCP would like to be the ones who expose corruption to show how they are protecting the people. But, from what I’ve seen, they only do it after the failure is made public.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 11:46 AM

I would think that the CCP would like to be the ones who expose corruption to show how they are protecting the people. But, from what I’ve seen, they only do it after the failure is made public.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 11:46 AM

True, it generally seems to be reactive as well as selective.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 11:50 AM

How cynical, even despicable, for the West to raise hopes and do nothing to enforce terms. It basically stages the West as saying “Freedom’s for me — NOT for thee, silly grasshoppers.”

Mark30339 on March 11, 2009 at 11:51 AM

Duh.

Protests were allowed.
Retaliations result.
Obama lauds.

maverick muse on March 11, 2009 at 11:52 AM

But, but, China’s got some way great infrastructure and Obama wants us to be more like them. This human rights stuff is just a distraction.

Buy Danish on March 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM

Others who paid for it included US women gymnasts who competed against out of age Chinese girls. It is true that the Chinese got away with the same ploy four years earlier, but it would have been easier to control in another country. The international Olympic officials might have been a little more forceful in another place.

burt on March 11, 2009 at 11:53 AM

True, it generally seems to be reactive as well as selective.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 11:50 AM

I am having an IM conversation now with someone from China (Shanghai, actually) about tax fraud in China. It is her contention that being a Party member has its advantages in that regard. It also seems that fraud is rather widespread there now. I’m having that conversation as I write a check to Uncle Sam.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

For those of you who thought that bringing ‘capitalism’ to China would eventually bring their ‘freedom’-think again now.
None of those people are truly free. They will always live under threats to their personal freedom.
Whatever they make is not really truly theirs bcs the govt will take it anytime it wants.
Who in the hell really wants to live like that?!
True freedom comes at a cost.
The Chinese people have become morally vacuous & cynical.
Look at how they are so willing to poison people, even themselves, to make a buck?
This nation of provinces will have bigger problems than they already have one day.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:05 PM

I am having an IM conversation now with someone from China (Shanghai, actually) about tax fraud in China. It is her contention that being a Party member has its advantages in that regard. It also seems that fraud is rather widespread there now. I’m having that conversation as I write a check to Uncle Sam.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 11:55 AM

Probably true. A lot of people join the Party just for the perks.

That reminds me I have to send in my income-tax self-reporting form at the end of the month. At least the tax forms are easier here, though I still have to do the US ones as well.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:08 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:08 PM

What’s the tax rate for you there? Is it different for you than for a national?

genso on March 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM

While brave people like Ji Sizun rot in jail for daring to protest, American TV-watchers were regaled by huge and impressive opening and closing ceremonies that were a tremendous propaganda boost for the regime, and naive Americans wonder if maybe a dictatorship is more efficient.

You’ve gotta wonder how much the thousands of actors/athletes in the opening and closing ceremonies were paid for their training and participation, compared to the wages they receive for making cheap clothes and shoes sold in America.

Due to the under-valued yuan (Chinese currency), the regime is probably making fortunes on the backs of these people, which the regime uses to buy up T-bills. For Obama, human rights = schmuman schmights, just keep buyin’ dem T-bills to fund Chicago-style socialism, until the Chinese own our government, if they don’t already.

Then, if a future President complains about human rights in China, they’ll tell us they’re velly, velly solly. And so we will be here in Amellica.

Steve Z on March 11, 2009 at 12:15 PM

But…but…

Michael Phelps!

YYZ on March 11, 2009 at 12:18 PM

Does Chas Freeman approve?

rbj on March 11, 2009 at 11:06 AM

Who do you think they got the idea from?

tempestleo on March 11, 2009 at 12:19 PM

You mean China lied! To the Olympic Committee????? Whoodathunk?

So the question again becomes…does the international community keep getting suckered by dictatorships because they want to are are they really just that stupid.?

29Victor on March 11, 2009 at 12:20 PM

What’s the tax rate for you there? Is it different for you than for a national?

genso on March 11, 2009 at 12:10 PM

About 25% (I’m in the top bracket I believe). I get an automatic deduction of about RMB 5,000 per month due to my foreigner status.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Reporters? What about our Navy?

My Sailor is on the Chung-Hoon.

csdeven on March 11, 2009 at 12:24 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:23 PM

Thanks for the info.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Seems odd that Beijing officials would arrest someone for attempting to protest provincial corruption. On the rare occasions I bother to read the People’s Daily there’s often a story or two about corrupt officials being sentenced to death for graft. Maybe the reaction depends on the official in question.
DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 11:43 AM

You’re missing the whole point of the “People’s” Daily: In a collectivist society, any citizen can be criticized at any time.

…But only the government can do the criticizing.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Handing an Olympics to the Chinese was no different than handing the Olympics to the Soviets and to the Nazis.

The “International Community” doesn’t give a damn about “human rights,” or “dignity” or “freedom.”

That is why the UN is such a waste of time. It is “International” and, therefore, worthless.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

logis on March 11, 2009 at 12:31 PM

Not missing the point, which I why I’m posting via VPN on this thread ;)

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:33 PM

Thanks for the info.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 12:26 PM

Just hope it’s accurate. My wife looks at the tax statements. I haven’t much since I first got here. My overall tax burden here is definitely lower, though I’m still liable for some US income and property taxes.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 12:37 PM

That is why the UN is such a waste of time. It is “International” and, therefore, worthless.

OhEssYouCowboys on March 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

*Nods head furiously in agreement*

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 12:38 PM

But they swear they’ll not take this kind of action after they take this kind of action.

mankai on March 11, 2009 at 12:49 PM

That is why the UN is such a waste of time. It is “International” and, therefore, worthless.
OhEssYouCowboys on March 11, 2009 at 12:32 PM

Like anything else in the world, it’s not the concept of an international organization that’s evil; it’s the STANDARDS that make an organization good or bad.

The UN is a paradigm for the concept of collectivism: Over half of its members are brutal totalitariansms. Individually, the vast majority of these guys are all scum by any imaginable standard. But (somehow, magically) their amalgam is unquestionably good.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 12:51 PM

The way Obama cites China as something we great country who’s infrastructure we strive to emulate really pisses me off. I bet those Chinese workers have the sames wages and benefits as American workers, huh.

Maybe Obama really was the Manchurian candidate.

BrianA on March 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM

The way Obama cites China as something we great country who’s infrastructure we strive to emulate really pisses me off. I bet those Chinese workers have the sames wages and benefits as American workers, huh.

Maybe Obama really was the Manchurian candidate.

BrianA on March 11, 2009 at 12:56 PM

It is a fact that while the US overall still has better infrastructure, China’s is improving while the US infrastructure is slowly deteriorating. Certainly much lower wages and benefits for the workers are a factor, as is the lack of environmentalist red tape and the fact that the government owns all the land so they can legally do anything they want with it. Another difference is that the Chinese government wants to build infrastructure, while the US national and state governments seem indifferent at best.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM

while the US national and state governments seem indifferent at best.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM

Some states maybe.
Some cannot get past the EPA,OSHA etc red tape that environmentalist lawsuits have exacerbated to the point one can no longer build any modern infrastructure.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 1:22 PM

Some states maybe.
Some cannot get past the EPA,OSHA etc red tape that environmentalist lawsuits have exacerbated to the point one can no longer build any modern infrastructure.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 1:22 PM

I hope so. I’ve only ever lived in blue states and every time I’m home the apparent deterioration saddens me. Chinese colleagues who visit my home city (where our company is based) remark on it’s declining condition as well. It’s very discomforting not to be able to refute their observations.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM

Well in ND we are really trying to fill the needs.
They got all the permits & everything done for the next coal gasification plant in South Heart.
But since Obama’s been POTUS, they put construction on hold bcs of the uncertainty of his intent toward coal energy.
Our state is also looking into building a state owned refinery.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM

China cracks down on Olympic protesters

Well, that’s what we get for trading with them – lies and folks like Elaine Chao who were very H1-b/L1 friendly.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:30 PM

So you’ve seen your share of Kowalskis as well as those who are contemporaries of Richard Ebens and Michael Nitz?

At least here in the US we don’t outright kill people who hate business. In China, folks like Meitai Plastics will.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 1:59 PM

It is a fact that while the US overall still has better infrastructure, China’s is improving while the US infrastructure is slowly deteriorating.
DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 1:13 PM

This is the part that a lot of people are missing: China is transitioning from a Communist economy, and more toward a Stalinist model combining Socialism and Communism.

Meanwhile, America is moving in the opposite direction: becoming less free, while implementing more of the Communist and Socialist elements that make up the Soviet system.

So (in a completely abstract way) one could say the direction China is moving is better than the direction America is moving. But if you compare the two positions and say that America should be “more like China” — that’s actually the complete opposite.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 2:01 PM

Steve Z on March 11, 2009 at 12:15 PM

+100

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Well in ND we are really trying to fill the needs.
They got all the permits & everything done for the next coal gasification plant in South Heart.
But since Obama’s been POTUS, they put construction on hold bcs of the uncertainty of his intent toward coal energy.
Our state is also looking into building a state owned refinery.

Badger40 on March 11, 2009 at 1:43 PM

It’s good to hear there are still some states with sane governments.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:04 PM

This is the part that a lot of people are missing: China is transitioning from a Communist economy, and more toward a Stalinist model combining Socialism and Communism.

So (in a completely abstract way) one could say the direction China is moving is better than the direction America is moving. But if you compare the two positions and say that America should be “more like China” — that’s actually the complete opposite.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 2:01 PM

While you seemed to imply I was a ‘liberal’ on the daily religion thread, I’ll forgive that and say I think your ultimate conclusion is correct here.

However, you’re wrong about the economic model. China is moving to a model which is minimizing communism in practice to a model which combines elements of socialism with a lot of capitalism. The government itself is still nominally communist, but not in practice. In practice it’s just trying pragmatic ways to keep the organization in power.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:16 PM

At least here in the US we don’t outright kill people who hate business. In China, folks like Meitai Plastics will.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 1:59 PM

Good thing or you wouldn’t be around to amuse me. Who on HA hates business more than sethstorm? Maybe getalife. Possibly.

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:19 PM

While you seemed to imply I was a ‘liberal’ on the daily religion thread, I’ll forgive that and say I think your ultimate conclusion is correct here.

However, you’re wrong about the economic model…
DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:16 PM

You were right the first time.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM

You were right the first time.

logis on March 11, 2009 at 2:27 PM

Working from different definitions of ‘liberal’ then I guess. Where did you get your perspective on China?

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:37 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:19 PM

Except that the United States and China’s neighbor, Japan actually have moved up in worker’s rights (despite the Reagan Era damage). China’s still in the “Battle of the Overpass” era.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM

Except that the United States and China’s neighbor, Japan actually have moved up in worker’s rights (despite the Reagan Era damage). China’s still in the “Battle of the Overpass” era.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 2:49 PM

So you prefer a US sytle system, Japanese style system or something different? (I used to get a good laugh out of the one hour lunch-time strikes when I lived in Japan. I suppose that wouldn’t quite cut it for you.)

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM

DarkCurrent on March 11, 2009 at 2:59 PM

A mixed model that either allows for unions and some form of stability or an effort to address the underlying causes that keeps US citizens working(and not threatened with “…or your job will go to those folks in…”.

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM

sethstorm on March 11, 2009 at 3:18 PM

What you ask for is unsustainable. So long as there is competition in the marketplace, the unionization of labor in this country will be a dead weight on any company suffering with it. Note the steel and auto industries.

genso on March 11, 2009 at 3:26 PM

It’s good that the CCP’s absolute hypocrisy regarding domestic protest has received some attention here at Hot Air. Too often it’s treated like some sort of novelty story in the big media.

Meanwhile, the Great Second Cultural Revolution proceeds apace across the Tibetan plateau, from which all foreigners (especially journalists) have been forcibly evicted.

And Hillary’s statement about her meetings with the Chinese FM glossed right over it, with the name “Tibet” lightly passing her lips but once amidst all the counterfeit idealistic platitudes that poured out.

On the 50th anniversary of the Tibetans’ mass uprising against colonial rule in 1959, one would have expected better.

Agam on March 12, 2009 at 2:27 AM

And even with all that it’s more human rights than women or dhimmis have in Saudi Arabia or other countries ruled by Muslim sharia law.

{^_^}

herself on March 12, 2009 at 3:39 PM