Olympics says ‘no’ to Falun Gong

14 Apr
Olympics says ‘no’ to Falun Gong
Adjust font size:  ZoomIn ZoomOut   Close Facts.org.cn By: Jeff
 

IOC President Jacques Rogge speaks to reporters during a press conference on Saturday April 5, 2008, in Singapore. [Xinhua]

Olympic torch relay concluded in Paris Monday afternoon, then the torch flied to San Francisco for its only North American stop on Wednesday. Since March 24 on the day the Olympic torch lighted in Greece, its path around the globe already has been marked by protests against China’s policies at its beginning.

May 2, the torch will reach in Hong Kong. To ensure the security, Immigration Department of Hong Kong ties strict immigration control. Hong Kong Association of Falun Dafa spokesman Kan Hung-cheung stressed the group was not calling for a boycott of the Games and was not against the Olympic torch relay. 

How can we believe Falun Gong?

Just at that time, Kan said that the Falun Gong will step up the number of parades and rallies in the run-up to the Olympics to highlight the persecution of its members in the mainland.

B. Raman, an Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat. Govt. of India wrote an article “Year of Olympics: Year of the Trojan Rats to discuss”. He anticipated, “The Falun Gong—inside China and outside— have their own plans. They know that the business companies of the West would never allow the Games to be boycotted by their countries. They have invested so much not only in the Chinese economy, but also in the Games itself as sponsors. Coca Cola and Pepsi are looking forward to sales of their drinks, which would beat their previous records. They are not going to allow any official boycott of the Games. ” “So, the Falun Gong have been contacting individual athletes—- particularly in the developing countries—- to persuade them to refuse to join their national teams. Their campaign against the Games is already showing some signs of success in Africa. ”

Let’s see how Falun Gong “welcome” the Olympics and Olympic torch.

Behind the protest activities of pro-Tibetan protesters, Falun Gong members are not so marked. But we also find the shadow of them. 

At the beginning of March, American Swarthmore College hosted “China Meets the World: Olympics, Modernization and Beyond,” two back-to-back discussions titled “China, U.S. and the World” and “China and Transformation.” During the panels, eight student representatives from the college and seven Chinese students from two of China’s leading universities, Peking and Tsinghua University, discussed global issues concerning the sociopolitical and cultural issues currently important for China and U.S.-China relations. During the Q&A session of the second panel, two Falun Gong activists stood up and began to speak about the history of Falun Gong practitioners in China, among other things. Their comments were lengthy and only loosely related to the topics discussed at the event, and time had to be reserved for other audience members to ask their own questions, so at some point they had to be cut off, according to Laura Post ’09, a student who had attended the event.

On March 24, two Falun Gong members tried to unfurl a banner at another part of the city center shortly before the flame arrived, the police in Greece briefly detained them. When Greek officials handed over the Olympic flame to organizers of the Beijing Summer Games, even before the hand-over began, three supporters of the Falun Gong tried to distribute leaflets on Falun Gong outside the sprawling all-marble Panathinaiko Stadium. They also were detained by the police.

On April 5, about 100 people gathered in American Roger Williams Park to raise banners and awareness about what they said are ongoing human-rights abuses by the Chinese government.

Before the torch reaching San Francisco, advocates for Falun Gong and other groups plan to protest the April 9 arrival of the torch in San Francisco. They are promising to line the streets along the six-mile relay route with banners and placards opposing what they charge are China’s repressive policies. They are planning media stunts such as blocking traffic and climbing landmark buildings to unfurl banners at the top. Groups are even considering color-coding clothing to make sure each message stands out, with Falun Gong supporters in yellow or orange, Darfur supporters in green, pro-Myanmar groups in maroon, and Tibetan activists in white.

How do people think of Falun Gong and its conspirators?

The Olympic torch relay in San Francisco will start from AT&T Park.

Chinese officials have dismissed the demonstrations as the actions of a few who are trying to hijack a historical event for their own purposes. While officials at the Chinese consulate in San Francisco are downplaying the protests for most of the Chinese community is proud Beijing is hosting the games.

“The Olympics are a major event for people worldwide and an important platform for peoples to enhance friendship, exchanges and cooperation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu said at a press conference. “Disrupting and undermining the torch relay which belongs to the people worldwide is a flagrant provocation of the Olympic spirit and charter and a brazen challenge to the people around the world.”

“The torch coming to this city is an honor and makes the Chinese population here very proud,” said Defa Tong, spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco. “The situation in China is at its best now. Those people who are protesting don’t represent the majority.”

San Francisco, which is one-third Asian, is bound to China by centuries of commerce and immigration. Many Chinese-American residents say they are looking forward to celebrating the cultural and economic connections between their city and the giant across the Pacific.

“We’re very proud to welcome the Olympic torch,” said Rose Pak, a Chinatown community organizer and consultant for the Chinatown Chamber of Commerce has publically questioned whether countries castigating China’s human rights records have the moral authority to do so. “The Chinese government has made enormous progress. All the Western countries protesting human rights, on what moral ground are they shaking their finger at China?”

Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom, who in the past has met with Chinese officials and the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan Buddhist spiritual leader, said he had anticipated some opposition to the torch’s stop in the city. But he has called the opportunity to host the relay an extraordinary honor and has insisted the flame is about sports, not politics. “People have the right to protest, but they don’t have the right to deny the torch to come here,” “They are losing sight of what the Olympics are all about.” “This is par for the course in San Francisco. You could have written this script beforehand.”

As a comment from thaindian.com, world community ask is that the protesters make their point in a civil, nonviolent manner. But regrettably, the demonstrations in Paris took an ugly, chaotic turn, forcing the torch run to be cut short in Paris.

Background

The destination

The 2008 Olympic flame was ignited on March 24 in Ancient Olympia of Greece and was handed over to Beijing on March 31 after a six-day relay in Greece. The 130-day torch relay will cover 137,000 km before the flame returns to Beijing and enters the National Stadium on August 8 for the Olympics’ opening ceremony. A total of 21,880 torch bearers will be participating in the unprecedented relay, which is held under the theme of Journey of Harmony.

San Francisco is the sole U.S. relay city as well as the sixth leg of torch’s around-the-world tour. About 80 torch bearers from across North America will carry the Beijing Olympic torch through San Francisco streets in a 6-mile route along the city’s bay waterfront on April 9.

With iconic landmarks like the the Golden Gate Bridge, the Fishermen’s Wharf, the Transamerican Building and the famous Victorian houses, San Francisco is an ideal backdrop as the world looks on to the extraordinary event.

39 percent of San Francisco’s residents were born in another country with 28 percent of these foreign born residents coming from China and the Chinese community in San Francisco became the largest and most vibrant in America.

(Facts.org.cn, April 9, 2008)

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