Few days ago I spent sometime talking to Calgarian Ralph Maclean, a Hong Kong veteran who fought for Hong Kong in the Canadian army during the Second World War. In fact, Ralph was captured by the Japanese army and became POW for 3 years and 7 months. His love of Hong Kong has continued to this day and he actually visited HK in recent years and was part of a HK-made documentary about that war and these HK vets.
The reason of my chat with Ralph was that he was really upset and disappointed of what he saw how the Chinese government has mistreated the Tibetans and jailed other innocent Human Rights activists in China. He read this article “Olympics? I will not run, jump or dive in China” and wanted to hear our thoughts on it. So I called Ralph to share with him my thoughts.
I told Ralph that, in my humble opinion, having the Olympics in Beijing and the torch relay around the world can actually bring some unintended but needed attentions to Chinese Human Rights problems, the Tibet stalemate, and even Chinese investment in Sudan (which indirectly prolong the genocide in Darfur). The protests in London, Paris, and today in San Francisco created an unprecedented international platform to focus on, I repeat, Chinese Human Rights problems, the Tibet stalemate, and even Chinese investment in Sudan.
Membership to World Trade Organization, host country of the Olympics, de facto “Factory of the World”, etc are achievements that the Chinese should be proud of. At the same time, it is about time the Chinese government also starts to respect human rights, helping to halt the genocide in Darfur, etc.
Here is an excerpt from Telegraph.
Sebastian Coe, the chairman of the London Olympic Committee, has described the Chinese officials guarding the Olympic torch as “thugs”, piling more embarrassment onto the Games’ organisers. […]
Lord Coe made the comments as a member of Channel 4 News staff was attempting to contact him over the telephone and they were accidentally connected via the switchboard to a private conversation.
“They tried to push me out of the way three times. They are horrible. They did not speak English … I think they were thugs,” he said.
In a statement, Channel 4 News said: “By chance Channel 4 News had attempted to contact Lord Coe’s press office via their switchboard and was accidentally connected to the conversation he was having with a colleague, a 2012 press officer Jackie Brock Doyle.”
April 10, 2008 Update: From CBC (with video), “Dalai Lama supports China Olympics, but also right to protest” (with video)
April 13, 2008 Update: From CBC (with video), “Tibetans ‘not anti-Chinese,’ says Dalai Lama“
Here is a link to a full interview (43 minutes) of Dalai Lama with Ann Curry on NBC.