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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Beijing Olympics: a resounding success for everything but democracy

Thank you, Jay, for being one of a few Olympic journalists to actually scrutinize the Games in the context of the real world.  This short story notes that the Games were a huge success for host country China, but a real failure in pressuring the Chinese to open their political system and allow basic political freedoms.
Around the sports, there were promises broken. The major Catch-22 was the so-called protest zones. Those alone are not unusual. At the U.S. political conventions in Denver and St. Paul, similar zones for demonstrations have been set aside. They were established in Athens and Sydney, too, for previous Games.

But here, it's been reported in the Western media, if a Chinese citizen applied for a protest permit, they instead were arrested. (emphasis mine)

...As for Darfur and Tibet, they were distant shouts amid the festive din. The only news was that visas were denied to Darfur advocates. It's too bad there was such a news blackout.
Hard to believe that before the Games began, there were a number of highly respected journalists and democracy advocates calling these the Genocide Olympics.  All I heard about was Michael Phelps.

P.S. Though he was awesome.

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