China Loses Control of the Games

Here is an extensive report on Der Spiegel’s English website:

Part 1: China Loses Control of the Games
Part 2: ‘Journey of Harmony’
Part 3: The Boycott Taboo
Part 4: And the Screen Went Dark

Simon Elegant also writes in Time Magazine: Will the Olympic Torch Burn China?

China is dealing with visible and invisible opposition in the months before the Beijing Olympics begin. The visible was front-and-center in the world media as the OIympic torch made its way through various countries on a circuitous route to the Games. Everywhere Chinese security is on guard against activists prepared to disrupt the flame’s progress to protest China’s human rights record in Tibet and in the enormous province of Xinjiang. In London, a protester tried to grab the flame away from its official bearer; at one point, the torch had to make its way through the city within the protective confines of a bus. Earlier, when the flame traveled through Istanbul, Turkish police arrested a man who made a move toward the torchbearer. And in Paris on Monday, officials actually took the step of extinguishing the torch amid protests.

But it is the invisible opposition, what Beijing prevents the rest of the world from seeing, that elicits the most concern. Recent reports indicate that sporadic violence in Tibet continues despite a massive Chinese military crackdown that has now lasted almost three weeks. According to Tibetan exiles and activist groups, Chinese police on April 3 fired on monks from the Tongkor monastery in Ganzi, Sichuan Province, killing an unknown number. China’s official Xinhua News Agency confirmed that disturbances had taken place but did not report any deaths. Meanwhile, in what is certainly a deeply worrying development for Beijing, the unrest has spread to other ethnic minority areas, the Chinese authorities confirmed, this time in the far western Muslim-dominated province of Xinjiang. As usual, accounts of what happened by overseas activists and the Chinese authorities were poles apart. But there is no doubt that significant unrest over Chinese rule has occurred in Xinjiang, involving hundreds and possibly thousands of protesters. There have also been roundups by security forces in which scores have been detained.


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