Saturday, March 29, 2008

T is for Tienanmen, O is for Olympics & C is for China...and Censorship

In the wake of recent social unrest among Tibetans and the rise in feat of protests China, the host nation of the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, has recently informed broadcast officials that live television shots from Tienanmen square will be banned during the Beijing Olympics. Tienanmen Square is often regarded as the "face of China" and is primarily known as being the site of a famous pro-democracy protest in which Chinese troops were called in and launched a deadly assault on the demonstrators.

China's recent decision will not only disrupt the plans of NBC and other major international networks who have paid hundreds of millions of dollars to broadcast the Games but could also potentially alienate the estimated half-million foreigners that will be attending. It has also been stated that these " heavy-handed measures" could potentially undermine Beijing's pledge to the International Olympic Committee that the Games would promote greater openness in the formerly isolated country.

Many activist groups have stated that they planned to use the Olympics to promote their causes for months, however China is be hell-bent on preventing this from occurring. Foreign activist groups are also looking to use the Olympics as a stage on wish to get their voices heard. In fact, one specific group of foreign activists who are angry about China’s support for Sudan in the civil war in Darfur have recently stated that they would be demonstrating in Beijing during the Games.

Live broadcasts from Tienanmen Square were intended to showcase a friendly and confident China, a China that had put the deadly 1989 military assault in the past however with this measure, the events of late have clearly shown that China is anything but friendly, and far from confident.

As for the political future of China, I'm going to take Frankly My Dear's advice and not get too excited about Chinese politics becoming transparent or fair anytime soon.

I'll save my excitement for Women's Gymnastics.

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