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China rebuked by Olympic Committee

June 27, 2008

From CNN – China denied injecting politics into the Beijing Olympics on Thursday, despite a rare rebuke from the International Olympic Committee over remarks by a Chinese official about Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
Chinese troops were out in force when the Olympic torch reached Tibet at the weekend.

Chinese troops were out in force when the Olympic torch reached Tibet at the weekend.

The IOC said it sent a letter to Beijing organizers this week, expressing regret over a speech Saturday by Tibet’s Communist Party boss Zhang Qinglin at a ceremony marking the Olympic torch’s passage through Lhasa.

“The IOC regrets that political statements were made during the closing ceremony of the Torch Relay in Tibet,” the two-sentence IOC statement said.

“We have written to BOCOG to remind them of the need to separate sport and politics and to ask for their support in making sure that such situations do not arise again,” it said.

BOCOG refers to the Beijing organizing committee; a spokesman for the group said he had no immediate information or comment on the letter.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao also said he had no knowledge of the IOC letter but insisted that Zhang’s remarks had been intended only to foster a “stable and harmonious environment for the Olympics” and did not constitute politicization. Video Watch China’s efforts to clean up Beijing’s air »

“China’s solid position is against the politicizing of the Olympics,” Liu said at a regularly scheduled news conference.

The IOC’s comment was surprising given the organization’s general aversion to criticizing Olympic hosts and previous reproaches to activists seeking to use the Beijing Games to spotlight China’s human rights record, policies toward Tibet and support for Sudan’s authoritarian regime.

Chaotic scenes including confrontations between protesters and Chinese supporters surrounded the torch during its earlier international legs, focusing attention on the connection between politics and the games.

Although the domestic legs have been incident-free, Saturday’s Tibet stage was shortened from three days to one and conducted under extremely tight security, measures that followed widespread violent anti-government rioting across the region this spring.

Zhang’s remarks came at the torch relay’s closing ceremony, where it was reunited with a separate flame that had been carried to the top of Mount Everest.

Zhang praised the communist leadership’s policies on Tibet and reasserted Beijing’s hardline toward supporters of the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader, who fled into exile in India after an abortive uprising against Chinese rule in 1959.

“The sky above Tibet will never change. The red five-star flag will always fly above this land,” Zhang said, referring to the Chinese national flag that was adopted by the communist regime that occupied Tibet in 1951.

“We can definitely smash the separatist plot of the Dalai Lama clique completely,” Zhang said.

Chinese authorities villify the Dalai Lama, blaming him for recent unrest over Chinese rule in Tibet. Beijing says he is a part of a campaign to split the Himalayan region from the rest of China.

The Dalai Lama has denied these charges, saying that despite China’s harsh crackdown on the demonstrations that erupted in March, he still supports a solution of meaningful autonomy for the Tibetan people under China’s rule, not independence.

Although the Chinese government says it opposes politicizing the Olympics, the strong political and nationalistic overtones of its preparation have been hard to ignore.
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Beijing’s Communist Party chief was put in charge of the arrangements, overseen at the highest level by the nation’s vice president.

The torch relay has been accompanied throughout by enthusiastic, sometimes bordering on hysterical, shows of nationalist fervor. Flag-waving young Chinese mobbed international stages of the relay, often confronting pro-Tibet or human rights protesters, sometimes violently. The domestic stages have been surrounded by a sea of red and yellow national flags.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. woundmore permalink
    July 1, 2008 4:34 am

    Riots in Tibet and Tibet temple

    Tibetan monks have been the pioneers of the past and current riots in Tibet. One reason for this phenomenon is owing to the influence from the Tibetan separatists abroad. Some senior monks abroad like Dalai Lama impose religious effects on those monks at home. The other reason is connected with Tibet temple system.

    It will be much clearer by comparing Tibetan temples with American churches.

    Few religious staff in US church and the routine work of the church is mostly undertaken by social volunteers.

    Most priests are invited from other churches.

    The fortune management, gardening, cleaning, and daily repairing are mainly in charge of professional workers. These volunteers and workers have little common standing on interest.

    While in Tibetan temple, thousands of monks are fed by temple. Monks have done nothing but take on religious affairs thus the temple gets bond with monks tightly. Monks are prone to be used by religion leaders and result in riots.

    According to American laws, preaching is a profession and children are forbidden to be recruited into churches as priests. Churches can set up schools, but they are all under the control of local educational institutions. Contents and requirements of courses are similar to other schools. Only quite a few church school graduates are involved in religious affairs. In the monasteries and temples, however, it’s common to admit children around ten years old as Lama. They are educated, trained and brought up by those temples and through over ten years’ “religious brainwashing”, some of the Lamas will develop some deep-rooted thoughts that differs from social norms. And even some temples may become the cradle for the new generation of “separatists”.

    Police offices are in charge of the security in American churches. Requests of assemblies or gatherings of more than thirty people need to be filed to police for approval and police officers will be responsible for the security according to rules. But in temples in Tibet, disciplinarians, also lamas, are in charge of the security. They are supported and trained by the temples and obedient to the abbots or leaders of the temples. In fact, they are an unofficial armed force of those temples.

    Seminaries in universities and colleges conduct theological researches in America, and clergymen all graduate from seminaries. But in Tibet, Lamas control the researches of theology, Tibetan medicine and calendar. Temples are both the place Buddhists worship Buddhas and research centers of Tibetan theology. As a result, Tibetan people take Lamas as sovereign authority and prestige and worship Lamas blindly. Temple abbots and Lamas also develop great influence and appeal day by day, which can be made use of and instigated by people of some political purposes.

    In the United States, the church is a kind of non-profit organizations, which should be registered with the state governments in the form of shareholding limited enterprises, but have no right in business operation, printing or publication. In China’s Tibet, however, temples, in addition to donations, admission revenues and government subsidies, could also engage in business operations, planting and breeding industries, and could even print and publish publicity materials, and are exempt from income taxes. Temples in Tibet enjoy the rights and “freedom” even the United States dares not to grant to their churches, and this, to a certain extent, promoted a small group of temple personnel to regard them as “privileged” groups.

    We could cite more similar cases.

    Therefore, temples of Tibetan Buddhism must be reformed. In this way, temples could become a positive factor to ensure social stability, instead of becoming a factor instigating social unrest and riots.

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