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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Trouble Abroad II: Journalists, Tibet & The Olympics

April 5, 2008, NY
Friday Apr 04, 2008

The International Olympic Committee has decided on a press strategy to
deal with Western publications' tricky questions about unrest in Tibet
and the 2008 games — a "see no evil, hear no evil" approach to the
Chinese government's heavy-handed reactions.

Reporters sans Frontieres obtained an internal PR memo from the IOC on
how to deal with press questions regarding Tibetan unrest and questions
regarding Darfur and Xinjiang province:

            "The memo, written by the IOC's public relations department, rules
out any direct IOC involvement in resolving the Tibet crisis, even if it
recommends that members express their concern. "China's involvement in
Tibet strictly concerns its social and political policy," the memo says.
"It is not related to the country's hosting of the Games, nor to its
relationship with the IOC." The memo provides IOC members with a list of
supposed human rights improvements in China. The announced resumption of
dialogue between China and the United States, the signing of a UN
covenant on human rights (that was never ratified) and China's election
to the UN Human Rights Council are some of the examples cited."

Meanwhile, reporters in China are facing increasingly tricky situations.
Lindsey Hilsum, a UK journalist reporting in China for Channel 4, told
the Press Gazette about a government-sponsored tour of Lhasa that went
wrong. Well, wrong for the Chinese government and the Chinese masses who
watch state-run media — but right for the reporters:

            "As the journalists were ushered into the Jokhang temple, in
central Lhasa, 30 young monks burst in weeping and shouting that they
had been falsely accused of violence, and imprisoned in the Jokhang.
They said they loved the Dalai Lama, and that the people praying at the
temple were Communist cadres placed there for show, not real Buddhist
worshippers. It was all on camera. In China, CNN and BBC World run with
a few seconds delay so the government can black out anything awkward,
but it is somewhat embarrassing to censor your own official press tour.
Those with satellite TV therefore saw what happened, but most Chinese
get only state TV. On the news that night they saw a monk from the
Jokhang management greeting the reporters, and no mention of the
protest. The report went on to explain that the western media are
"especially biased and prejudiced when it comes to reports on Tibet

Meanwhile, an English-language Chinese site criticizing Western media
coverage of the Tibetan crisis has popped up using URLs like
"," "" and ""

The next few months are going to be interesting ones for Western
reporters in China.
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