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Beijing 2008 Olympic Games: The politicking started right from the beginning

July 6, 2008

Tsering Passang
submitted by the author
July 4, 2008

Alice Jones' news article "Chan picks fight with Olympic protesters"
(3 July 2008), published on The Independent (UK), drew my immediate attention.

As a fan of Jackie Chan, I welcome his latest role as a spokesman for
the Beijing Olympics in August. As an actor and martial artist, Chan
offers a lot in the related fields but as a spokesman for the Beijing
Olympic Games, I think he is either too naive or lacks a real
understanding of global politics surrounding the most prestigious
international sporting events - The Olympic Games.

"Winning the host rights means winning the respect, trust, and favor
of the international community," Wang Wei, a senior official in
Beijing declared at the time in 2001.

Chan must have forgotten that the Chinese Government Officials
sanctioned millions of dollars and engaged heavily in lobbying behind
the doors as well as face-to-face, bidding for the 2008 Beijing
Olympic Games, ever since the notion to host this greatest
international sporting event was conceived by the Chinese officials
during the reign of President Jiang Zemin, about a decade ago.

Jackie Chan's labelling the human rights activists as "just naughty
boys [who] wanted to be on TV" is yet another flippant and callous
ill-judged remark demeaning personal liberties of expression  really
undeserving of his position and gimmick of his celebrity status.

Surely, Chan ought to recall the promises made by the Chinese
officials to the international community that they would open up the
country and improve human rights situation amongst other issues,
following the decision to award the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games to the
most populous nation on the planet.

As China prides itself of 4,000 years of great Chinese civilization,
the six million Tibetan people are equally proud of their modest
recorded history of 2000 years and their unique Tibetan Buddhist
culture, who often regard China as their "Uncle."

Chan's passing comment on Tibet's relationship with China as an
"ancient history" and "nobody can solve this kind of problem" simply
shows his real lack of understanding and dismissive attitude to the
Tibetan people and their history.

Whilst the Chinese leaders recite their mantras of Tibet being part
of China since the 13th century, China's famous actor rewrites the
same history to "a million years of myths."

Jackie Chan reiterates the China's official lines and says, "You
cannot mix sports with Politics" and yet The Forbidden Kingdom star
gives history lesson, who apparently is a spokesman for the Beijing
Olympics! It's all very interesting! Much talked about but China was
to get the first official accusation reprimand from the International
Olympic Committee (IOC) on mixing of sports and politics.

The Chinese Government officials themselves used their political and
economic influences and played active roles in securing the 2008
Beijing Olympic Games. The politicking started right from the start.
Bit of Kung Fu politics to say the least!

As a Tibetan, I know China and the Chinese people take great pride in
hosting the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing and certainly majority of
the Tibetans support that. At the same time, Tibetan people want
their freedom, democracy and certainly an end to China's ongoing
illegal occupation of Tibet, where heavy presence of troops are
deployed to subjugate the Dalai Lama loyalists.

It is quite evident to the rest of the world the recent uprising
across Tibet, Tibetans called for "Human Rights in Tibet", "Religious
Freedom in Tibet," "Independence for Tibet" and "The Dalai Lama
should return to Tibet."

Tibetans, who continue to suffer under China's illegal occupation of
their country over the past 50 years, once again since March 10th
this year, risked everything they have including their own lives to
speak up for freedom and democracy.

The Tibetan Diaspora, Pro-Justice and Human Rights campaigners around
the world including those individual Chinese lawyers and
intellectuals within China, will carry on with their beliefs and will
not be silenced at a time when the Chinese officials continue to
completely ignore the reality on the ground in Tibet and in other
ethnic minorities areas. With their real political courage, the
Chinese leaders can resolve the problems affecting the lives of
millions of ethnic minorities across China including Tibet's issue.
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