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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?"

Don't mention the Five Forbidden Topics! I did once, but I think I got away with it...

August 20, 2008

Over the weekend the Beijing Olympic officials and the IOC called off
their Saturday and Sunday press conferences.
David Polkinghorne
The Courier (Australia)
August 19, 2008

The official line was that there was no news, oh and they didn't want
to clash with Michael Phelps winning medals.

Does this mean China is now kowtowing to the US? Surely not.

It seems the IOC doesn't consider stripping Sweden wrestler Ara
Abrahamian of his bronze medal for spitting the dummy as newsworthy.

The media believes the real reason is due to questioning on topics
such as Tibet and Falun Gong at previous press conferences.

China doesn't like to talk about these subjects.

Sport is meant to be independent of politics after all, but that
ideal is just a fool's paradise.

The 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott and South Africa's ban from world
sport due to apartheid are just two examples of politics and sport
being intertwined.

Anyway, Tibet and Falun Gong are two of China's own Five Forbidden
Topics, while the Uighurs, Taiwan and dissidents round out the list.

These topics are obviously complex, but briefly:

1. Tibet: The Dalai Lama currently lives in exile in Dharamsala,
India, and wants China to grant Tibet autonomy. China has ruled Tibet
since 1950 and says the Dalai Lama is a terrorist. There were
much-publicised protests for Tibetan independence during the torch relay.

2. Falun Gong: A "religion" which began in 1992 and was banned by
China in 1999. Falun Gong practitioners believe it is a science and
through meditation try to practise truthfulness, compassion and
forbearance. There are claims China tortures practitioners and
harvests their organs.

3. Uighur's: Turkic muslims living in Xinjiang province, China.
Recently there have been bombings in Xinjiang, which have been linked
to Uighur independence movements. Xinjiang has vast resources of
water and petroleum, which China obviously wants to keep.

4. Taiwan: Also called the Republic of China, not to be confused with
communist People's Republic of China. The Taiwan Government believes
mainland China and islands, including Taiwan, form the Republic of
China, but since the Chinese Civil War in 1949 it has been forced on
to the islands off mainland China.

5. Dissidents: Blacklisted Chinese exiles who, for one reason or
another, have annoyed the Chinese Government.

I wonder if there will be any news today...
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