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<-Back to WTN Archives Protest held at Florida Splendid China
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World Tibet Network News

Sunday, January 14, 1996



1. Protest held at Florida Splendid China


by Jack Churchward

Slowdown on Splendid China Boulevard

The protest had been set for high noon at the main gate of Florida
Splendid China in Kissimmee, Florida, just a few miles from the main
entrance to Walt Disney World. People were coming from as far away as
Maryland, Georgia and from the east and west coasts of Florida to attend
the demonstration to commemorate the second anniversary of the opening of
the Chinese Communist owned and operated theme park.

Almost like clockwork, the protesters arrived just before noon and parked
in the new "Formosa Gardens" shopping center that now is on the corner of
Splendid China Blvd and US-192. This area had been a large wild-life
habitat with lakes and wetlands just two years previous. It is ironic that
the new shopping center's name contains a reference to the democratic
Republic of China, when actually it is part of a real estate development
with ties to the communist People's Republic of China.

After getting out the Tibetan National Flags, protest banners, signs and
brochures, the protesters cheerfully walked the short distance to the main
gate. Many cries of "China Out of Tibet" and "Free Tibet" were heard all
the way to the main gate. Passing motorists honked horns in solidarity
with the protesters.

Just as the protesters arrived at the main gate, a white late model car
with a Florida Splendid China decal, stopped and a young woman got out and
took pictures of all the protesters; this included close-ups of some of
the protesters who posed as requested for a group shot. Panoramic shots of
the entire protest were taken as the other protesters had spread out
across the median and down Splendid China Blvd for about a quarter mile.

The protesters identified themselves as members of Citizens Against
Backyard Communism and gave their names. The protesters encouraged her to
take pictures again on the tenth of March 1996, when they would be
returning to celebrate Tibetan Uprising Day, as has been done for the last
two years. This employee of the theme park accepted the protest literature
and said she would read it carefully, although she wouldn't respond to
questions about the protester's letters.

After the whirlwind of activity caused by their arrival, the protesters
settled into their places and maintained an air of dignity while handing
out leaflets to passing motorists or speaking with those who wished to
stop. Many persons stopped to take the leaflets and some even appeared to
be willing to distribute them inside the park.

Very soon however, the protesters were to encounter the security forces of
Florida Splendid China. At around 1230, the security forces were called
out and a comical golf-cart labeled 'EMT' took up a position across from
the main gate to monitor the protest activities. Radio traffic to this
individual was constant and he had many visitors that came out to see him
in other un-labeled golf-carts. The security forces inside the park were
much better at hiding this time and were not seen running across the tops
of the exhibits, or continually running up and down the sidewalks in
golf-carts, or leering at the protesters from behind the walls of the
theme park.

At around 1PM, an Osceola County sheriff's deputy was sent to cruise the
scene, he left without incident. The non-violent, legal approach taken by
the protesters from Citizens Against Backyard Communism has provided no
opportunity for law-enforcement officials to be upset or concerned.

Another notable point were the two videographers that passed the
protesters at least twice, taking pictures of all of the protesters. The
appearance of these fellows was quite sudden and unannounced; therefore,
the identity of these individuals is unknown.

The protest lasted for two hours in the hot December sun, all the time the
protesters maintained their awareness of the gravity of the situation;
people in occupied areas such as Tibet, Eastern Turkestan, or Inner
Mongolia would be interrogated, beaten, tortured or sentenced to long
prison terms for the same activities. Given the deprivation of rights and
freedoms that the people under Chinese Communist domination have suffered,
it seemed a small sacrifice for these protesters.

>From the protester's side, the protest was a success. Demonstration
attendance had soared 600 % from the year before and hundreds of leaflets
were distributed, many inside the park itself.

>From the other side, it appears that the demonstrations are taking their
toll. The once busy traffic down Splendid China Blvd and into the park was
dramatically reduced according to estimates compiled by Citizens Against
Backyard Communism. Fewer vehicles went into the park, and some people
that live near the park(a vast majority of the traffic), stopped to chat,
asked for more information and wanted to know how to help Citizens Against
Backyard Communism.

A British couple, who stopped and talked was quite interested in the
demonstration, they said they would definitely write a letter to Mr. Ma of
Splendid China and demand the immediate removal of the Potala Palace
exhibit.

As one protester quipped, "The decline in business is evident as compared
to other years, the deep pockets of the Chinese Communist Party are what
is keeping them open."

Citizens Against Backyard Communism stated that they regretted any
financial loss incurred by the theme park because of their protest, but
quickly added that the complete refusal by the park to answer their
correspondence or meet with them was one reason for the protests.

The demonstration ended with flour offerings and cries of Lha Gyal Lo !
(Victory to the Gods!) A traditional Tibetan religious ceremony.

***

Citizens Against Backyard Communism is a group of interested individuals
devoted to the non-violent and legal removal of religious and minority
exhibits from the Communist Chinese government owned and controlled theme
park known as Florida Splendid China in Kissimmee, Fla.

For more information contact:

Jack Churchward (813)441-3982
Bill Mitchell (305)430-9856
Barry Smith afn30957@freenet.ufl.edu> (813)790-6003
or visit our web page at: http://www.freenet.ufl.edu/~afn23072/CABC/CABC


Articles in this Issue:
  1. Protest held at Florida Splendid China
  2. China orders places of worship to register
  3. Bhutan-Refugees
  4. Xinjiang-Migration



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