Here’s more fodder to get people worked up on Tibet and the Summer Olympic Games, as if emotions weren’t high enough already.
A Chinese student was bloodied during confrontations between pro-Chinese and pro-Tibet protesters in Nagano. I don’t know the circumstances. You can see him in this photo. If you sympathize with the Chinese side, it is enough to make one’s blood pressure rise.
The Kyodo news story about the torch relay said a huge police presence along the route “dissipated any festive mood in Nagano.”
That probably sums up the whole global torch relay.
Then the torch hit Seoul, and clashes between the many sides were more open, according to this New York Times story. Only Tibet wasn’t the only issue. In Seoul, it was also the question of how China treats North Korean refugees that flee across the border.
“When lone protesters demanded that China stop repatriating North Korean refugees, they were quickly surrounded by jeering Chinese. Near the park, Chinese students surrounded and beat a small group of protesters, news reports said.”
“In another scuffle, at the city center where the five-hour torch run ended, Chinese surrounded several Tibetans and South Korean supporters who unfurled pro-Tibet banners, and kicked and punched them, witnesses said.”
I’m still sort of haunted by a passage in a story from Australia’s Daily Telegraph following the torch relay in Canberra last Thursday. The perpetrator is a Chinese nationalist. But it could’ve been the other way around, too. What I find abhorrent is the use of a child as a way to bait another person who differs in viewpoint.
But the fierce display of nationalistic pride by a pro-Chinese crowd of up to 10,000 caught everyone by surprise.
Ask Karuna Bajracharya, a 26-year-old Nepalese pro-Tibet supporter who now lives on the South Coast.
He says he was walking toward Parliament House when, ``I saw a mob of Chinese men. They started yelling and hitting me with their flags.
“There was a father with his son who was about five or six years old and the kid was hitting me. His father actually said to him, `Keep hitting him.'
“Then he said to me, ‘If you don't like it, hit him in the head.' He wanted me to hit his son, so he could retaliate and the whole thing could get out of hand.”
What have we come to?