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More troubles along the torch relay

Here’s more fodder to get people worked up on Tibet and the Summer Olympic Games, as if emotions weren’t high enough already.

12861 The Olympic torch relay made its troubled journey through Nagano, Japan, and Seoul, South Korea, over the weekend and cruises trouble-free through Pyongyang today.

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?


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It is much much much easier to cross from North Korea to China than it is to get across the DMZ, which is heavily fortified, mined, and guarded. North Korean soldiers shoot to kill anyone who tries to cross. There are sections of the YaLu river, however, where people can get across much more easily. Also, US troops are no longer the front line on the south side of the DMZ; it is manned by South Korean soldiers. Mexican economic refugees do not get life in labour camps or death as a matter of course if they are returned to Mexico.


Being a Chinese American who have lived in the West (Europe and US), I decided that I should not stayed silently, and chipped in my opinions.

The extremely one-sided and biased reporting of Western media have continued to spread and propagate at best what I can say, “half-truths” (if not many lies) of the deeds of Chinese and Chinese government in Tibet. For example, I happened to be traveling in the Bay Area right on the day of the SF torch relay, but I didn't go to the San Francisco demonstrations there myself. My friends did, and told me their experiences there. However, the next day I read in the San Francisco chronicle, where there was a column by the columnist C.W. Nevius — he basically claimed that the Chinese demonstrators were all bused by the Chinese government, while Tibetan protesters were soccer moms and the like, and portrayed the whole Chinese crowd as bullying.

Have you noticed the change in the Western media reporting lately (including Tim's -- before I thought his reporting was fairer than most)? Before it only reported pro-Tibetan demonstrators in London and Paris — at the point I didn’t even know that in those two events there were in fact more pro-China Chinese demonstrators. Later on, when more and more overseas Chinese were outraged, decided not to stay silent any more, and showed up in San Francisco and other places and used the more “aggressive” tactics (in general, not more aggressive that some Paris and other pro-Tibetan protesters) and completely overshadowed — they couldn’t avoid but show the sea of Chinese flags, they changed their tune and decided to portray the Chinese demonstrators as being aggressive and nationalistic, spurred on or brainwashed by the Chinese government, or not appreciating the “free of speech” or “democracy” in the West. As an example, just read the recent New York Time article “Chinese Students in U.S. Fight View of Their Home” by Shaila Dewan. In the same breath, she wrote on the one hand, “At the U.S.C. lecture, the Chinese students arrived early to distribute handouts on Tibet and China that contained a jumble of abbreviated history, slogans and maps with little context. A chart showing that infant mortality in Tibet had plummeted since 1951, when the Communist Chinese government asserted control, did not provide any means for comparison with mortality rates in China or other countries”, and on the other hand she claimed “Another factor fueling the zeal of many Chinese demonstrators could be that they, too, intend to return home; the Chinese government is widely believed to be monitoring large e-mail lists.” Given that I am a computer scientist, I found the last statement is totally ridiculous! However powerful the Chinese government might be in China, it would have a hard time monitoring “large email lists” in US, such as US universities. When it comes to matters related to China and Chinese government, the writer feels no qualms (not to mention journalistic ethics) spreading or making up lies, but when the Chinese are making claims, she demands “comparisons” or “proofs”. The whole article is trying to insinuating that the Chinese students do not understand or appreciate “freedom of speech” in US (e.g., trying to heckler the Buddhist monk despite the fact he may well be spreading lies or at best half-truths”, and are brainwashed, focusing in particular on one particular incident — throwing a water bottle to the podium.

In another passage of the article, she wrote “Students argue that China has spent billions on Tibet, building schools, roads and other infrastructure. Asked if the Tibetans wanted such development, they looked blankly incredulous. ‘They don’t ask that question,’ said Lionel Jensen, a China scholar at Notre Dame. ‘They’ve accepted the basic premise of aggressive modernization.’”

This really makes me crack up. I can’t help but wonder whether she recognizes the irony, if not the bias in her writing. Did she ever thought about asking herself, does US ask when it wants to impose the so-called “human rights” or “democracy” on China, or other countries such as Iraq? Does she ask whether we Chinese want to their version of the so-called “human rights” or “democracy”? Or does she simply just assume that these are “universal” rights, and that everyone of course wants them? I wonder if I pose this question to her, will she simple look “blankly incredulous”? Does she ever imagine that in fact some Chinese actually like and support the supposedly totalitarian communist Chinese government, who according to the West is a gross “human rights violators”?

These are just a few of the many examples! When hearing all these lies, how would an “ordinary” American not feel outraged against the Chinese government, or now the Chinese students in US? I am pretty certain that some “self-righteous” Americans even call their Congressman/woman demanding repatriating these Chinese.

In my mind (perhaps too cynical), there are larger forces at work here, not simply the "ordinary" Western people's sympathy for "oppressed" Tibetans, and outrage over the Tibetan human rights.

Is it a surprise that China-bashing is now fashionable? The US labor unions and other organizations, whether left-wing or right-wing, have in many years tried to stir up anti-China sentiments, sometimes resorting to distorting facts (or used evidences in 60s/70s, like the pro-Tibet camp), from child labor/prison labor, sweatshops, now to goods/drug safety, environments, Darfur, exploiting Africa, supporting so-called “dictatorships” or “gross human right violator” countries — of course, only those that US/West do not like– in the world, while at the same trying to squeeze China for its hunt for oil and resources. As to Saudi Arabia, according to Tom Friedman of New York Times, and Fareed Zakaria of Newsweek, one of the most repressive feudal monarchy in the Middle East and where most of 9/11 terrorists come from, but which happens to be a key ally of US in the Middle and from which US happens to import a lot of oil, where do you see the outcry and protests from the ordinary American people? In fact, you rarely hear much about any of these “human right violations” inside Saudi Arabia. Besides China, all you hear are Iran and North Korea.

And of course, anything you hear about Iraq is from the US perspective. John McCain claims that US may have to “stay” (i.e. occupy) Iraq for another 100 years, and he is the Republican president candidate. Where do you see the protesters who demand US pulled out of Iraq?

Despite my rants above, don’t take me wrong. I am _not_ supporting all the policies of China government. In fact, I think some policies (or their practice) are deplorable, in particular, those in the past. I also fully support to give Tibetans in Tibet more “autonomy” and “say” in their internal affairs, and we should all (not only Tibetans) try to learn, preserve and even promote Tibetan language, culture and traditions.

But for geopolitical reasons, I do not think Tibet should be independent. If for US’s geopolitical interests, US would be willing to stay in Iraq for another 100 years, so should China in Tibet — not to mention that the China proper and Tibet have had more than 1000 years of interactions and ties, and Tibet was/is part of China for at least last 300 years (except for a short period of time–from 1913-1950– it was at best “de facto” independent)!

P.S. Incidentally, I have been reading this Chinese-language-based portal/blogsite for Tibetan people inside China, which show me the true voices (and more diverse opinions) of Tibetans who now live inside China, at least in my mind “truer” than those of Tibetans in Exile or the “Free Tibet” crowd in the Wes, or whatever I read in the Western media about Tibet.

The following is a link to the blog and the responses discussing a talk show by a Taiwanese commentator on Tibet. In fact they are debating what would have been considered a very “sensitive” topic in China 20 years ago (and at that time I would have believed that such topic would have been banned!). If you can read Chinese, then enjoy. Otherwise, sorry for you for not being able to get another source of information.

P.P.S. Regarding the North Koreans protesting Chinese treatment of North Korean "refugees" who China considers as economic immigrants (like Mexican immigrants here in US), not political refugees, if South Koreans are so outraged, why don't they open their border and welcome them? Or I am sorry, because the US troops stand in the way at 48 parallel?



Did I mention "hunting down"? I don't recall.

What SOME Chinese demonstrators did in Seoul was indeed ugly, shameful and downright despicable, there is no denying of it. And I agree what was done to Grace Wang was deplorable. However, this does prove what I was saying, the pro-China guys are either ignored or portrayed as thugs. Before the Seoul leg of the torch relay, did anybody even mention the pro-China demonstrators? The pictures I saw on western media focused on the pro-TGIE protesters, so did the stories they ran. All of sudden when SOME Chinese nutjobs turned nasty, it is somehow implied as the face of the pro-China protesters?


"Her attackers are largely anonymous."

Um, Tim, the truth is, Grace Wang's attackers can be easily tracked down in the internet age by law enforcement agencies WITH the capabilities of the United States or the EU.

This is routinely done for al-Quaeda and other groups.

It is also NOT beyond the capabilities of Beijing if the threats came from within China.

The question is whether the competent authorities involved will dedicate the time, effort, and energy to do so.

It would have made a rather nice statement if ONE person were charged, to make an example of them.

Ditto for those who sent threats to you.

There should be zero tolerance for such cloaks of "anonymity" to instigate, threaten, or do acts of violence.


Note to those who question the veracity of the incident with the father and the son:

Communication goes beyond language. Body language could have played a big part. And in the middle of getting assaulted, it probably plays THE ONLY PART.


Among other questions raised were whether all the Chinese were legal residents or not; how ``foreigners'' could attack citizens of their host country; and why they held a demonstration here, not in Beijing, a Seoul citizen said.

Why does it even matter that Chinese is legal or not if they protested repatriation of North Koreans? Why didn't South Koreans take their brothers and sisters of North Korea? It seems that all the problems on earth are created by China. If you are Chinese, it hard not to feel frustrated a little bit.

Don't get me wrong and all the violences are wrong. If any Koreans happen to drop by, Chinese, at least me, condamn the violences. I can assure you that those youths did not target Koreans per se.


"It's a shame. Those Chinese have completely forgotten the Olympic spirit of peace,''

How hypcritical at this point to blame Chinese about "Olympic spirit of peace"?

Did they criticize the torch snatchers this much? Did any media bother to report assaults of our Chinese torchbearer in wheelchair? It is easy to lecture Chinese about human rights and good behaviors.


"And I think it illustrates a larger point of how far China’s public rhetoric distances from the reality of public mood."

Very true, but what makes you think that Chinese should bow to all the insults, unless you think we are not equal to others?


Blah, blah,...
"Let's keep the dialogue civil. Let's pretend you wouldn't post anything on this blog that you wouldn't post on the university or corporate website with your name attached."
Blah, blah,...

A veiled threat to me.

This Tim is learning fast from CCP.


My Good Lord, my 13 year old niece is IM-ing me and asked for some English words to promote a video on Youtube about Tibet. Isn't Youtube banned in China? Things are really getting out of control. 13 year old girl? What am I doing at 13 years old?


The "hunting down" thing was mentioned by me, not by Peffere. If you are going to post pictures in Seoul, I would suggest that you do something more. Some TV commentators mentioned that London is the second leg of the relay and Paris is the third, do you agree?

It's better to present pictures from each leg of the relay together with your own comments on how the sentiment of different teams has changed as the event palyed out.

Students are students. I do not know if there were some comments on the the chinese students' image problem during the 1989 protest, especially in the last part of the event.

As for Grace Wang, here is a moderate chinese view. It is unfortunate that she was personally attacked. It is perfectly her right to take her stand and there is nothing wrong for her to even join the pro-tibet protest.

From my viewpoint, her mistake is that she herself was confused by her stand and her identity and tried to play a mediator at the wrong moment.



I sympathize with Grace Wang too, although I strongly disagree with her action. I can say almost all young Chinese students have never paid attentions to the "Tibet movement" before Olympic Torch Relay protests. You know the "Great Firewall". Their attentions are mostly focused on Taiwan issues. If you can visit and read those popular blog sites and QQ discussion rooms, you will get some ideas how strongly they feel about this issue. Tibet is not on their radar. Grace Wang could very well be one of them. She didn't understand Tibet issue. She took action to write "Free Tibet" on the back of one protester. At minimum it is considered "political mistake" by those young Chinese students. Even worse the video clip is made public. It looked like she didn't know what she is doing. If you can imagine how those Chinese high schoolers launched a countrywide manhunt for a hit and run local bast*rd official and made public his photo, name, home phone#, etc. I believe Grace wouldn't have done that if she understand the issue. Thank God later on she made herself clear she is against Tibet Independent. Otherwise her parent will have no where to hide. Imagine those 16s year old grown up drinking milk. Hormones. The wide wild web gives them a perfect plate form to express their fervors. I feel sorry for her. But I can't blame those kids. Now Daliar is on their radar. It is interesting to speculate what is going to happen if Congress offers him another medal.



". . . I decided against trying to see the relay because the crowds of flag waving Chinese nationalists created an unpleasant and unwelcoming atmosphere. "

If the "crowds of flag" were not there, you would probably have seen a rugby game played by torch-bearer team and the so-called pro-tibet team. Which one looks more unpleasant? Well, it depends where you stand, right?


Tim, I notice that your reference to the Tibet incident is rather vague, and this vagueness slightly distinguishes you from others. Still, I wander what exactly is "the recent event in Tibet" that the western politicians, journalists and human rights activists are talking about. Could you try to give us a short description with verifiable facts in one or two sentences? Could you please use this question to test some of your colleagues? It will be an interesting test, try it.

That's said, I would like to come back to the point I want to make here. The violence that Chinese "mob" shew in recent demonstrations is not comparable to the violence the Tibetan rioters displayed insides China, and is also generally milder than the overseas Tibetan protesters. However, using double standards, one will see in the Tibetan violence "the Communist oppression", and in the Chinese demonstrations, "goons and thugs", or at least "pretty horrendous behavior".

You never see foreign students in China behave like this. Yes, of course, why should they? China never provokes conflicts in their home countries. As for uncivilized behaviors of other foreign groups in China, wow, believe me, Chinese have seen enough in the past, and we are afraid of seeing them again in the future.

Tim J

Pffefer, no one is doing any "hunting down," as you put it, but I think it's worthwhile noting that China and overseas Chinese are facing an increasing image problem as a result of behavior during this torch relay. To wit: http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/04/117_23257.html

I've seen some AP photos which maybe I will post later that show some pretty horrendous behavior by Chinese students in Seoul. Can you imagine foreign students behaving this way in China? I thought the whole idea about the 3/14 events in Lhasa were how "uncivilized" they were. I think it would be good for people to take a deep breath and avoid any "mob behavior." Mob behavior is a lot easier when people cloak themselves in anonymity, which is a great way to grow emboldened but really is lacking in courage.

That's why many people of my nationality sympathize with someone like Grace Wang at Duke. She took a stand. Her attackers are largely anonymous. Why is that?

Mike Lascelles

AB, when your actions are indefensible, the last resort is to accuse your critics of
My obervations are the same as those of the Koreans who were disgusted by the violent antics of the Chinese mobs against peaceful protestors in Seoul this week.
Are they racist as well?


For those who are interested in one of real issues Tibetans are discussing. Here is a link translated.

For those who can read Chinese, here is another link. I am not surprised Tibetan young students are as vocal as other ethnic group of Chinese.



I agree that we should be civil. I also believe many of your readers here would agree that we have heard and read from different sources many stories that are as "nasty" and "unprofessional" as one can imagine, inclduing the one you have cited in the second part of this post.

As the canadian(?) tourist, who happedned to be one of the few witnesses in Tibet last March, commented in his blog afterwards, people do hold a higher standard to the westerm media. But unfortunately, I did not see it as far as Tibet and the Olympics are concerned.

Regarding your suggestion that your readers identify themselves to you before you may anwser their question,
I believe most of them have provided you a valid email address. If that is still not enough to make you feel easy, will their driver's license do? Or you need much more (more than their IP address) to hunt them down -:)


The Chinese simply can't win. Those "pro-China" guys have either been largely ignored by the western media (focus was given to the pro-TGIE protesters) or have been portrayed as the nasty, flag-waving (what's wrong with that?) nationalistic thugs.

Don't just blame Tim. Tim is no better or worse than the rest of them, in general.


Right on. But who do you propose to uphold the mantle of journalistic integrity and ethics? I thank God for our free press, but there is a serious problem when media outlets jump on the China-bashing wagon en-masse, often irregardless of facts. Instead of pointing our fingers at the indignant Chinese mass and say "stop whining and live with it” or “you have no right to talk seeing how your media is nothing more than a propaganda mouthpiece for the government”, perhaps be we should give legitimate consideration to the reason behind their angry protests.

I for one deplore the conditions of human rights and information freedom in China, but the Chinese government’s wrongdoings in this regard do not lend us justification to be lackadaisical with the journalistic standards that we ought to expect from our own media. The reality is that many Chinese citizens realize the one-sided and biased nature of their media, and often look unto Western media (or at least used to do so) as a source of reasonably fair and objective information. The recent West-bashing by the Chinese was caused by disappointment/disillusionment with the Western media as much as by their anger and nationalistic fervent. We can lecture the Chinese all we want on their immaturity at dealing with foreign criticism and the incompatibility of their upbringing with the concept of free speech/press, but the divide will continue to deepen as long as we fail to understand the genuine concerns and grievances from their perspective.

Newmex, your statement would undoubtedly apply to the West as well. To fight bias in the Chinese media, we need to supply unbiased news in an open and accountable manner. Once we start to pressure our own media about their blatant inadequacies, we will become a catalyst of change instead of remaining part of the problem that perpetuates the widening divide.



I agree. If Tim is standing out against all the ugly things happened in China, majority of Chinese overseas will be on his side. If Tim is side with or even showing sympathy for those people intending to split China, It becomes very personal for almost all Chinese. Anything personal will not have rational in it. Chinese still have a lot to learn how to communicate with your people.


I think Tim is one of the finest reporters out there, though I've only been reading his stuff for a short while. I understand the frustration of people who think the "Western media" is biased against China. It's something I've heard from many people, of many political persuasions. However, until China has a relatively free press and more openness about freedom of speech, the West, like it or not, will retain a monopoly on much world opinion outside China (and outside the Middle East and perhaps Venezuela.)

The only way to fight bias in the news is with more unbiased news, open and accountable.

Tim's critics might also keep in mind that the news service Tim works for, and McKnight Ridder before it, has been credited with breaking controversial stories, and was the only major news outlet that questioned the Bush Administration's now-discredited claims about Iraq's WMD program.



The equivalent terms for African-Americans are:

< censored >

I could write it, but if it got past the automated censors, it wouldn't stay up long.

Not that I wish it to happen.... but wouldn't it be funny if race riots broke out in Newark (the most likely place), or the in the NYC burbs....

If I only worked for MOFA.... I would be pre-drafting a Diplomatic Note to the United States Government admonishing them to end the systematic system of racial discrimination and segregation, to not use force against peaceful demonstrators, and to improve human rights and respect human dignity.

That will then be followed by donations to NAACP, etc. raised from concerned Chinese citizens.

Can you imagine the optics of having Africans peacefully demonstrating outside of US Embassies, Businesses, etc. abroad for human rights?

What if the Black Marine Guards defected???


Most Chinese immigrants try to speak to their young children only in Chinese, so it's very interesting that how a crazed, overzealous Chinese nationalist would speak English to his son at a particularly heated moment.

It's time the media starts to use words like "supposed" and "alleged" to qualify testimonials offered by both sides and not just the Chinese side.

It's unbelievable how the Australian new article used the phrase "ugly face" over and over again in reference to the Chinese protesters. I imagine this wouldn't go over well with African Americans if words like these are used to describe their current effort to shut down NYC.


Postscript about the Australian Daily Mail Editorial by Linnell:


Look at the comments:

The first one states:

"I find this article some what racist."

Posted by: samtom of Canada 1:01pm today

Now, isn't it interesting that Tim didn't see that?

Tim see Chinese blind spots, and we see his.

Together we are both stronger.



"The question to me is you've never addressed any of the quesitons/critiques head-on but resort to checkiing IPs to maybe intimidate some people?"

It is the prerogative of the blog master or owner to address whatever they choose to address.

It is also their prerogative to keep track of IPs, etc. and use the information as they see fit.

I think you need to understand and sympathize with Tim's position where violent threats have poured into his office and have caused his colleagues offices to be temporarily closed (that probably mean a bomb threat).

Tim is in country with children and family, and understandably, he is nervous not only about his own, but his family's safety.

Sure, he could have done a better job, like the Carrefore mob attack story, but it is impossible to be a journalist without now and then making a few mistakes.

So can I suggest you show some tolerance for his failings, and his weaknesses, his blind spots, and above all, mutual respect for someone who is, by all accounts, doing a fine job under trying circumstances.

There is absolutely NO excuse for threats against his person to be tolerated by any civilized individual.

Sympathy, tolerance, understanding and mutual respect will win "whatever" many more friends.

Let us all help Tim do his job !


Let's take a look at the fairness and impartiality of the quotes in Tim's post above from Linnell's article:

``I saw a mob of Chinese men. They started yelling and hitting me with their flags."

The implied insinuation of this quote is that the ethnic Chinese people who are "pro China" are Chinese, not Australian nationals. Certainly not LOYAL Australian nationals.

What is remarkable is that Tim did not quote the ending paragraph of the Linnell article, where it states:

"When the band launched into a rendition of Advance Australia Fair, red flags continued to flutter. Then a strange silence descended on Commonwealth Park. No one sang along. There were very few in the crowd who seemed to know the words."

There is no doubt that it is entirely appropriate to point out the lack of respect, if that is the case, for the National Anthem and the lack of Australian flags. I would have jumped on that too.

However, silence is not necessarily a lack of respect, though a more civil and better acculturated crowd SHOULD HAVE , at the very least, respectfully stood by, and certainly it would have been welcome to have the joined the singing of the Australian National Anthem.

However, there is NO factual basis that this Australian journalist, no matter how respected, to make the claim that "very few in the crowd seem to know the words" to the Australian National Anthem.

To conclude his article with this unsupported fact and innuendo is the raw, naked face of Australian racism.

To have Lascelles join in this chorus about how "peaceful pro-Tibet supporters" being "intimidated" by "ethnic Chinese" which he later refers to as Chinese as distinct from Australians, is blatant, clear, racism of the first order: The message is, "Chinese" or "ethnic Chinese" are not Australians, regardless of whether they are Australians.

To have quoted Linnell's piece approvingly in this blog without seeing the fundamental, gross, and naked racism shows a blind spot no different than the inability to see the racism against African-Americans in Tim's home country the United States of America.

Is it a wonder that there are virtually no blacks in the expatriate American community at the US Embassy (except for the Marine Guards), in the American Foreign Correspondent Press Corps, and in many American firms (but not all) who have American expatriate staff based in China?

The greatest value of an outsider / foreign correspondent is to let people see themselves from a different perspective. Unfortunately, Americans are often no less blind in their own blind spots than the Chinese.

In view of this public expression of racism in a major Australian paper, might I say that racist Australia is the place with a real public relations problem?

Here is a hint to the Hon. Prime Minister Rudd.

If it is your intent to develop a good relation with China and to successfully assimilate and forge Australians out of your very large ethnic Chinese population, it may be beneficial for you to think very hard about how these racist attitudes might affect your plan.

Why.... it was just a few days ago that Tim was reporting on subtle and not so subtle discrimination against ethnic Tibetans in China by Congress man Peolsi, which drew a comment here about the pot calling the kettle white.

Somewhat off topic.... it is contingent on the competent authority to reasonably anticipate potential "non-peaceful" outbreaks whenever groups with diametrically opposed views are brought together in a public setting.

Wouldn't it have been nice if Australian police had taken reasonable efforts to keep the demonstrators from different camps separated, and certainly, provide a visible presence to deter any hot heads?

Unlike Lascelles, I do not believe that ANY group have a monopoly on hotheads and crazies. Indeed, it is most notable that Lascelles seem blind, deaf, and dumb to the outbreaks of violence by "pro Tibet" protesters in France and elsewhere.

We pay dearly for police protection precisely because even with the most peaceful intent, it is possible for a few hot heads to get out of control.

Remember the American that was allegedly assaulted in Wuhan?

One Chinese hothead. A Chinese crowd that chanted slogans at him, and then MANY Chinese that went out of their way to protect him and escort him away. Including the Police.

I would call that pretty good but the Chinese need to sharpen up their peaceful demonstration etiquette.

That means: If you have taken out Citizenship and swore the oath of Citizenship, you show up in the demonstration with Australian / or whatever country / flags, you stand respectfully, and if you can, join in the singing of the National Anthem, and you express your differences in peacefully and accordance with both local custom and the law.

That means that in Australia, you would have had to apply for a "protest / demonstration permit".

Did either the "pro Tibet" or "pro China" camp apply for a permit?

Tsk Tsk Tsk.



You know why Chinese both inside and outside become critical? They don't like to see anyone to split China. I will have the same feeling if anyone is trying to split Hawaii from America. I will ask my son to join the US NAvy to fight for Hawaii. It is a tradition of Chinese culture. It doesn't mean that Chinese support CCP.



It's funny that you start to lose it over some critical comments, while you think it's ok for Jack Cafferty to call the Chinese (or the Chinese government) goons and thugs, expecting all Chinese to view this as western freedom of speech?

what gives?

the question to me is you've never addressed any of the quesitons/critiques head-on but resort to checkiing IPs to maybe intimidate some people? the fact your research is very shoddy before you jump to conclusions are there for everyone who reads your blog to see. you live in China, but you've never really captured the true complexity of the country. like everybody else the picture is painted black and white. even some true believers in journalistic integrity in the west are lamenting this

yes what we have come to? the point is what has the media done?

Mike Lascelles

I was at the Canberra torch relay, or rather I was in Canberra during the relay. I decided against trying to see the relay because the crowds of flag waving Chinese nationalists created an unpleasant and unwelcoming atmosphere.
I didn't see the incident that Garry Linnell's article describes, but I saw similar ones. It made me extremely angry to see peaceful pro-Tibet supporters being intimidated and denied the chance to express their views by ethnic Chinese who blocked their signs, shouted over them and in some cases pushed them around.
Chinese won the battle and lost the public relations war. Garry Linnell is a respected journalist in Australia - his views represent those of the majority of Australians who found the mob antics of the Chinese repugnant.


"Let's keep the dialogue civil. Let's pretend you wouldn't post anything on this blog that you wouldn't post on the university or corporate website with your name attached. Better yet, why don't you identify yourselves just as I am completely identified?"

Hear, Hear.

As for identifying myself.

I offer this:

Around the first or second week of May, I will invite everyone who read / comment / write / etc. this blog to meet me IN PERSON at a public place (Hotel Bar?) in Beijing.

Notwithstanding the generalities of the foregoing, the invitation is being extended to Messrs. Johnson, his staff, colleagues, avid readers of his blog in Beijing like the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of State Security, etc., and anyone else who care to show up.

Bring your own expense account!

P.S. Tim - a personal observation - it is generally accepted by public bloggers that you get a lot of hate mail. Even blogs like www.dooce.com, which is totally harmless politically, get them. To not expect some nastiness or extremely critical comments is unrealistic. If you believe in what you are doing, those things don't get to you.

Take a look at the WSJ article about www.dooce.com and they deal with angry hate mail --- you will have a great laugh.

On many occasions in these commentaries, I have expressed concerns about the rabidness of some people, sadness and regrets that with the relaxation of controls in China have allowed things to bubble up like threats to foreign journalists in China --- which in the old days would have seen perpetrators swiftly and harshly punished.

It is pointless to ask commentators to identify themselves, though any competent person will know that IP address tracing is a child's play. So is basic techniques of IP and NIC spoofing. So the concealed identity is not intented to deceive you --- in fact --- you will note that the email address I use is valid and if you so wish, you could have contacted me at any time via that address.

I do hope that you do not regard my comments as being anything but civil and humorous, and occasionally, having some substance.




The Nepalese claimed to have heard the Chinese farther tell his son: "Keep hitting him." Now do you think there are many "Chinese nationalist" out there who would speak to his son in English? Or does this Nepalese happen to speak Chinese?

Come on. This story is as believable as...


To be honest, Tim, as one of your critics, I would rather continue to post anonymous commentary, which is one the greatest privileges that the internet provides. While anonymity may open the door for irresponsible lies, it also allows underdogs to have their real voices heard, without worrying about being revenged in the real world power network in which they were vulnerable for possible abuse. However, as we all know, anonymity cannot prevent us from being identified by special agency. It just makes the identifying process a little bit more expensive. Therefore, nobody here is really immune to responsibility.

Instead of being annoyed by more criticisms, you might congratulate yourself for attracting more attention. I cherish the opportunity of having civil dialogue in your blog, which I hope will improve our mutual understanding, and I still respect your work.


p.s. just in case. the views I have stated above do not represent the views held by the University of California, San Diego...just me.


I'll identify myself first. University of California, San Diego here. I've been holding a lot in so please let me rant for a little bit.

The news is disgusting. Forget western media, forget all media. People need to piece together the truth for themselves. You can't believe what you see or read for that matter anymore. You just have to know the facts and piece things together. I'm not surprised the Japanese protested against China. Japan is afraid of a stronger China but so are a lot of people in the world. I mean with all those uneven treaties back before the KMT. Everyone knows they pissed off China. A strong vengeful China, who would want that?

The other day I was driving and listening to MPR. God forbid; everything was about China. There was not one good thing on there. Not one.

Every time I surf the web, or go to youtube. Someone talks about human rights and tiananmen square. Yes, that event did happen; everyone in China knows that happened. That guy standing in front of the tank who was the symbol of "standing up to the man"; well he never got trampled on by the tank. just in case some people though he did. My college professor was in that rally. He got trampled but not by military; but by his own fellow students. If you must know the truth about that rally go ask the people that were in it. Same goes for anything else. (i.e. Tibet)

China is changing fast. Everyone knows that; and everyone who refuses to accept it will just be left behind. Yes, China has committed many atrocities in the past; WHICH GOVERNMENT HASN'T? Interment camps? Concentration camps? Segregation? Apartheid? How come everyone can overlook those things but not Tiananmen? China has not committed anything like it since.

Korean refugees? Yes China might be a little bit hard on them. But in a country with 1.3 billion people with rising food cost. You can barely feed your own people; how can you afford to feed EVERYONE who decides to run across the border. If the United States can turn back Mexicans (a lot of immigrants, or refugees rather, die while trying to come over). Why can't Chinese turn back Koreans?

As far as Tibet issue goes, anyone with 2 eyes can see its a sham. The Dalai Lama, I have lost faith in this man. He craves power. His building in India is not enough. He wants Tibet, in fact he wants Greater Tibet (whatever that is, seriously you want Qinghai and Sichuan? Give me a break). This man has greed written all over his head. If he was on my doorstep he would not be welcome into house. He has caused suffering out countless lives. He says a "free Tibet" will bring democracy; okay I ask "how will the Tibetans elect their political leader?" This is a question a lot of people forget to ask. The title Dalai Lama, it can't be voted for. Religious freedom? How about the freedom to practice only Buddhism.

Okay, I think I am done. Thank you for listening. If you want to debate; discuss or hear more views. I am here everyday.

Tim J

Some of the posts on this blog have been extremely critical, bordering on nasty, in the last month. Out of curiosity, I started checking the IP addresses of some of you who are the most critical, and to my interest I discover that some of you are at major universities in North America, places like UC Berkeley, University of Victoria in British Columbia. Others appear to be employed at major companies in places like Georgia and New Jersey. Here's my challenge to you: Let's keep the dialogue civil. Let's pretend you wouldn't post anything on this blog that you wouldn't post on the university or corporate website with your name attached. Better yet, why don't you identify yourselves just as I am completely identified? If you have an honest question about why something happens in the "Western media" that is a common whipping boy, I'll answer it -- if you identify yourself. Otherwise, post on in anonymity, but you won't get an answer.



I do have kids. Otherwise, I am not in the position to ask you the question.

British Columbia is in Canada, but nice try.

Tim J

Y, I have children. You must be new to this blog, otherwise you would know that. Do you have kids there in British Columbia?


I don't believe Tibet protest and Olympic boycott are masterminded by Western powers. Any politicians with their brains larger than their balls would expect the reactions from those young students. Even CCP is always trying to hide most of the info of Tibet movement using the Great Firewall. Anybody can get any hit by searching "Carrefour" in Chinese?


Come on, Tim! Let's be honest. Tell me if you are really "haunted" or just exited by the Napalese Tibet supporter's story. I guess this is the kind of stories the western media are looking for. Who cares if it is true anyway. As long as the message is satisfying, publish it.



Again, for the story you cited at the end of your post, if you have no clue what I am talking about, check this with your parents to see their reaction.


OK. So much for torch relay and I think somebody is going to be disappointed that it is all finished.

But I guess the following slide show about the end of the world is somewhat related to this topic. There is no violence at all, but takes a bit time to load. Enjoy.




According to eye witness posted on a chinese web site not controlled by the chinese government, the student was hurt by a gorup of Japanese right-wing activists wearing WWWII Japanese uniform. They were fighting over a chinese flag.

If you really believe what you cited at the end of your post, I am certain that you have not experienced the feeling of being a parent yet.


Karuna Bajracharya's story is conspicuously far-fetched but funny. I really don't get it what this Nepalese was up to.


Karuna Bajracharya's story is conspicuously far-fetched but funny. I really don't get it what this Nepalese was up to.

The comments to this entry are closed.



"China Rises" is written by Tom Lasseter, the Beijing bureau chief for McClatchy Newspapers.

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