China's 1.25 billion people will welcome over ten thousand Olympians, along with hundreds of thousands of fans, and 30,000 journalists. All are being watched over by a 100,000 member security force, which means that uniformed and plain-clothes operatives will outnumber the 10,500 athletes by nearly nine to one. In Beijing, heavily armed police roam the airport. Subway passengers must submit to bag checks and go through X-ray machines. The Beijing National Stadium, site of the opening ceremony, is protected by anti-aircraft guns.
Terrorism worries the Chinese government the most. State media reported in July that the anti-terrorism force was placed on high alert.
Both Interpol and the U.S. State Department have said there is cause for concern, especially over Muslim extremists with possible links to al Qaeda.
Earlier this year, Chinese officials said they stopped a plot to bomb Beijing and Shanghai and to poison the water supply during the Olympics. In March, a flight crew allegedly prevented a hijacking. Muslim separatists from the restive Xianjiang region were blamed both times.
When Beijing was awarded the Olympics, the Olympic Committee urged the country to take a long, hard look at its countless human rights violations... and make efforts to fix them. To date, there has been little movement in that area.
Human rights violations appear to be a way of life in China. Several sources point to numerous policies that remain in effect
Controls on Expressions and Associations
Restrictions on Independent Organizing: Although the Chinese Constitution guarantees freedom of association and assembly, national regulations severely limit association and give the authorities absolute discretion to deny applications for public gatherings or demonstrations. In practice, only organizations that are approved by the authorities are permitted to exist, and any organization that is not registered is considered "illegal."
Restrictions on Free Speech and the Media: Although the PRC's 1982 Constitution guarantees citizens freedom of expression and of the press, its preamble mandates adherence to "four basic principles"-- the CCP's leadership, socialism, dictatorship of the proletariat and Marxism-Leninism Mao Zedong Thought
Suppression of Religious Freedom: The PRC prohibits all religious activities outside establishments registered under the official branches of four state-recognized religions (Buddhism, Taoism, Christianity and Islam), established by the PRC government during the 1950s, through which Chinese and Tibetan religious adherents are required to practice their faith.
Torture and Ill-Treatment of Prisoners
Torture of detainees is endemic in Chinese detention centers and prisons. Although China became party to the UN Convention Against Torture in 1988, the government has not taken effective measures to diminish the risk of prisoners being tortured or ill-treated
Lack of Judicial Independance and Due Process
Arbitrary Detention: In addition to judicial convictions, PRC authorities consistently use administrative procedures to detain hundreds of thousands of Chinese and Tibetans each year.
Conditional Releases with Continued Deprivation of Rights: The PRC infrequently has released political prisoners of conscience before the completion of their sentences, predominantly as a result of international pressure
Death sentences have been imposed based on forced confessions and are often decided in advance of the trial by "adjudication committees," thereby circumventing defendants' rights to a fair and public hearing and presumption of innocence
Add to these policies, it is rumored that Chinese officials have asked Beijing area merchants to discriminate against certain Olympic athletes.
Asia News reports:
...that for "reasons of safety", bars are forbidden to serve "blacks" and Mongolians or place tables in the street. Street musicians are being banned, and so is buying medicines containing "stimulants" without a prescription. Prohibitions are on the rise for the Olympic capital, while the first leaks reveal a grandiose fireworks display for the inauguration.
Bar owners around the Workers' Stadium in downtown Beijing say that public security officials are telling them not to let in "blacks" and Mongolians, and many of them have even had to sign a pledge. The official reason is the fight against drugs and prostitution, dominated in the past by Mongolians and persons of colour. Moreover, public places must close by 2 a.m., for security reasons, and the bar owners are being asked to remind their clients that they must always have an identification document with them. There is even doubt over whether the bars within a radius of two kilometres from the Olympic buildings will be able operate, or whether they will have to shut down for the entire period. In some areas, tables are not permitted outside, because "the presence of too many foreigners gathered outside could create problems". There is also an attempt to shut down outdoor musical concerts, to prevent disorder.
Jazz musician David Mitchell says that it is increasingly difficult for his band to find places to play in Beijing "Everything is aimed at creating stability, but they don't understand that is precisely the unfounded prejudice that foreigners have of Chinese society - that it is a highly controlled and not a very cultural place. It seems completely self-defeating".
To guarantee a "clean" Olympics, a doctor's prescription is now required for 1,993 commonly used medicines, or the package must show a warning that the product contains substances believed to be stimulating and not permitted for the athletes. One must go to a hospital to get a prescription, but many of the hospitals ask for as much as 100 yuan for each prescription, causing problems for the elderly and the poor most of all.
The Huffington Post reports a similar "no Blacks and Mongolians admitted" story with a slight wrinkle:
Hong Kong's English newspaper The South China Morning Post reported Friday that Chinese authorities have issued a secret ban on blacks, Mongolians and other "social undesirables" from Beijing's bars during the Olympics.
As the content on South China Morning Post's site is for subscribers only, here is an excerpt of the article c/o the Beijing drinking blog Beijing Boyce:
Beijing authorities are secretly planning to ban black people and others it considers social undesirables from entering the city's bars during the Olympic Games, a move that would contradict the official slogan, "One World, One Dream".
Bar owners near the Workers' Stadium in central Beijing say they have been forced by Public Security Bureau officials to sign pledges agreeing not to let black people enter their premises....
Security officials are targeting Sanlitun, which Olympic organisers expect to be a key destination for foreign tourists looking for a party during the Games.
The pledges that Sanlitun bar owners had been instructed to sign agreed to stop a variety of activities in their establishments, including dancing and serving customers with black skin, they said.
China's preeminent English-language media analysis site Danwei didn't lend credence to the SMCP report, calling the high-level ban "unlikely." However Jeremy Goldkorn writes on Danwei that "it is highly plausible that some low level cops have issued such instructions, especially with the current state of high alert in Beijing making officials and government agencies paranoid and very nervous about foreigners."
Further investigation by Beijing Boyce, who interviewed Beijing bar owners on the alleged ban, found that low-level Beijing cops have been visiting the capital city's watering holes and warning owners and employees to keep their eye on black patrons. According to an update Saturday on Beijing Boyce:
An owner said police met with Sanlitun bar reps and told them to monitor black patrons. He said the police told the reps that drug dealers are predominantly black in the area. He said the police did not ask bar owners to ban blacks.
In response to the mounting anger over Beijing's hosting the Olympics, President George W. Bush will "chide" the Chinese for their behavior from his perch at the Beijing Olympics. Hours before arriving in Beijing Thursday, U.S. President George W. Bush will express his "firm opposition" to human rights violations in China.
In a speech to be delivered Thursday in Bangkok, Thailand, Bush will denounce the detention of political dissidents and religious activists - a stinging criticism of Chinese leadership on the eve of Friday's opening of the Olympics, and one that is bound to anger his Chinese hosts.
Chinese communists leaders already have been heavily criticized for their crackdown on dissent in the weeks leading up to the Beijing games, and have bristled at Bush's earlier musings about using his trip to raise human rights.
"I have spoken clearly, candidly, and consistently with China's leaders about our deep concerns over religious freedom and human rights. And I have met repeatedly with Chinese dissidents and religious believers," says Bush's prepared text.
"America stands in firm opposition to China's detention of political dissidents, human rights advocates, and religious activists. We speak out for a free press, freedom of assembly and labour rights, not to antagonize China's leaders, but because trusting its people with greater freedom is the only way for China to develop its full potential."
Read CNN.com articles on the Beijing Olympics here and here.
Read a fact sheet about China's human rights abuses here.
Read about Beijing's planned banning of Black patrons here and here.
plez sez: think hard. real hard. when was the last time the government of china gave a FLIP about what the rest of the world thought?
as long as we're kept knee deep in cheap sweatshop labor produced goods from china, who's to say that they can't run their government and mistreat their people with impunity. hey... how can 1.25 billion (20 percent of the worlds population) be wrong?!?
the olympic selection committee got it ALL wrong when they decided to pour trillions of dollars into the growing chinese economy by giving them the 2008 Olympics! to HELL with the people of Tibet, who cares about the people starving to death in Darfur, who cares about the dissidents who have conveniently grown quiet over the past couple of months in china? who cares that china thinks that Blacks and Mongolians pose such a threat to their way of life that they aren't allowed in beijing's bars during the Olympics? who cares that george w. bush is going to give some mealy-mouthed speech about human rights (in light of the fact that just five years ago the US invaded a sovereign nation for no reason)?
to top it off, make no mistake... the chinese athletes are going to garner the lion's share of gold and silver medals over the next two weeks. have you ever tasted chinese home cooking?!? well, you're gonna see how it tastes when the FIX is in! imagine the Olympic NBA Stars getting beat by the China National team... and don't be surprised to see Yao Ming wearing his Olympic gold medal for basketball when he's back in houston next season while rapping on YouTube, "Hey Kobe! Tell me how my ass taste!"
plezWorld says, "let the games begin!"