Tag Archives: Beijing

Oops. McDonalds shill Ryan Lochte says he ate sponsor’s food in Beijing, won fewer medals.

Literally, Ryan Lochte scored his piece of silver at the 2012 London Games for endorsing McDonalds’ unolympian crap-food. But in London Lochte waited until after his competitive events to “go to McDonalds”. His fellow shill Michael Phelps added a vicarious, thus safer, third person endorsement, as one might exclaim “He’s going to Disneyland”. At the 2008 games in Beijing, Lochte purports to have eaten the official sponsor’s crap “for breakfast, lunch and dinner over 10 days” but came away with one less medal. Lochte didn’t see SUPERSIZE ME to know his fast food mythology has already been debunked.

World will see the same authoritarian circus at Beijing, Denver, and St. Paul

Tara Reid…. Late summer authoritarianism is going full blast now! Nobody seems to be worried about anything in the Big Disconnect Universe. All is the same rosy lock-stock-and-barrel circus of grinning authoritarian clowns, as they talk empty ‘Change’ , Homeland Security, and athletic prowess in uniform military formations. It’s the Brave New World immediately before the world-wide Ecological Apocalypse!

It was China’s turn last week but now it is Klown Colorado LittleTon’s turn to co-host with the Democrats the Grand Show! To be followed of course, with the POW Hero Bomber and Christian Right’s ring of Carnival FunHouse nuts on parade. Oh what a display for the world to watch! Such inanity in such a short period of preCollapse time on display. Pre? Well, let’s not toy with when, where, and how, but it’s Collapse still for sure.

All the slow, slow incremental types are in Rapture but what a false pretend kind of Rapture they are having. Joe Biden is the leader at their head now! No, they do not convince neither here nor there, and the whole world will see the same authoritarian circus everywhere! We look and do not believe how deluded our fellow citizens self-deceive. Vote for the Grand Morass? Or smile and sigh? It’s all Great Big Disconnect.

There sure were a lot of the Thug Force out in squads the first day out. The highlight of the march was when Fox News showed up to bait us, but themselves got run off the field. And everywhere, cops, cops, cops, and more cops. Pigs on horses, pigs in the air, pigs every everywhere! Enough to keep most people away. Nothing but a big silly show.

Tiki Barber is my hero

Marie Walden poolsideBeware. This is going to be a rant.
 
Today, I met with great misfortune. I watched MSNBC’s unbelievably sub-par coverage of the Olympics. Jenna Wolfe, know-nothing sports commentator extraordinaire, was recounting her favorite moments of the Games. To her, the most poignant moment was American swimmer, Dara Torres, being wonderfully gracious in defeat. Torres didn’t win, but the moment was inspiring nonetheless. Wolfe’s asswipe co-commentator back home, tight-pants Tamryn someone-or-another, chimed in “if you’re not first, you’re last.”

You have got to be fucking kidding me. Dara Torres, 41-year-old mother of two children, is competing in her FIFTH Olympic Games. She’s medaled in each and every one. In Beijing, she took silver in the women’s 50-meter freestyle race, .01 seconds behind the 22-year-old winner, Britta Steffen. About 35 minutes later, she won another silver medal as part of the American 4×100-meter medley relay team. Her 12 Olympic medals tie the all-time medal record for a female Olympian.

What a loser.

When Jenna Wolfe wasn’t supplying us with completely asinine commentary, she was mocking co-host and NFL phenom, Tiki Barber, for not having a Superbowl Ring.

My favorite moment of the Games? I’d say it was when Tiki Barber called Jenna Wolfe a cunt on-air for all the world to hear. He’s taking all the heat for the “lack of chemistry.” But for those of us who understand and revere sport, Tiki’s words are pure gold.

If it sounds too good to be true

Human Growth Hormone…it probably is.
 
Jamaica’s Usain Bolt won both the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints in world record time, something that hasn’t been done in 32 years. The Jamaican women, led by Shelly-Ann Fraser, swept the 100-meter race. Today another Jamaican woman, Veronica Campbell-Brown won the 200 meter sprint. A single country winning gold in all four sprints hasn’t happened since the USA did it in 1988.

All this metal begs the question, what the hell is going on with the Jamaican runners?

I’m much too sweet to have a taste for sour grapes, but it seems likely that the Jamaican sprinters are doping. Their current coach’s association with Trevor Graham — a Jamaican silver medalist in 1988 and coach of Beijing silver medalist Shawn Crawford — who recently received a lifetime ban from the sport for helping athletes obtain performance enhancing drugs, further fuels suspicion.

Of course, the Jamaican Track Federation vehemently denies the doping charges pointing out that the athletes have been tested and retested and, according to team doctor, Herb Elliott, remain “ready at any time at any hour to be tested.”

Sounds convincing…NOT. The dopers are always body lengths ahead of the U.S. Anti-Doping agency. It makes no difference how many times you test if you’re not looking for what they’re taking.

There is a Jamaican saying likkle likkle mek nuff nuff. Loosely translated it means “a whole lot of a little bit amounts to a whole lot.” Or, more simply, it all adds up.

Yep, to a whole lot of gold.

Thank you Mr. President for all you do

Beijing beach volleyball bikinisIsn’t it vaguely jarring when someone is asked publicly what would be their fondest wish, and they don’t say “world peace?” I feel that way about athletes and celebrities in these times of great conflict. They could say Impeach Bush, Stop Torture, the Media Is Lying, or at the very least, the Emperor Has No Clothes! Instead they feed the media narrative fretting about their quest for a medal, about which we know already.

Not to say the reporters aren’t eager to run with whatever revelation they get. When Usain Bolt revealed that he fuels his running by eating “nuggets,” the press was quick to announce the Fastest Man on Earth eats McDonalds. It’s an easy conclusion. Where else are nuggets on a menu but the Mc variety? A convenient conclusion too, as McDonalds is a chief sponsor of the Olympics. They’re running adds featuring ex-athletes, in athletic settings, pitching McPhood. Although no Olympic athlete could jeopard his/her health to a McDonalds meal depth-charge. Sports reporters know that too. Shame on them for perpetrating the McNuggets disinfo until Bolt’s father could be reached for an explanation. Usain’s “nuggets” are a concoction of yams, and no doubt something Jamaican that will soon be ruled out as doping.

Reporters did interview an Olympic competitor who’s eating plenty at the Beijing McD’s. He’s an archer, who has no need to move around. Probably his weight stabilizes his aim. Probably too he’s got no aspirations for the Pentathlon. The convenient unofficial unsolicited McEndorser weighs 215 pounds.

I’ve heard Olympic athletes are oblivious to real world concerns. Perhaps I can forgive them for not making political statements, even though they have the forum. They’re forbidden, but as attention hounds, you’d think they’d notice that the athletes now most honored for the 1968 Mexico City Games were the ones who raised their fists.

Instead the 2008 Beijing Olympics has this: heralded to be the best Beach Volleyball duo of all time (The TV announcer kept asking “Can I say it? Can I say this is the best beach volleyball team of all time?!” -even though this sport/spectacle pandering to the NASCAR fans has been part of the Olympics only THREE TIMES BEFORE), the winners had this statement to make, after clearing it with their interviewer.

Said Kerri Walsh: “Can I say something? Thank you Mr. President, for your support. And thank you for all that you do!”

102 Olympic medals for white swimmers

Michael Phelps his poised to beat Mark Spitz’s record for medals won in a single Olympics. Does it say something that both are swimmers? Maybe there are too many swimming events? You don’t find 1/2 length, or 1/4 length fencing matches. You certainly don’t have shooting medley relays.

I can understand the merit of 50, 100, 200 and 400 meter distinctions. Relays also make team sorting events out of pretty plainly singular physical efforts. But do we need those variants at the international level which is often dominated by athlete superstars? If you want to have feel-good team events, perhaps relays could exclude the soloists.

How do you account for 34 swimming medal events out of a total of only 302 Olympic events. While baseball as an Olympic sport is being dropped? That’s two dozen athletes per team being offered no medal, while one swimmer gets a shot at eight.

No to mention that baseball has become dominated by athletes of color, while swimming as yet has not. It’s easier for our world neighbors to afford a bat and ball than swimming pools. Not to mention the leisure time necessary for the training. Whereas baseball is a social sport.

Is it amazing that America, home of the baseball World Series, played only among North American teams, doesn’t medal in the real world series? And how about our loss to Cuba? Even as both countries hold baseball to be the national sport, err, pastime, the match-up is still akin to a class AA school set upon single-room schoolhouse classification. We draw our athletes from a population 303 million, including the Cuban players who defect. Cuba’s talent comes from a pool of 11 million.

On the tea-horse road to Tibet

China-Lijiang-roadLady, lady, I take you today. No ticket! No tourist!

I’m standing in the town square reviewing my inventory of polite rejections when, lo and behold, my rogue sense of intuition wrests its way to the forefront and I hear myself saying, “Okay, so where are we going?” An abnormally large Naxi woman emerges from the shadows and sizes me up. “You ride horse?” she asks rather skeptically. “Sure, I ride horse,” I respond indignantly, at once calling to mind a favorite movie, True Grit.

Rooster Cogburn: Mr. Rat, I have a writ here says you’re to stop eating Chin Lee’s cornmeal forthwith. Now it’s a rat writ, writ for a rat, and this is lawful service of the same. See, doesn’t pay any attention to me.
[shoots the rat]
Chin Lee: [Runs into the room] Outside is place for shooting!
Rooster Cogburn: I’m servin’ some papers!

Okay, I know that had nothing to do with anything, but I liked it.

Anyway, thanks to trusty intuition, and the kind attention of my guides Richard and Li, I had a most magical day. I rode a shaggy little horse four hours up a steep mountain trail — the very path that for hundreds of years has linked southwest China to Tibet. At the summit were views of the Yangtze River and the breathtaking Snow Mountains, known to us as the Himalaya.

When the blue haze lifted, I could see all the way to everywhere.

China-Lijiang-mountaintop-village
TO THE LEFT OF THE CENTER PEAK IS THE MOUNTAIN VILLAGE
China-Lijiang-meadow
ALPINE FLOWERS AND CROPS
China-Lijiang-marijuana-1
MARIJUANA MAKES A PRETTY CONTRAST
China-Lijiang-village-on-mountain
THE NAXI VILLAGE
China-Lijiang-Lashi-Lake
VIEW OF LASHI LAKE
China-Lijiang-Marie-on-pony
ME LIVING LARGE ON A TEENY TINY HORSE
China-Lijiang-pepper-berries
PEPPER BERRIES
Naxi woman harvesting berries
China-Lijiang-mountain-ladies
NAXI WOMEN PICKING PEPPER BERRIES
Naxi boy and cabbage
A BOY HIDING BEHIND HIS CABBAGE
Naxi boy without his cabbage
AFTER TEN MINUTES OF CAJOLING HE’S READY TO POSE
Naxi doghouse
ALPINE DOGHOUSE
Naxi tent
THE MASTER’S CAMPSITE
China-Lijiang-Yangtze-again
FIRST BEND of the YANGTZE RIVER
China-Lijiang-Yangtze-vista
LOOKING TOWARD TIBET
China-Lijiang
MY TRAIL GUIDE
China-Lijiang-trusty-steeds
OUR TRUSTY LITTLE STEEDS
China-Lijiang-silhouette
MARIE AND RICHARD INCONSEQUENTIAL
Lijiang men
THE NAXI MEN AFTER I BLEW THEM A KISS!

A fan of McDonald’s

McDonalds fan
BEIJING- Could there be a more offensive marketing campaign than this one? McDonald’s has taken a revered Chinese symbol and turned it into a corporate billboard. Beijing 2008 brought to you by an American fast food chain.

In the “open-24/7!” store in the Athlete’s Village, McDonald’s touts one or two “healthy” menu options buried deep beneath the grease-laden, e-Coli-infected, allegedly-edible garbage they offer. Message to young people: you, too, can bring home Olympic gold if you shove this shit in your mouth and work real real hard. Just don’t forget that you must also pay constant homage to Nike, the goddess of victory, except when honoring Ralph Lauren, the lord of the Great Gatsby set.

Remember, too, that you mustn’t offer up your MasterCard, for that is a grave offense. These gods only accept Visa, your ticket to the world.

Is Bush problem drinking still a secret?

We learned only after Roosevelt’s presidency that he had to be propped-up for photo-ops because FDR was otherwise confined to a wheelchair. The American public learned only after Ronald Reagan retired that he suffered from Alzhemers for most of his second term. Once our decider idiot’s joyride is over, is there something it will then be safe then to tell us that Vladimir Putin already knows about George Bush Jr?
This way Mr Bush

We know he’s incurious, uneducated and inappropriate. We know he was an alcoholic and cocaine addict into his 40s, until he found religion before the campaign trail. Is it possible some of his down-home stupidity could be drink-fueled?

Bush at the swimming eventIn the alter-universe of the blogosphere, it’s being surmised that George W. was blotto at the Beijing Olympics. Here’s one of the pics floating that thesis.

Finding respite in Beijing’s hutongs

Beijing hutongs
BEIJING- Since I arrived in China I’ve made it my mission to avoid Westerners. Hitting the Beijing historical sites a week before the Games, then traveling by overnight train to Xi’an (three Chinese and me in a tiny cubicle with four bunks — now that was fun), I’ve found myself immersed in a sea of Asian faces. An odd feeling, but not as odd as being surrounded by only Chinese voices.

The Chinese are a garrulous people, speaking in monosyllabic singsong nasal tones, downright noisy by my standards. Interestingly, though, the sounds don’t bother me at all. The voices seem to blend with the screeching of the cicadas or the chirping of the birds. I hear them, but since I don’t understand the language, or even the intonation, the noise becomes like background music to me. Less intrusive than listening to my iPod because I don’t feel compelled to fast forward, contemplate lyrics, or sing along. I think it’s like being deaf, only with sound.

Avoiding Westerners has become more difficult now that the Games are underway. Yesterday, I found a safe haven in the hutongs of old Beijing. For several hundred years, the majority of Beijing residents lived in siheyuan, which are housing compounds with rooms arranged around a central courtyard. The hutongs, or narrow alleyways, run between rows of siheyuan. Hutong has come to refer to neighborhoods set up this way.

Life in the hutongs is a slow and simple affair. Elderly women sit side-by-side on stools barely six inches off the ground. The old men squat around wooden game boards, occasionally laughing at one thing or another. Middle-aged women sew or cook in tiny rooms with open doors, always facing the street so as not to miss any of the goings-on. Little children do as little children do everywhere. I didn’t see many young men and women in the hutongs. I imagine they were somewhere in the city, straddling the divide between the old and new China.

Wherever I walked, the people stared at me with undisguised curiosity. They didn’t appear friendly, nor unfriendly. They simply watched. I would return their gaze for a moment, bow my head slightly and smile. “Nin hao,” I’d say, hoping that my attempt to singsong the syllables didn’t pain them too much. Without fail, they smiled and returned the greeting enthusiastically. Often they offered me whatever they had in their hands—a piece of fruit, a paper fan, a plastic-beaded bracelet. I would point to my camera, asking permission to take a picture. They would laugh and blush and hide behind each other in protest. I wasn’t sure how to interpret their apparent reticence, but I thought it was best to accept it at face value and photograph the laundry or the bicycles instead.

With the modernization of Beijing, many residents have moved from the hutong to the high-rise. But I found that a few traditional hutongs, home to lovely people who can remember when, may still be found by a girl on a quest to avoid the West.

Beijing hutongs
Beijing hutongs
Beijing hutongsBeijing hutongsBeijing hutongsBeijing hutongsBeijing hutongsBeijing hutongsBeijing hutongsbeijing hutongsBeijing hutongs

Opening ceremonies of Beijing Olympics star humanity in his own flea circus

Metropolis science fiction horror
Can you remember an Olympic Games opening ceremony that was not spectacular? Suffice it to say Beijing was the biggest, befitting the world’s most populous nation. “Awesome” provides perfectly qualified praise. I have to say this spectacle invoked colossal horror as it drew a full-color digital smiley face over Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

Automatons
I thought the drumming performance was the most impressive. Two thousand (and eight) drummers beating their hands on antique-style drums set in mobile tables. The bare skinned drummers beat hard, seemingly to illuminate the square table surfaces, like fireflies assigned coordinates in an array, or a spider’s web.

We’ve admired marching ceremonies before, and synchronized flags. We marvel at the precision ensembles of Rockettes, Busby Berkley choreography, and, for want of an example further afield, the Chinese circus. What made the Bird Nest Stadium extreme so horrific was the miniaturization of man’s role. If it had been a Seurat painting, one man, one dot, we might have been comforted to see ourselves woven into a tapestry which created an artistic expression. Instead, long shots showed the full effect to be an LED board, each pixel either on or off, flickering based on whether that person was activated or not. Man as electron, charged or uncharged.

I wondered what was the stadium perspective. Did the audience of 91,000 see the large electronic panel or the matrix of individuals sweating to power it? An aerial view gave the TV audience the full effect, while other cameras zoomed in as if to provide a microscopic perspective of the human termites working frenetically in the machine.

Putting people in the role of insect automatons would seem to me a phobia of a humanitarian society. But the mechanized human component of the 2008 opening ceremonies was not disharmonious with the way we already see China. Everywhere performers were tethered, playing tiny roles in gargantuan schemes. Some provided the piston power to undulating cubes. They revealed themselves only at the end, and emerged only partially, free but to give a smile and wave. These giant light-board shows were switched by computers, their human components alerted by electric signal, be it light, or tone, or sensor, to synchronize their positions. A TV commentator who remarked about the amazing lack of wires, would be overlooking how his personal computing devices communicate these days.

Human labor
The human element was required for the spectacle, otherwise we’ve seen more complex LEDs on old ballpark scoreboards. Technically the chain-link of humans was superfluous, but doesn’t it represent China, where labor costs are negligible?

And so we cheered the 2008 drummers, who worked drums mounted into tables that could pass for work desks. Indeed the drummers were bent over them like bent people, galley slaves exerting themselves to the rhythm of the whip. It was a sea of modern slaves, the sweatshop laborers. Actually, two thousand and eight impressed the crowd, but that number is probably small for a factory workforce. Probably there are scenes like this many times as big in daily Chinese work life.

Food processing

Later the performance took on a Disneyesque quality as dancers opened umbrellas illuminated with large smiling faces of children. Is that a touch-stone theme for pseudo international-harmony? The promise of children? I wondered after seeing the drummers harnessed to their sewing tables, coordinated by an electronic whip-master, if the faces of children represented the child workforce. In traditional cultures childhood idleness ends when a child can carry water or sweep the floor. The idealized child is a Western facade and here China appears eager to celebrate the ruse. Mankind’s aspiration should emulate the innocuous, non-threatening smile of a child.

Gladiators
Never before have I gotten a clearer sense of the Olympics as gladiator games. The audience are the privileged few, who do not bring politics to the games except the rivalry of nationalism, a preference for their athletes, rooting for a win to enhance their prestige. Ninety dignitaries were in attendance in Beijing. And what a celebration of harmony. Regardless the turmoil between nations outside, between world leaders, harmony. Because they’re going nowhere. Only rebels and coups threaten the ruling class. Did you know an IOC rule forbids the display of flags of entities not competing in the games?

Politics don’t enter the minds of the athlete class because they’ve got a singular focus, their performance. Some strive for financial rewards, others are focused on the physical achievement. All are vying to please the emperor, to live to compete again.

Even as the techno pageantry dazzled, by the end I was still shocked to see a human being reduced to flintlock to carry the flame to the gigantic torch, a blazing industrial altar.

The colossal fireworks show looked to be outside the view of the stadium audience, but I saw no throngs outdoors to witness it. The pyrotechnics reminded me of Shock and Awe the first night in Baghdad, cameras well recessed to take it all in. It turns out a chunk of the fireworks was CGI for the TV spectacular.

In hindsight for me the highlight of the evening was seeing President Bush sitting next to Vladimir Putin, each saluting their athletes in turn, neither turning toward each other, at least on camera, while in Georgia US backed forces battled Russian soldiers in all out war. An example of a tangible measure to which politics are kept out of the Olympic Games.

Photos:
Drummer pool

Umbrella children

Hairy monkeys of old Beijing

Beijing handicraftBEIJING- Eric once told me that he liked hanging around his artist friend, Patti Smithsonian, because she saw creative potential in nearly everything. He’d see a stack of old paper and head for the garbage can. She’d stop him. “Don’t throw that away! Let’s tear it into strips and make a papier-mâché hat!” That kind of thing.

I’ve since experienced the same thing with my project-princess daughter. Packing materials, raffia, old lightbulbs, used ribbon — nothing gets tossed until I’ve run it by my little artist’s eye.

Winding my way through the hutongs of central Beijing yesterday, I came across something that will give Devon and Patti a year’s worth of new ideas. Hairy monkeys. An old folk handicraft started in the late Qing dynasty, hairy monkeys are made from the furry magnolia bud and the shed skin of the ever-present and super-screechy cicada. Resembling human beings in action — fortune tellers, barbers, fruit sellers, street hawkers — the hairy monkeys recall the urban life and customs of old Beijingers. Treasures from childhood, the monkeys are still loved by the elderly hutong-dwellers.

I found them completely hilarious and charming. I know Devon will, too. The already-long list of things I can’t pitch out will get even longer as it grows to encompass the entire outdoors.

Who should cast stones at the Chinese?

Free Tibet banner hung near Bird Nest Stadium BeijingActivist hung this FREE TIBET banner in Beijing. To whom is it addressed? It’s in English.
 
I’ll say it again. I would leave criticism of the Chinese over Darfur, Burma and Tibet, to advocates with some moral authority. Perhaps activists from countries not actively engaged in genocide.

How unbecoming really, of Americans, Canadian and Brits to point the finger at China for its links to the deaths of Sudanese, Burmese and Tibetans, while we have the blood of over a million Iraqis and Afghans on our hands! Our OWN hands! Westerners also have the blood of countless millions of African AIDS victims to whom we refuse our medicines. How ever in the world IS IT OUR PLACE to admonish China, when we are not stepping up to arrest our own governments?!

Do you know who is behind the FREE TIBET and SAVE DARFUR efforts? The Western governments! Those “grass-roots” efforts are fully funded. They are media endorsed. SKY TV coverage of Free Tibet action Look at this Canadian TV coverage. They offer up the protest group website! Since when have you known mainstream media to publicize activist websites?!

The Tibet/Darfur campaigns are aimed at US/UK audiences, to mobilize English speaking populations against China, our chief rival to Western empire.

China on display!

Beijing opening ceremonies USA House
BEIJING–Turn on the television and watch the Opening Ceremonies for the Beijing Olympics! By all accounts, it was the most elegant and artistic opening ever. With 5000 years of recorded history, China had a lot more to showcase than most countries have. They did it up beautifully.

The parade of countries took forever and, with little idea when the US team would appear, I watched the entire time. I’ll pass on some recently-acquired information that may spare you a similar fate.

Historically, Greece marches into the stadium first, in recognition of the origin of the Olympic Games. The host country marches last. The other countries parade in alphabetical order. But, since China doesn’t have an alphabet, the countries march according to the number of strokes in the Chinese characters that make up their names. Now, you can easily figure out when the USA will appear. Ha!

If you skip the procession, make sure you return to watch the lighting of the torch. Definite goosebumps. And, for me, the usual tears of awe and inspiration. Now, go!

Let the Games begin!

Mt Huashan, China
BEIJING- I’ve run myself ragged over the past five days trying to get a sense of China as she gears up for the Debutante Ball, and so far I have a pocket full of threads awaiting a tapestry. I must say, China is a country of great contrasts. A communist country with in-your-face capitalism everywhere. A landscape of unbelievable beauty made hazy by poisoned and polluted air. Oppressive heat and humidity and noisy throngs of people outside; feng shui, gentle music, and cool crisp air inside.

I’m staying at the Beijing Hilton, temporary home of the United States Olympic Committee. As you can imagine, the level of service is over the top. Since the Bush family’s arrival at the hotel next door, security has been tightened and my perfect oasis is now tainted by the presence of wand-wielding uniformed guards.

Worse still, the trophy wives of important men have invaded, and they are putting the staff through their paces. The upside is that they are fun to watch and secretly mock. Regal lionesses to my happy little mountain goat. Ha!

Today the torch arrives in Beijing. The city is electric. I don’t have a ticket to the Opening Ceremonies — no surprise since they run about $3,000 each. But my friend with Olympic connections tells me that we may meet with some last-minute luck, so I’m dressed and ready to go.

For now, I leave you with some pictures of the mountain goat on location!

Mt Huashan, China trail
Mt Huashan, China meditation
Mt Huashan, China gold locks
Mt Huashan, China, Marie Walden
Beijing Tiananmen Square One World
Beijing Tiananmen Square One Dream

Beijing extracurricular Olympic schedule

I have a last-minute, refocused interest in a safe and not-too-disrupted Beijing Olympics. It’s already been unofficially eventful. Here’s a time line of the counter-Olympics leading-up to the Opening Ceremonies. The Gazette is in Beijing. So are we!

OC -5: Marie arrives in Beijing!

OC -4: Sixteen Chinese policemen killed in Kashgar by Uighur separatists. Two Japanese journalists beaten by police for covering story.

OC -3: Earthquake hits Sichuan Province hours after Olympic torch passes.

OC -2: Four US-UK protesters unfurl TIBET banner as torch arrives at Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium. / Four US cyclists cause furor by stepping off the plane wearing US-issued breathing masks. / Visa revoked for TEAM DARFUR Olympian alumni. Yay!
Tibet protester arrested in Tiananmen Square
OC -0: FREE TIBET demonstrations in Tiananmen Square. American Tourists stabbed. Assailant jumps to death. Official account. Chinese witnesses not at liberty to tell what they actually saw.

OC +1: Tibet activists ejected from Honk Kong equestrian arena. Protester sets himself on fire in Ankara.

China’s Olympic image makeover redux

Beijing 1989 Tiananmen Square
I replaced the dancing figure in China’s Olympic emblem with the red motorcycle crushed by tanks at the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

The heavy red outline around the figure above the official Beijing 2008 logo resembles a Chinese written character, but it could also be blood pooled around the chalk outline of a body.
beijing-olympic-tibet-shame.jpg
Here’s what some activist artists conceived for an Olympic logo to commemorate the Chinese repression of Tibet. They placed massacred Buddhist monks around the red seal. They could just as easily be referring to the monks killed in Burma by the authoritarian military junta which is supported by China.

Support the Troops, and vice versa?

Beijing Spring 1989Do you remember the Beijing Spring of 1989? Students were protesting China’s authoritarian regime occupied Tiananmen Square and for a time successfully won over the soldiers sent in to expel them. Do you remember the images? Waves of People’s Liberation Army soldiers arrived, but as students and supporters blocked their way and pleaded with them not to brutalize their fellow citizens, the soldiers would join them, some even helping to persuade the next soldiers.

Civilian appeals to soldierUltimately we know the tanks came in. The Chinese leadership used hardened soldiers from the outlying territories, whose dialect was different from the Han Mandarin spoken in Beijing, who had more indoctrination than education, and were thus less susceptible to the entreaties of the demonstrators. Those troops ultimately beat and killed untold numbers of the protesters. Executions and imprisonments followed for the organizers who survived.

COLORADO SPRINGS- In what’s become the US totalitarian means of suppressing protest at past conventions and the FTAA, law enforcement manpower is supplemented by a state’s National Guard. The US military commanders responsible for securing the upcoming August DNC are preparing their soldiers to feel no sympathy for the street rabble they will have to confront. They know not to let their men succumb to sympathy for the nonviolent DNC antiwar demonstrators.

From what rural parts of Colorado does our National Guard plan to draw its ranks to ensure its soldiers won’t have anything in common with progressive/intellectual/working-class activists? Well, Colorado Springs of course!

Student is beatenThis is where the SUPPORT THE TROOPS mantra might begin to feel odd. Common people support their troops, but do the troops support the people? That’s hardly their training. Supervised by military intelligence trainers and contractors for the tasks of crowd control, the National Guard is conditioned to steel themselves against civil disobedience. It will behoove demonstration organizers to reach out to the guard community ahead of time, to communicate the message of peaceful patriotism we’ll be advocating in the streets.

Tiananmen Square before Olympic spirit

Beijing 2008 boycott
Human rights activists are crying foul about China’s role in Tibet and Burma. Here’s a illustrated time-line of the events which led to the totalitarian repression of the Tiananmen protests of 1989. Reprinted from Christus Rex.

Beijing Spring -A look back at the 1989 Spring that impacted a nation. Visit original website to see archival video footage from the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather.

April 15
Hu YaobangFormer Communist Party chief Hu Yaobang, a leading reformist, dies of a heart attack at the age of 73. Students at Beijing University put up posters praising Hu that indirectly criticize the opponents who forced his resignation following student demonstrations in 1986-87.
 

Students marchApril 17
Thousands of students march in Beijing and Shanghai shouting “long live Hu Yaobang, long live democracy, long live freedom, long live the rule of law.”
 

 

April 18
2,000 students from Beijing bicycle into Tiananmen Square and protest before the Great Hall of the People. Student leaders, including Wang DanIncluded in their demands for democratic reforms is the repudiation of official campaigns against freedom of the press.

April 21
Crowds of up to 100,000 demonstators gather in Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu.
Policeman supporting students

April 22
Students defy police orders to leave the square, while riots break out in the provincial capitals of Xian and Changsha. Official memorial ceremonies are held for Hu at the Great Hall of the People.

Student strike at Beijing University
 
 
 
April 23
Beijing students announce a boycott of university classes.
 

April 24
Tens of thousands of students at Beijing universities go on strike, demanding a dialog with the government.

Student rally in the squareApril 27
Bolstered by broad-based support, more than 150,000 students surge past police lines and fill Tiananmen Square, chanting slogans for democracy and freedom.

April 29
Government officials meet with student leaders, but independent student groups say they will continue a class boycott at 41 university campuses in Beijing.

May 2
6,000 students march in Shanghai.

May 4
100,000 students and supporters march on Tiananmen square to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Student hunger strike China’s first student movement, while similar demonstrations are held in Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities. 300 journalists protest outside the official Xinhua News Agency.

May 9
Journalists petition the government for freedom of the press.

May 13
2,000 students begin a hunger strike in Tiananmen Square.

Rally on the eve of GorbachevMay 15
Government deadline for students to leave the square comes and goes. A welcoming ceremony for Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s state visit is moved to the airport.

tienanmen-12-rally.jpgMay 16
Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators occupy the square.

May 18
One million people march in support of the hunger strikers. Li PengLi Peng, Premier of the State Council, issues a stern warning to student leaders and refuses to discuss their demands.

May 19
Zhoa ZiyangA tearful Zhao Ziyang, China’s General Secretary, makes a pre-dawn visit to weakened hunger strikers. Li also visits the students briefly. In the evening the students decide to end the hunger strike, but quickly change their mind when Li and President Yang Shangkun announce martial law. Zhao reportedly resigns or is ousted from power after failing to convince Li and others to compromise.

Yang ShangkunMay 20, 1989
Chinese authorities ‘pull the plug’ on Dan Rather who is reporting live from Beijing.

May 28
About 80,000 people (mostly students from outside the capital) demonstrate but, unlike past rallies, few workers participate.
Goddess of Democracy
May 30
Students unveil their “Goddess of Democracy,” a replica of the Statue of Liberty, on the square. The government calls it an insult to the nation.

May 31
Farmers and workers stage the first of several pro-government rallies in Beijing’s suburbs.

June 1
The Beijing Municipal Government bans all foreign press coverage of the demonstrations.

June 3
Tens of thousands of troops advance on the city shortly after midnight, but are repulsed by residents who put up barricades. PLA troops stopped by civilians By the afternoon 5,000 troops appear outside the Great Hall of the People, but are again surrounded and stopped. In the final assault that evening, troops shoot and beat their way to the square.

Taping the beginnings of the massacre, correspondent Richard Roth is arrested.

June 4
Troops occupy the square and smash the “Goddess of Democracy” with tanks. The shooting continues with soldiers periodically firing on crowds gathered on the outskirts of the square. Residents set fire to more than 100 military trucks and armored personnel carriers. The government claims the “counterrevolutionary riots” have been suppressed. Meanwhile, riots break out in southwestern Chengdu.

Richard Roth is released and reports further on the night’s violence.
PLA troops confront civilians
June 5
There are reports of clashes between rival military groups around Beijing. President Bush condemns the “bloody and violent” crackdown and orders a suspension of U.S. military sales and contacts with the Chinese government.

June 5, 1989
Richard Roth reports: one anonymous man stops a column of 18 tanks.
Wounded civilian
June 6
Foreign embassies advise their nationals to leave China. The government says 300 people were killed and 7,000 injured in the crackdown, but claims most of the dead were soldiers. There are more reports of clashes between military units. Six people are killed in Shanghai when a train runs through a barricade. The U.S. State Department announces that dissident Fang Lizhi and his wife have sought refuge in the U.S. Embassy.
An advancing tank
June 7
Troops, responding to what they say is sniper fire, shoot into a foreign diplomatic compound. The United States and other governments order the mandatory evacuation of dependents of diplomatic personnel.

June 8
Premier Li Peng appears in public for the first time since the crackdown to congratulate troops.
Deng Xiaoping
June 9
China’s leader Deng Xiaoping appears for the first time since May 16. In a speech to military officers he blames the turmoil on counterrevolutionaries attempting to overthrow communism.

Motorcycle crushed by a tankJune 10
Beijing authorities announce the arrest of more than 400 people, including student and labor leaders.

June 11
The government issues a warrant for the arrest of Fang Lizhi and his wife, saying they committed crimes of “counterrevolutionary propaganda and instigation.” Fang Lizhi

June 12
The government bans all independent student and labor organizations and says police and soldiers should shoot all “rioters and counterrevolutionaries.”PLA tank on patrol

June 13
The government issues a wanted list for 21 student activists who led the democracy movement.
Student leader Wang Dan

June 14
China orders the expulsion of Associated Press reporter John Pomfret and Voice of America Bureau Chief Alan Pessin.

June 15
Three Shanghai men are sentenced to death for burning a train that ran over protesters. The nationwide arrest total reaches above 1,000.
Soldiers seen through window of burned vehicle
June 17
A Beijing court sentences eight people to death for attacking soldiers and burning vehicles during the June 3-4 assault.

June 18
Politburo member Qiao Shi appears prominently in the official media, adding to speculation the party security man will replace Zhao.

A burned tank
June 20
The government nullifies all exit permits in an apparent attempt to stop fugitives from leaving the country.