Olympics in Beijing

Prince Charles has announced that he will not be attending the Olympic Games in China. He did not state explicitly why he made this decision but is known to be a supporter of the Tibetan cause. 

Steven Spielberg says that his conscience will not allow him to work on the Olympic opening ceremony. He is especially critical of China's policies towards Sudan and the crisis in Darfur. 

The designer of the "Bird's Nest" Olympic stadium came out against China's pomp and propaganda; it is old news but I have only just found out.

The Olympics get closer and the world looks at Beijing and China more and more.   I hope that foreign journalists will be looking for stories in China that go beyond the manicured image that the Chinese government wants shown.  Richard Spencer, blogging for the Telegraph from Beijing, says that it has been reported that the Chinese authorities are compiling a database of foreign journalists.  It certainly makes sense for them to be able to distinguish between journalists who only write about sport and those who could show an interest in political and social issues; you can guess which journalists will be watched more closely.

One World, One Dream: that is the slogan for the Beijing Olympics.  I am not sure quite what it means but it is a phrase that should give most people a warm feeling.  Protesters liked the slogan so much that they used it for a giant banner on the Great Wall of China in August 2007 (with the addition of a couple more words: Free Tibet). 

Gordon Brown has accepted an invitation to attend the Beijing Olympics and there is a suspicion that he may not meet the Dalai Lama when he visits the UK in May.  Thousands have already signed a petition (that closes on 17 March 2008) for him to announce that he will have a meeting.  Tony Blair said that his diary was too full when the Dalai Lama was here previously so maybe Gordon Brown can recycle that excuse. Update, 19 March 2008: Gordon Brown said today in parliament that he will be meeting the Dalai Lama.

Tibetans in India are hoping to be able to march to Tibet to protest about the holding of the Olympics in China.  India has been a refuge for many who have escaped from Tibet. The Dalai Lama, since fleeing in 1959,  has lived in the Himalayan town of Dharmsala in India.  However the Indian government is keen to stay on the right side of the Chinese and they are not keen on the protest.

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