Hong Kong: Another Example of China’s Olympic Regression

So the gloves have come off. No one’s even pretending that the Beijing Torch has anything to do with Olympic values of “respect for fundamental universal ethical principles.” Days before the Olympic Torch was due in Hong Kong, security minister Ambrose Lee said that pro-Tibet protestors would be barred from entering the city. Barred. Anyone who may potentially say or do something contrary to the Chinese government’s official line wasn’t to even step foot in Hong Kong.

Does the Olympic Charter have a special clause for totalitarian dictatorships to deny basic universal human rights like freedom of speech and movement? And did the Chinese government really think that that warning would stop us from spreading our message?

On Monday, Kate Woznow from SFT headquarters in New York, Matt Whitticase from Free Tibet Campaign in UK and I boarded flights to Hong Kong. As soon as I landed, I was pulled aside for ‘further inspection.’ Let’s just say that I knew I’d hit a kink when the customs inspector’s eyes bulged out of his sockets and he led out a deep sigh after scanning my passport.

Thus began my five and a half hour detention and intermittent questioning. They asked me why I was there, where I was staying, what sights I planned to see. But the most telling question was “Are you Buddhist?” The agent pointed at my passport and said that my name seemed Buddhist. I’m not sure it would’ve helped if my name was Muslim, but I told her I was Canadian – entitled to enter Hong Kong just like thousands of other foreigners.

They took the batteries of our cell phones and laptops so we couldn’t record anything or contact people. They took away our documents so we couldn’t leave until they let us. I met one unfortunate man from Botswana in the ‘reject’ waiting room who’d been there for a week. They didn’t keep us informed about what was happening, and refused to tell us why we were being denied entry.

Eventually, four people escorted me to the Cathay Pacific gate. There they gave me my passport, ticket and cell phone batteries just before I walked into the plane and headed home.

Four and a half months before the Olympics begin, the Chinese government reacted with overwhelming violent force against Tibetans across Tibet, detained some 5,715 political prisoners, gunned down hundreds of defenseless Tibetans, shuttled hundreds of monks away to unknown locations, starved entire monasteries, and began mandatory ‘education campaigns’ on Tibetans.

Now they are arrogant enough to protest when the rest of the world shows solidarity for the Tibetan people?

Hong Kong is/was the last bastion of freedom in China. Chinese dissidents work openly in Hong Kong for democracy and human rights because when China took control of the island, they had guaranteed political freedoms and the right to protest in Hong Kong.

The Chinese regime has done nothing if not regress since being awarded the Olympics. Our experience in Hong Kong is a sad example of this and I am especially sorry for all the Chinese brothers and sisters who depend on the freedoms there for their own country’s sake.

See our live web press conference from Toronto, New York and London.

Bod Gyalo,

Tsering

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8 responses to “Hong Kong: Another Example of China’s Olympic Regression

  1. It easy to understand why you were deported. Your organization have conducted violent protests in Paris, London and San Francisco. The security assigned to protect the torch have their hands full keeping the anti-China supporters within HK in check.

    Not every place is like Canada. You can’t gather a group and start a protest about anything without a permit. I am not just talking about pro-Tibetan protests, but any sort of public gathering in general. I doubt that your organization have applied for such permit or respected the need to obtain such documents.

    They deported you for your own safety and for the safety of the millions of citizens lined up to see the torch. Your presence there will only cause a ruckus. I hope you enjoyed a safe flight home.

  2. “Hong Kong is/was the last bastion of freedom in China. Chinese dissidents work openly in Hong Kong for democracy and human rights because when China took control of the island, they had guaranteed political freedoms and the right to protest in Hong Kong.”

    Let’s not try to play up the “democratic movement” in HK. We are not particularly interested in universal suffrage, and we are definitely not interested in becoming “seperatists”.

    Coming straight from a HK immigrant who is very in touch with HK politics. The majority of the residents do not favour “pro-democratic” parties such as The Frontier or the Democratic Party. We see these parties as divisive. Hong Kong citizens enjoys different rights than mainland Chinese citizens. But Hong Kong people are not proud of the one-time British colonization – we are embarrassed for the weakness of our ancestry.

    Dare I say, unlike Tibetans, when the Brits cut our territory from China, we still remember who our mother was.

  3. “Your organization have conducted violent protests in Paris, London and San Francisco.”

    Mike, I think you’re mistaken. Students for a Free Tibet did not “conduct the violent protests” in any of the places that you mentioned. Please do not confuse fact with fiction.

    —–
    “I doubt that your organization have applied for such permit or respected the need to obtain such documents.”

    Irrelevant.

    —–
    “They deported you for your own safety and for the safety of the millions of citizens lined up to see the torch.”

    That sounds like an excuse authoritarian governments come up with. “We deport you to ensure your own safety”. Also it makes it seem like the Hongkong police are incompetent. Are they? I don’t think so. But then again, after the episode of pro-CCP mob violence on two peacefully protesting pro-Tibet demonstrators in Seoul, Korea… there’s no telling what the jingoists in Hongkong would do.

  4. contd/-

    Hong Kong is a great place. I heard that a lot of HKers left for Canada and other such countries before the British handover of the territory to the Peoples Republic of China for fear of living under the CPC.

    Getting back to present day HK, I’m glad there are still a few people of conscience residing there. Christina Chan and a few other activists waved Tibetan national flags to exhibit their solidarity with the Tibetan people and their struggle. But of course you’re gonna accuse her of being a “traitor” and shout “what kind of Chinese are you?”, just like the people who heckled her and the other activists, no?

    —–
    “Dare I say, unlike Tibetans, when the Brits cut our territory from China, we still remember who our mother was.”

    How many mothers do you guys have? Mongols of the Yuan? Manchus of the Qing? 😀 Sorry but no one buys that even though I have to give you credit for it sounds rather poetic.

    China Proper was never the “motherland” of Tibet, or at least the Tibetans never considered it to be. Tibetans only recognized Tibet as their Phayul(or Fatherland). Furthermore, in the Tibetan language, there is no term that collectively refers to China and Tibet as one. The Tibetan word for China is Gyanak(Gya=country, nak=black; “Black Country”\) and for Tibet, Bod(pronounced Bhoe).

  5. Sorry – I can’t argue with you if you keep brushing aside the fact that protesters attacked the disabled torch bearer in Paris. The media decided not to pick up on this image, and it is unfortunate.

    “How many mothers do you guys have?”

    The Mongols and the Manchus are part of the 57 ethnicities of China. So the answer is easy – 1.

  6. “Sorry – I can’t argue with you if you keep brushing aside the fact that protesters attacked the disabled torch bearer in Paris. The media decided not to pick up on this image, and it is unfortunate.”

    That begs the question, did the protester “attack” the disabled torch bearer? According to you and CCTV/Xinhua, the protester probably did. Personally, I prefer the use of the term “grabbed” or “attempted to snatch“. Just goes to show how we’re on two totally different planes.

    Moreover, never did I “brush aside the fact“, as you accuse me of. In your first post you were clearly misinformed about “the organization(SFT) conducting violent protests in Paris, London and San Francisco“, all I did was say that you were mistaken. SFT never conducted any such thing.

    “The Mongols and the Manchus are part of the 57 ethnicities of China. So the answer is easy – 1.”

    Is that a -1(negative one)? 😀 lol, just kidding. So, technically, Mongolia too is all Chinese’s mother(land), right?

  7. Hey Mike – I hope you realise that the population of Hong Kong flourished after the revolution in China. The majority of Hong Kongers retained British National Abroad status. You are pro-PRC, that’s your prerogative. Be thankful that as a Hong Konger you have the right to voice a political preference. But don’t forget that the majority of modern day Hong Kongers are the descendents of those who fled persection in 1949.

  8. Amazing reply Mr Gyrad…your words spoke nothing but the truth…Mike i hope you are now aware of the truth thanks to Mr Gyrad..SFT is an organization, that supports the Tibetan Freedom Movement…they help grow awareness of the Tibet Issue to the whole world by doing peaceful protests…and we don’t need to say a word, their work during the olympic speaks for themselves…all they wanted to do was grow awareness of the Tibet issue…and tell the world this issue is very serious…and needs to be dealt with… We are all humans….even the tibetans..we have freedom of speech..but when tibetans inside speak..they are silenced by Guns…i think its time the world, do the right thing…Free Tibet..

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