Old man falls down. Who can you trust?

A few years ago I remember I was walking with a friend on the street here in Copenhagen. Next to us, suddenly, a drunk that we were passing collapsed (?) or fell down on the ground. ‘So what’ I thought. This country has liberal alcohol policies and a generous welfare system. Who wouldn’t expect to see drunks falling over on the street?

I continued to walk on but this particular friend of mine rushed back to the guy to put him back on his feet again. When he came back he asked me”Didn’t you see that guy? He might have been in trouble”. “Sure, I saw him but, generally speaking, drunks falling over are not my problem. Next time I see one I will do the same.”

If I see a person bleeding on the ground or in an epileptic fit or something like that then I will most certainly act by calling an ambulance. Or, as a minimum, ask him there is something I can do. There are probably even some rules on ‘criminal neglect’ that cover this area. Or we could just call it ‘common decency’. When the incident is over, that will be it and I will never hear from it again. But drunks falling over? No. People fall over all the time and it is not a particularly big deal.

Except if you live in China.

The other day an old man in Henan fell off his tricycle and hit his head. Read the news story below:

(Netease) Yangze Evening news reported, on July 11 at noon, an old man fell on the ground while riding a tricycle on the Xinghua Yangshan Bridge. He lay on the ground and could not get up. For as long as 15 minutes, many people passed through there, some even stopped by and watched, but not one person gave the old man a hand to help him up. Why is that? According to explanation, the main reason why many people are reluctant to help is because fear of being framed for their good intentions. However some people also said, if they were at the scene, they would create the “evidence of being innocent” and at the same time help the old man.

Yesterday afternoon, a forum post titled “Elderly falls in the middle of the street, many passerby do not dare to help” appeared on Xinghua City 400 (400.com.cn) website. The poster “Peng Peng” said, on the same day around 12 pm, he was riding a motorcycle home from the local fruit market, when passing by Xinghua Yangshan Bridge he saw a old man lying in the middle of the road, next to him was a small tricycle. The old man was lying on the ground motionless, with blood seeping through his left eyebrow, probably had lost control of his bladder also because his shorts were wet.

Many people watching the scene, but on one was helping the elderly. Someone even reminded the others at the scene, “Cannot help him up, it will ‘stick’ to your hands”. “Peng Peng” dialed 110 and 120 and then took these pictures with his camera. The old man lay in the middle of the road for about 15 minutes then was picked up by the ambulance.

“Peng Peng’s” post caused many local internet users’ concerns. Hundreds read the post in short time and many left comments.

 

One Internet user witnessed the scene said it happened in front of his shop. He went to look after many people gathered. At the scene, he heard someone was reminding people, “Don’t help, be careful later his family blames all on you.” Sure enough, the crowd of people at the scene just “watched the excitement” and no one gave a helping hand. He saw no one was helping and thought of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” so he returned back to his shop.  (On November 26, 2006, in Nanjing, a man helped an old lady who felt on the floor to get up on a bus ended up being accused for causing her injury. He was sued by the old lady Xu’s family for 130,000 yuan of medical cost. The incident caused great debate on the Internet at the time. Later they settled on an agreement after negotiation. The exact amount was not publicized but was rumored to be 40,000)

Another Internet user said, a university student in Henan also helped an elderly up who felt on the floor, but he ended up being sentenced to pay 80,000 yuan as compensation for causing the injury. Therefore when people see this kind of things, the only thing they will do is calling the police. But he said if someone was willing to record the entire process with a video camera, he would consider helping the old man.

In the comments, reporter saw many different views. Someone said, we should not doubt everyone in the world just because of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” and the “Henna university student incident”. Imagine how you would feel if the person lying in the middle of the road was our family member. We should always help. Of course, while doing a good deed we should also use our head. For example, in order to give self the “evidence of being innocent”, you can talk to the old man, and record the conversation, or record the process on video with your cell phone.

A few years ago I remember I was walking with a friend on the street here in Copenhagen. Next to us, suddenly, a drunk that we were passing collapsed (?) or fell down on the ground. ‘So what’ I thought. This country has liberal alcohol policies and a generous welfare system. Who wouldn’t expect to see drunks falling over on the street?

I continued to walk on but this particular friend of mine rushed back to the guy to put him back on his feet again. When he came back he asked me”Didn’t you see that guy? He might have been in trouble”. “Sure, I saw him but, generally speaking, drunks falling over are not my problem. Next time I see one I will do the same.”

If I see a person bleeding on the ground or in an epileptic fit or something like that then I will most certainly act by calling an ambulance. Or, as a minimum, ask him there is something I can do. There are probably even some rules on ‘criminal neglect’ that cover this area. Or we could just call it ‘common decency’. When the incident is over, that will be it and I will never hear from it again. But drunks falling over? No. People fall over all the time and it is not a particularly big deal.

Except if you live in China.

The other day an old man in Henan fell off his tricycle and hit his head. Read the news story below:

(Netease) Yangze Evening news reported, on July 11 at noon, an old man fell on the ground while riding a tricycle on the Xinghua Yangshan Bridge. He lay on the ground and could not get up. For as long as 15 minutes, many people passed through there, some even stopped by and watched, but not one person gave the old man a hand to help him up. Why is that? According to explanation, the main reason why many people are reluctant to help is because fear of being framed for their good intentions. However some people also said, if they were at the scene, they would create the “evidence of being innocent” and at the same time help the old man.

Yesterday afternoon, a forum post titled “Elderly falls in the middle of the street, many passerby do not dare to help” appeared on Xinghua City 400 (400.com.cn) website. The poster “Peng Peng” said, on the same day around 12 pm, he was riding a motorcycle home from the local fruit market, when passing by Xinghua Yangshan Bridge he saw a old man lying in the middle of the road, next to him was a small tricycle. The old man was lying on the ground motionless, with blood seeping through his left eyebrow, probably had lost control of his bladder also because his shorts were wet.

Many people watching the scene, but on one was helping the elderly. Someone even reminded the others at the scene, “Cannot help him up, it will ‘stick’ to your hands”. “Peng Peng” dialed 110 and 120 and then took these pictures with his camera. The old man lay in the middle of the road for about 15 minutes then was picked up by the ambulance.

“Peng Peng’s” post caused many local internet users’ concerns. Hundreds read the post in short time and many left comments.

 

One Internet user witnessed the scene said it happened in front of his shop. He went to look after many people gathered. At the scene, he heard someone was reminding people, “Don’t help, be careful later his family blames all on you.” Sure enough, the crowd of people at the scene just “watched the excitement” and no one gave a helping hand. He saw no one was helping and thought of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” so he returned back to his shop.  (On November 26, 2006, in Nanjing, a man helped an old lady who felt on the floor to get up on a bus ended up being accused for causing her injury. He was sued by the old lady Xu’s family for 130,000 yuan of medical cost. The incident caused great debate on the Internet at the time. Later they settled on an agreement after negotiation. The exact amount was not publicized but was rumored to be 40,000)

Another Internet user said, a university student in Henan also helped an elderly up who felt on the floor, but he ended up being sentenced to pay 80,000 yuan as compensation for causing the injury. Therefore when people see this kind of things, the only thing they will do is calling the police. But he said if someone was willing to record the entire process with a video camera, he would consider helping the old man.

In the comments, reporter saw many different views. Someone said, we should not doubt everyone in the world just because of the “Nanjing old lady Xu incident” and the “Henna university student incident”. Imagine how you would feel if the person lying in the middle of the road was our family member. We should always help. Of course, while doing a good deed we should also use our head. For example, in order to give self the “evidence of being innocent”, you can talk to the old man, and record the conversation, or record the process on video with your cell phone.

Report from “Special Seminar on Diplomacy in East Asia: Japan, US and China relations in the 21 century”

I get frequent email updates from the Japanese Embassy here in Copenhagen about events such as film screenings or art exhibitions. This month finally there was an event related international relations – and held at my alma mater, Copenhagen Business School no less. Diplomacy in East Asia: Japan, US and China Relations in the 21st Century.

Key note speaker at the event was professor at Kobe University Dr. Toshihiro Minohara. A further panel consisted of Dr. Yang Jiang (Asia Research Centre at Copenhagen Business School), Mr. Jens Sejrup (University of Copenhagen) and Japanese ambassador to Denmark Seiichi Kondo who has a very impressive CV (pdf).

I get frequent email updates from the Japanese Embassy here in Copenhagen about events such as film screenings or art exhibitions. This month finally there was an event related international relations – and held at my alma mater, Copenhagen Business School no less. Diplomacy in East Asia: Japan, US and China Relations in the 21st Century.

Key note speaker at the event was professor at Kobe University Dr. Toshihiro Minohara. A further panel consisted of Dr. Yang Jiang (Asia Research Centre at Copenhagen Business School), Mr. Jens Sejrup (University of Copenhagen) and Japanese ambassador to Denmark Seiichi Kondo who has a very impressive CV (pdf).

My View – Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America

Just read an article in the New York times entitled “Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America.”

The article piqued my interest in that I’m all for building bridges between cultures and this program is a wonderful way to help American students learn the language of a country that will be (and is already) very important on the world stage.  The article on the overall was very good but there was one statement that I take great issue with.

This is what separates those who have lived abroad (or really try hard to understand other cultures) vs. those with a closed mentality and believe everyone and everything should be more like America.  Here is the statement:

Just read an article in the New York times entitled “Guest-Teaching Chinese, and Learning America.”

The article piqued my interest in that I’m all for building bridges between cultures and this program is a wonderful way to help American students learn the language of a country that will be (and is already) very important on the world stage.  The article on the overall was very good but there was one statement that I take great issue with.

This is what separates those who have lived abroad (or really try hard to understand other cultures) vs. those with a closed mentality and believe everyone and everything should be more like America.  Here is the statement:

We're All Socialists

For the past year I keep hearing this word “Socialist” being flung around like a 10lb bag of crap. On the “conservative” channels it seems this is an extremely dirty word and akin to calling someones mother a so on and so forth. In the political blogs there is always some comment or other about socialism and for the few of you that actually do read my blog your feelings are already starting to tilt one way or another.
However, everyone can relax because this isn’t skewed to one side or another and frankly I’ve become bored with the whole political drama scene. It’s like being stuck watching a play that keeps getting more ridiculous and they are just pushing to see how far they can go before people walk out,, but unfortunately half the crowd knows they are locked in and the other half are starting to root for one side or the other!
So back to Socialism, before I studied abroad I really didn’t know what it was. I did know the USA was “Capitalist” and ergo Socialism must not be correct. Then, I met all these Europeans who seemed to be a bit more sophisticated about politics than I and half of them were from Socialist countries! One part of me thought they should be wearing all red with hammers and sickles on their heads trying to get me to join a commune.
But, no, they were wearing normal clothing (even slightly stylish) and did not ask me once to join a revolutionary party. Over time as I became familiar with other countries I thought whatever system they were in must not be all that bad because everyone seemed pretty normal. Granted, I did not study the different systems (except Capitalism because I did go to business school) and therefore did not write a Ph.D thesis on the topic but I felt I knew enough and would learn a sufficient amount through osmosis. The point is, I learned that their countries were pretty cool but did not give any other thought to their economic models.
Fast forward to today I keep hearing people yell and scream about this or that being socialist. So I got to thinking, well, what is Socialism? From my laymans perspective it seems it is a system where the Government puts constraints on people concerning taxes with the aim of leveling out the inequalities to varying degrees. In other words, it gives to people with less and takes from people with more.
Again, I do not have any strong feelings one way or the other because I felt that economic models didn’t really matter in my daily life and were best left to people that want to concern themselves with such matters.
But, as this word kept being tossed about at anything even remotely seen as “liberal” I got to thinking that in some way or another we are all Socialist.
How can this be?!! Certainly, the USA was founded on the entrepreneur by whose sweat, tears and brains the USA has lead the world in so many categories! But then, how many entrepreneurs do I actually know? And, how many people do I know that go to work for some business and expected to be paid accordingly for their work?
In other words is it not true that most people work for some company and expect to be GIVEN a paycheck? The more I thought about it, a true Capitalist starts his/her own business and gives the workers money for their time and effort. But you may say, it’s a fair trade, money for services rendered! This is true, but how many of us could say that another could not do as well or even better than we do? Therefore, we rely on our company and try to hold on as tightly as possible so we are not replaced by another. Is it not true that very few people are so indispensable?
More specifically, could it not be said that employers take care of their employees and in their benevolence not fire and hire so quickly? If we look at Unions which were designed to look out for the easily expendable, would that not be considered a form of Socialism? Surely HR managers are aware of image and lawsuits that could arise should they be so careless with their personnel.
As individuals move out of the blue collar work and to white collar then these hints of socialism do become less as they have to perform quite well to keep their jobs. The sales team has to bring revenue, accountants keep the books and so on. But if we examine a corporation carefully how much “fat” is there in that company?
In this financial crisis we do see a bit of Capitalism at work with so many being laid off from their jobs. Another phrase I’m seeing quite frequently is that “people are looking for jobs.” In other words they need an employer to give them something to do and pay them money for their time. Our economy has become so advanced and diversified that it would be very difficult for any one individual to be completely self sufficient. Instead, we all have to learn skills to function in very specific categories. The workers RELY on the system to pay them a salary. For example:
1. The barber needs people to come to his/her shop so he can cut their hair.
2. People that sell guns and butter (economics 101 anyone?) need people to buy their wares and the purchasers need people/things to shoot or to make confectionery.
3. Laywers need people to sue.
Therefore, if nobody needed a haircut, there was nobody to shoot, confections were not being baked and there was nobody to sue then the professions above would be worth nothing. Instead, these people rely on others to come give them employment.
Perhaps we all need a haircut now and then so unless we want to cut our own hair barbers are necessary. AND if I want to shoot someone then the gun seller would come in handy and should I want to eat cake then the confectioner would be useful as well. The point of the whole matter is that in such a complex economy we are all relying on each other one way or another. In a way, this could be considered a bit socialist as we all need to be a bit social to buy and sell to each other. If we were not social then perhaps we would be stuck inside all the time with very long hair, not shooting anyone and have nothing nice to eat and nobody to sue!
In it’s most basic form wouldn’t the Capitalist go out into the woods, build his own house, hire lumberjacks to harvest trees, sell the trees to China, buy wooden products from China and sell them to his lumberjacks ensuring a wonderful profit! This man would be a true capitalist and everyone else could be considered socialists because without the capitalist they would have nothing left to do but sit inside their house with long hair!
Now if we multiply this scenario by a million and add other employment besides cutting trees would it not be a similar scenario?
As for fair pay for fair work, well the lumberjack had to learn how to cut down trees somewhere. Isn’t it wonderful that we live in a society where either our parents or the state provides us, nay GIVES US, an education. Sure some of us come out with loans which we have to pay off but would that not require a company to GIVE US a paycheck?
In fact, thinking like a Capitalist, it would be much better to bring in workers from another country who demand much less of a wage to cut down the trees and then the Capitalist could make even more money! BUT Wait, THERE’S MORE! (R.I.P. Billy Mays). It would seem that we have laws limiting immigration so the Capitalist cannot bring in cheaper workers and therefore must hire the more expensive lumberjacks here locally.
Well, that to me doesn’t seem very Capitalistic at all. The Capitalist has a right to make as much money as possible and shouldn’t be forced to use local labor. Tree cutting doesn’t take that much expertise now does it? So there we have it! People having their jobs protected to a varying degree from Unions, to immigration laws. So how can these so called CINO (Capitalists in Name Only) be for immigration laws? Don’t they want to make more money? How absurd!
Now changing gears and arriving to the opinion if someone is against or for Capitalism and or Socialism. (It would seem to me that one could be both – I am depending on the day and my mood.) All these people spewing one opinion or another seem to have recently obtained them from these national Media types. They watch their show (On Fox or MSNBC ,,choose your poison) get all fired up, and then go onto the comment pages and cause a raucous! But the little devil on their shoulder should constantly be whispering “These opinions were GIVEN to you……..”
Therefore, could there not be such a thing as an intellectual socialist who listens to opinions in the media, chooses which side he/she agrees with then gets up on the soap box and starts singing the praises of either idea!
I can’t imagine that these ideas have come spontaneously into their heads without some assistance. If we imagine a person in the woods who has never had human contact, do we really think they would be considering which is better, Socialism or Capitalism? How about the super professor who has written a lot of books on the subject. Has not the professor spent countless hours in the library studying up on the matter and would it be inconceivable that his/her opinions are derived from the books they have read? How many of the talking heads came up with truly unique ideas to these competing ideologies?? AND how many have stitched together the ideas of others to formulate something they believe might be unique, but in reality is just an accumulation of other peoples ideas!? I suspect that those talking heads are in reality “intellectual socialists” as they borrowed (or stole) from the ideas of someone else.
If we were truly Capitalist would it not be prudent to take this idea of Capitalism, break it down to its individual parts and pay the creators of these ideas accordingly? Perhaps everyone would have to pay royalties to Adam Smith (or his descendants since he is dead.) MAN, what a cluster that would be. Every time the talking head said something their bank account amount would become less! And where did Adam Smith get his ideas from? Perhaps some investigative work into antiquity would be required and soon enough we would perhaps find ourselves back with the Greeks!
In conclusion, could it not be possible that everyone with a job and or an idea, has been given such, and could be regarded a socialist unless of course the individual in question was the outright owner or came up with the idea with absolutely no academic inputs!
As a last thought, and breaking my previous statement that I had “concluded,” I also hear this word called “freedom” being tossed about quite randomly. To be honest, every time I hear that word I can’t help but imagining the commenter as some renegade with a bandanna tied around his head with a gun in hand running around the words yelling “Freeeeedoommm” as Mel Gibson did in Braveheart.
Now I’m not against freedom at all and am actually quite for it. But again, if we are going to go for something lets go all the way and not take half measures. It would seem that in the USA I have to carry a passport and cannot get in our out of the country without one. Did you know that it wasn’t until WWI that people were actually saddled with these things? When I come into the country I also have to answer a series of questions which not answered correctly could put me in the slammer.
Furthermore, I am not allowed to drive my car at 150 miles per hour.
Ok,, forget that last one, I understand that the law is there and in it’s essence says I’m free to “swing my fist as long as it does not hit anothers nose.” Well, what if I want to smoke a pound of crack? I’m not allowed to do that either and I’m not hitting anyone in the nose. I’m also only allowed to have one wife! Who was smoking the crack when they made that law eh?
Now, back to seriousness, it would seem that laws are made to keep society functioning well based on the principles of some party-poopers called the Puritans! And these Puritans came from England! Thus it just goes to show we can blame all the worlds problems on the English. AND these ideas about Capitalism apparently came from some bloke named Adam Smith who was also ENGLISH!!! Man, for such a small country they certainly cause a lot of trouble.
But getting back to Freedom, it would seem there are all sorts of laws derived from England which do not allow me to be free. So what is all this hooting and hollering about freedom? It would seem we are already compromised and just begging for more yard time even though we are mostly stuck in our cell at the jail. If I were completely free then I think I would move to Japan and become a ninja but unfortunately I could only stay for three months without a work permit and the USA would try to take my yen in taxes. So I’m not exactly free with these yokes around my neck am I?
In conclusion (part deux) it seems that we are not completely Capitalist nor completely free at the moment. It would also appear that we all have to compromise a little to keep society functioning and it all just comes down to arguments about how much. Uncle Sam already takes an obscene of our money so why is everyone just complaining about it now? I believe that before and after the Civil War there were no taxes (or very little). Shouldn’t that be the true aim rather then complaining about healthcare??? My healthcare plan is to not get sick, not take any drugs and go to the gym. Yet those complaining on both sides either want it from the Government or from their employer. Either way, to a purist like me, both sides want to be GIVEN it one way or another. Some just put a bit too much worth in their skills which could most likely be outsourced to India so it would probably be wise to not be so pompous. The entire system is taking care of people one way or another.
Everyone is a socialist.

Olympic Torch – San Francisco

It seems not a day goes by without some mention of protests and the Olympic torch. I for one didn’t pay much attention until today when I read the Sunday edition of the San Francisco Chronicle 4-6-2008. The articles “2 views of Beijing as Olympics approach,” contained “Tibetan Americans: Bay Area exiles fight to keep culture alive” and “Chinese Americans: Most proud of Olympics, hurt by protests.”
At first, I was intrigued and thought I might gain some insight into the differing views concerning the Olympic torch. However, both articles quickly came to disappoint with naive quotes and wishy washy bleeding-heart exile stories.
Let’s start with the article “Tibetan Americans.” It begins with Tibetan Americans flocking to San Francisco to participate in the “Tibetan Freedom Torch” and to protest the Olympic torch relay which will happen this Wednesday. Then it describes the protests over in Berkeley (those people are always protesting something) and I start to get annoyed with this article. I think to myself “Gee, another protest in Berkeley, big surprise.” After this I come to the kicker which is typical Berkeley. The journalist decides to use a quote from a homeless man who asks “How can you take a piece of land that belongs to someone else?”
It is at this moment that I contemplate changing my political affiliation from liberal to conservative. I can bear all the whiny whiny coming out of Berkeley and I can even try to understand why the newspaper chose a quote from a homeless man out of all the other possible sources. But what I cannot abide is the sheer stupidity of the quote “How can you take a piece of land that belongs to someone else?” From this point on, I am trying to choose my words carefully but in whichever direction I take this I’m definitely going to be in trouble with the liberals.
I believe the journalist chose a homeless man because in the psyche of Berkeley, homeless people are very likely to be genius ex-professors who either snapped, or chose to live outside the confines of a normal life. I believe homeless people deserve compassion and help but the city elevates them entirely too much. It’s not that a homeless person said this that bothers me but instead the extreme naivety of world affairs and a newspaper such as the San Francisco Chronicle should know better.
In case it doesn’t, if they would like to know “How can you take a piece of land that belongs to someone else,” it might do some good to go ask the Native Americans that same question. If that doesn’t suffice, you could then ask Mexico which Berkeley happened to be a part of not long ago, or should we go back to the Spanish crown? In any case, the exact spot where the homeless man asked that question had probably been taken quite a few times as one Native American tribe conquered another, then Spain, then Mexico, then the Americans. All of them took the land from someone and therefore to answer his question, “Well, it’s quite easy!”
If the Chronicle is still not convinced then perhaps we could ask the British, French, Spanish, Russians, or any other conquering people on this infinite list. In the end, I do not blame the homeless guy at all but the Chronicle for including such an asinine quote.
The article then goes on to give a brief history of the relocation of Tibetans that took place here in the Bay Area and includes such heart wrenching phrases as “She said her parents once had horses and yaks, but left Tibet with nothing.” Then there is the heartwarming story of Tulku who listened to the song “San Francisco” on his radio in India. Now I am a liberal and I wish the best for the people of Tibet, but such sappy journalism ruins my day.
Now we will go to the article Chinese Americans. The first thing that struck out at me was that Chinese Americans are “hurt by protests.” At first, it made me smile as I recalled my experience in a Shanghai market where everyone was yelling at me. I had thought the Chinese people were tough as nails then. But then I realized this was San Francisco and people are very emotional here. I also thought of my wonderful Chinese friends in China and how the Olympics must be such a point of pride for them and I began to smile as I imagined their enthusiasm.
Unfortunately, this good feeling quickly dissipated as I got four paragraphs into the article with this quote “We understand your rights of free speech, by all means, but be a gracious host, be sensitive to the fact that in San Francisco one-third of your inhabitants are Asians.” said attorney Edward Liu. “Many of us, Chinese Americans, in the city, we may not be supporting the Chinese government, but to politicize this game and to use this torch relay as a platform to bash China to me is unacceptable.”
Just who exactly is he talking to? This quote is so full of nonsense I can hardly figure out where to begin! After a couple minutes of thought, I’ll start with the fact that most of the anti-Chinese protests have been full of Asians! Last month it was the Falun Gong, and about two weeks ago it was a Tibetan protest parade which ruined my nap. This weekend it was mostly Asian faces on Union Square! So why do I get the feeling that in his quote he is referring to white people? Outside of California I don’t think most people even know nor care where Tibet is!
Second of all, he has just thrown the entire Asian population onto his Chinese Olympics cause. In Asia, there are very many countries that are not China and I do not think it is appropriate to lump them all together. I think the Japanese and Vietnamese might have some serious issues with that.
Third he says “we understand your rights of free speech,” and from his use of “we” he has separated his Chinese-American group from other Americans. America is wonderful in it’s diversity but apparently he wants his group to be different. And being America that is just fine and I’m glad his group understands we have free speech here. Unfortunately San Francisco City Hall does not and had planned to set up “Free Speech Zones” for protesters during the Olympic torch run. Last time I checked all of America was a Free Speech Zone but I’m glad Mr. Liu and City hall agree to allow me my rights guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.
Further, when have the Olympics not been political? There have always been politics involved as far as I can remember. If it is not political, then why was China so eager to host them? It certainly can’t be because of the clean air! China wants the Olympics for the international respect it affords and they were awarded the games partly in hopes it would clean up its human rights record, both which happen to be political reasons. The trite argument that the Olympics are just games with athletes showcasing their skills with no political aspect at all is simply laughable. Did we forget Hitler, the Cold War, Cuban athletes, etc so quickly? I remember when the USA team simply had to destroy the Soviet team,,, but as Mr. Liu would have us believe, that too was simply some guys in shorts chasing each other around a track.
The fact of the matter is he is an attorney and should know better. I wonder if I’ll get sued for using my right to free speech?
The article goes on to say “It is really an insult to the people of China and Chinese Americans. None of them (Mayor Newsom) even thought about consulting the Chinese community,” said Ling Chi Wang, professor emeritus of ethnic studies at UC Berkeley.
Well, we’re back in Berkeley again and another shocker, some professor is angry. What I want to know is why the city is so scared of running the torch through China town. I’ve got a solution for City hall and Ms. Wang. Go ahead and take the torch unguarded through Chinatown and let’s see exactly what your Chinese Americans do with it.
In case the irony is lost, the reason City Hall doesn’t want it to go through Chinatown is precisely because of Chinese American protesters!!!!!!! But being Berkeley you can take a problem, twist it entirely around and blame it on everyone else. The Tibetans aside the Falun Gong will probably be ready with water hoses at every corner.
She goes on to say the contrast between how the torch is received in San Francisco and other countries will “embarrass not just the disrupters (sic) but sully the image of San Francisco – and America.”
After that quote I was highly irked. Ms.Wang has most likely lived in California all of her life and believes this state is representative of the rest of America. I however have a news flash for Ms. Wang. The rest of America is not like California and most Americans do not care if China were to change it’s name to Tibet, Tibet to China or if the Dalai Lama becomes king of Shanghai! Therefore, please do not say that the image of America will be sullied because the majority of protesters will be Chinese-Americans and hippies and the majority of America is not Chinese American nor hippies.
The only redeeming portion of this article comes from Tong Defa, spokesman for the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco who said “It’s always a one-sided story. The Chinese government has spent a lot of money restoring the temples; many Tibetan schools have bilingual education.”
In this he is exactly correct. It is always a one sided story and the media does not portray the good things China has done for Tibet. From the Chinese point of view, Tibet was an uncivilized, backward and superstitious country and China is trying to bring it into the 21 century from the 14th in which it’s people had been living. Sounds exactly like the same logic the French used in Vietnam, or the British all over the globe. True or not? Guess it depends on weather you ask the colonizer or colonizee (sic).
However, Mr. Defa is correct in more ways than he intended. It is a one-sided story here but it is even more of a one-sided story in China. Go to China and the people there know nothing of the unrest concerning the torch and Tibet. Therefore we have two “one-sided” views and if we just put them together we could get a whole picture!!! LOL. Also, having lived in a communist country myself, when he says “Tibetan schools have bilingual education” this means that China is trying to integrate Tibetans into the majority Han culture “Sinification” and thus dilute their cultural identity. Sounds much better when he said bilingual education however. Kind of like those in labor camps are getting “technical, on the job training.”
So in the end, where do I stand on this Olympic Torch issue? Well, I guess I’m right in the middle. I am happy for the Chinese people and I do hope they win a lot of gold medals. I can imagine my friends cheering wildly for their country and feeling a wonderful sense of pride. I actually was in France during the 2000 Olympics and watched the USA basketball team pound the Chinese team with one of my Chinese friends who was none too enthused. I’m sure the Chinese basketball team will do much better this year with Yao Ming. (does he get to play?)
On the other had, the Olympics is the perfect time to protest as the international spotlight is shining bright. It’s impossible to separate the Olympics from politics so why not embrace the political aspect head on?
Finally, the Olympic torch is coming through town this Wednesday and I’ll be sure to stay as far away as I possibly can.