Monday, August 25, 2008

Olympics: China and IOC must learn from mistakes and uphold human rights values

AI has criticised the IOC's failure to hold China to human rights reform:

"...As the Beijing Olympics ended, Amnesty International today accused the Chinese authorities of prioritizing image over substance as it continued to persecute and punish activists and journalists during the Games.

The organization also criticised the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for tarnishing the human rights legacy of the Olympics by turning a blind eye to the abuses.

“The Beijing Olympics have been a spectacular sporting event but they took place against a backdrop of human rights violations, with activists prevented from expressing their views peacefully and many in detention when they have committed no crime,” said Roseann Rife, Amnesty International’s Asia-Pacific Deputy Program Director in Hong Kong...."

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Alert & Alarmed - The IOC shuffle!

And, they shoot Tibetans who just don't want to be ruled by tyrants, and they punish grannies who have the temerity to protest their treatment by the state. Its just gets better!

Beijing Olympics Closing Ceremony - Don't Forget Tibet

Channel Seven refused to show the new Tibet ad the Australia Tibet Council produced with GetUp for the Beijing Olympics closing ceremony - so ATC booked simultaneous spots on every other network, including channels Nine, Ten and SBS.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Howard's legacy

A recent post to Road to Surfdom on "Howard's services to Parliament" caught my eye. The wash-up from most of the comments would suggest Howard should be taken to a dark place and required to commit some form of redemptive act involving about a decade of self-flagellation to answer for the 'lost decade'.

Of course these things are only ever made right in the movies, but then again! I added my two bob's worth:

"Agree with all the scatological descriptions of erstwhile leader. However, it is in the order of things that unless the citizenry take the Mussolini option (ie hang the tyrant with spouse), breaking laws and violating human rights in the process, or require permanent hibernation such as Nixon experienced, invariably rotten leaders in democracies manage some form of rehabilitation, often enabled by their political opponents. This ensures they suffer a similar fate when they lose office. All in all, I would rather enjoy the benefits of a robust democracy than the Pyrrhic satisfaction of seeing one tyranny replaced by another. However, I would like to see more investigation of the human rights violations on Howard’s watch and an accounting of the rule of law kind. Perhaps the bauble round his proverbial might look a little tarnished in the wash up."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Free Tibet Olympics III

Protesters, including Australian Nicole Rycroft, unfurl a Free Tibet banner down the side of Chinese state television's new building.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

China's police state Olympics - the 'no fun' games

The IOC have still to justify their abject failure to ensure China fulfills its commitments on human rights and press freedom.

Citizens are nowhere to be found at these soulless games. PLA units in civvies were deployed to contrive a human presence in areas such as the cycling route, but it did'nt fool anyone. Party apparatchiks have obviously been issued large swags of tickets, but only show up when China is a key participant.

Rights to protest have been denied the citizenry, despite claims to the contrary by the regime. Any foreigner who deigns to raise a voice of protest is quashed ruthlessly. A British journalist covering a 'free Tibet' protest has been roughed up by secret police.

Let's face it, this is a police state that denies its citizens the rights people in progressive democracies take for granted. It cannot abide criticism, although it clearly has inordinate power. It is an immature body politic that is insecure and lacking self-confidence in its image of itself.

Despite the synchronized extravaganza of the opening ceremony, one got the feeling that key areas of the China narrative were suppressed. However, the cultural chips are on full display. A young girl was'nt allowed to sing at the ceremony because she was not pretty enough.

Echoes of the cultural revolution can be heard resounding through the empty spaces and seats that are characterizing these Games, bereft of real people and closely guarded by the regime's praetorian guard. Armoured vehicles outside the media centre is an abiding image that a studied eye cannot missconstrue.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Reporters without Borders - 'Rights group hijacks Chinese radio frequency'

News media are reporting Reporters Without Borders sent out a 20-minute program in French, Chinese and English slamming the Communist Government's control of the media and free expression.

"It's our way of saying to them, despite everything you do, here are the voices of people you want to silence and they are speaking, in the heart of Beijing on the very first day of the Olympics," a spokesman said.

It is not known how many people were able to listen to the program.

The group says it was the first broadcast by a radio station not controlled by China's Government since the Communists took power in 1949.

Free Tibet Olympics II

A bright light discernible through the smog!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Launch of TV Ad - 'Please Mr. Rudd, Speak Out For Tibet'

On the eve of Kevin Rudd's departure to the Beijing Olympics, GetUp and the Australia Tibet Council are launching a television ad appealing to the Prime Minister to use his trip to speak out for the human rights of Tibetans. You can view the ad at

The ad will be shown in a mixture of TV advertising slots on a variety of regional and metro stations around the telecast of the Beijing Olympics opening ceremony.

The Prime Minister has also been given a copy of the ad as he prepares to leave for Beijing to attend the opening ceremony and meet with Chinese leaders

Click here to watch the ad.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

ABC 'Insiders' - why are the right wing pamphleteers able to dominate the show?

I am curious why the Insider personnel are structured around three journalists, either from the 'free' or Murdoch Press, and the inevitable one eyed pamphleteer. I understand it may make for better 'theatre', a certain frisson, but to balance the ledger there should be a pamphleteer from the other side of politics.

The right-wing 'commentariat' do not bring much intellectual rigour to the table, particular those that are grossly impressed with themselves. You know who I mean, don't you?

It is sad to note GM being typecast in that role occasionally as he is capable of much better. For the sake of our cerebral health please balance the fare or at least have an electric muzzle that Barry can apply as the fair wind turns foul.

The Howard years are behind us after all!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Human Rights in Australia - Adele Horin: 'An era of shame we can ill afford to forgive or forget'

Following is an excerpt from Adele Horin's article in today's online SMH:

"A shameful era is over in Australian politics. The Minister for Immigration, Chris Evans, has announced fundamental changes to a detention regime that was the cruellest in the Western world.

It is cause for celebration, but it would be a terrible waste if Australians failed to learn the lessons of that time. It should never be forgotten that Australian politicians, with mass support, locked thousands of children and adults behind razor wire in desert camps, demonised them, stripped them of their names, turned the water cannon on them and drove many of them insane. This treatment broke their spirits and damaged their minds in ways Saddam Hussein and the Taliban never did. The vast majority were eventually found to be genuine refugees.

It would do a disservice to the refugees if their ordeal taught us nothing. What is the lesson? It is, as I see it, for a country never to allow the ends to justify its means, especially when the means involve cruelty to children. Second, to respect the rule of law and the human rights that underpin a civilised society. Innocent people are destroyed when a government jettisons basic legal principles and betrays time-honoured values."

What a shame! Not enough people were listening when they should have been. As a collective, we averted our gaze. Hopefully, never again!