Zizek Does A Book Review

Actually a short and coherent piece on China’s Communist Party in LBR:

Mao may be 30 per cent bad, but he continues to be celebrated as the founding father of the nation, his body in a mausoleum and his image on every banknote. In a clear case of fetishistic disavowal, everyone knows that Mao made errors and caused immense suffering, yet his image remains magically untainted. This way, the Chinese Communists can have their cake and eat it: economic liberalisation is combined with the continuation of Party rule.

Olympic Torch Protests.

As I was contemplating writing another post in the recent series Things As They Are as a rejoinder to Shahar’s rejoinder, I came across this discussion of the Olympic tradition of the torch – I thought this was a sort of common knowledge, but apparently some people believe that the ceremony of the Olympic torch goes back to the Greek Olympics…

In light of the recent protests against the Olympic Games in China, protests that are feared to continue, it is interesting that it takes The Independent to let everyone know that “torch procession” is a Nazi invention:

There is a two-word answer to those who think the Olympic torch is a symbol of harmony between nations that should be kept apart from politics – Adolf Hitler.

The ceremony played out on the streets of Paris yesterday did not originate in ancient Greece, nor even in the 19th century, when the Olympic movement was revived. The entire ritual, with its pagan overtones, was devised by a German named Dr Carl Diem, who ran the 1936 Olympics in Berlin.

Although he was not a Nazi, and was appointed to run the Olympics before the Nazis came to power, Diem adapted very quickly to the new regime, and ended the war as a fanatical military commander exhorting teenage Germans to die like Spartans rather than accept defeat. Thousands did, but not Diem, who lived to be 80.

He sold to Josef Goebbels – in charge of media coverage of the Games – the idea that 3,422 young Aryan runners should carry burning torches along the 3,422km route from the Temple of Hera on Mount Olympus to the stadium in Berlin.

It was his idea that the flame should be lit under the supervision of a High Priestess, using mirrors to concentrate the sun’s rays, and passed from torch to torch along the way, so that when it arrived in the Berlin stadium it would have a quasi-sacred purity.

In other words, people should protest the idea of maintaining a Nazi ritual, not the fact that China abuses Tibet and violates human rights. But then again we would have to stop using highways, another great Nazi idea… Continue reading

China Blocking Information About Tibet.

It was not difficult to predict that China will try to block the coverage of Tibet and its protests. No one likes a reporter there when you’re trying to violently suppress an uprising, a protest, or just a good old-fashioned march.  David Barboza of New York Times reports:

The Chinese government is restricting foreign journalists from entering Tibet and neighboring areas, and blocking some news, video and Internet reports about the protests there from appearing inside China, according to journalists working here.

For the past few days, CNN, the BBC, Google News, Yahoo and YouTube have been blocked or have faced temporary blackouts or service disruptions in some parts of China. Some foreign journalists also say their e-mail service has been disrupted.

Such measures are not unusual here. China strictly censors news that appears in the Chinese media and occasionally disrupts the activities of international news organizations and foreign Web sites operating in China, particularly if the content they are distributing is deemed politically offensive to the government. The rest of the article.

The official version of the events looks sort of like this: Continue reading

Китайские власти и иностранные туристы.

Китайские власти предложили иностранным туристам покинуть Тибет.

Это связано с массовыми беспорядками в Тибете, которые произошли в последние дни. Как передает ИТАР-ТАСС, власти Китая заявляют, что эти меры предпринимаются, исходя из интересов личной безопасности иностранцев. Накануне уже более 20 иностранных граждан покинули Тибет.

In a related story:

Tibet Protests Spread to Other Provinces

TONGREN, China (AP) — Protests spread from Tibet into three neighboring provinces Sunday as Tibetans defied a Chinese government crackdown, while the Dalai Lama decried what he called the “cultural genocide” taking place in his homeland.

Demonstrations widened to Tibetan communities in Sichuan, Qinghai and Gansu provinces, forcing authorities to mobilize security forces across a broad expanse of western China.

In Qinghai province, riot police sent to prevent protests set off tensions when they took up positions outside a monastery in Tongren. Dozens of monks, defying a directive not to gather in groups, marched to a hill where they set off fireworks and burned incense in what one monk said was a protest, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene. Continue reading

China Off The Top Ten, Wants To Be Back, Takes Immediate Action.

As has been widely reported, according to the State Department, China is no longer on the list of the worst human rights offenders. In a report released on Tuesday (3/11) State Department reviewed 190 countries and their human rights record in 2007:

Top offenders are North Korea, Iran, Syria, Myanmar, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Sudan, reported Ya Libnan, a Lebanese media outlet.

“Countries in which power was concentrated in the hands of unaccountable rulers remained the world’s most systematic human rights violators,” the report said.

China moved out of the Top 10, despite information that ‘its human rights record remain poor,” because it is listed in a section dealing with authoritarian countries undergoing economic reform “where the democratic political reform has not kept pace, and that is a completely accurate assessment,” said Johnathan Farrar, assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor.

The report said Russia, under Vladimir Putin’s presidency “continued to erode the government’s accountability to its citizens.” © 2008 United Press International.

Here is a section on China from the official report: Continue reading