Saturday, April 12, 2008

Olympic farce: Buenos Aires edition

The torch of shame did Buenos Aires this morning, where it got through mostly unscathed. Protestors threw water bombs and staged an alternative relay for a "human rights torch", but there were none of the ugly scenes seen in Europe and America. However, watching the video, there were three-times as many Chinese security thugs jogging alongside, and even more police (BBC reports twice as many as deployed in Paris). So, they can have a relay, but the security has to be so thick that no-one can actually see it.

The Guardian has an update on where the torch is going next. While it is expected to have an easy time in Dar es Salaam and Islamabad, it is likely to face severe problems in Delhi, and in Jakarta it will be restricted to doing a lap of the stadium (and even then will require 1,500 police to guard it). Canberra is already promising a show, and no-one really expects the torch to actually make it there. The Chinese regime just seem to be too sensitive about people upstaging their propaganda coup.

Meanwhile, the European Parliament has called for European leaders to boycott the opening ceremony. We should join them. Currently the government is planning to send both Governor-General Anand Satyanand and Minister of Sport Clayton Cosgrove to represent us in Beijing. If they go, they'll be signifying our approval of China's actions in Tibet and its abuse of human rights elsewhere. Instead of doing that, we should join Europe in making their presence conditional on China engaging in meaningful dialogue with the Dalai Lama over Tibet. Anything less betrays our previously strong support for human rights, and marks us out as a Chinese client-state.