Contemporary China-bashing

Since the military suppression of the anti-China protests in the Tibetan capital Lhasa last month, the focus on China’s treatment of its Tibetan population has intensified. But while it has been the West doing the focusing, the Beijing Olympics has provided the lens. Everything related to the games, as French president Nicolas Sarkozy’s recent threat to boycott the Olympics opening ceremony shows, has now become an opportunity for moral grandstanding, an opportunity to portray China as everything we in the West are not. The 31-mile journey of the Olympic torch, from Wembley in north-west London to Greenwich in the south-east, was to prove no exception.

Yesterday morning at the British Museum stage of the route — one of the protest points for the campaign organisation Free Tibet — the air was already thick with indignation.

Grown-up politics goes up in flames: Yesterday’s public grappling with the Olympic torch shone a light on the self-satisfied, cartoonish nature of contemporary China-bashing.” By Tim Black and Brendan O’Neill, spiked, April 7, 2008

The attacks on China’s boys-in-blue looks like history repeated as farce. In much of the coverage of the torch relay, commentators have talked about the ‘supine’ British government and the ‘cowardly’ Bush administration which are failing to stand up against the brutes from the East, while cheering the French protesters and the Australian government for taking the Chinese on. As in the past, the driving force behind this outbreak of China-bashing is a perception that the West is in political and social decline, and the East might take its opportunity to snuff out ‘our’ civilisation once and for all. That 15 men in tracksuits could give rise to such an hysterical, out-of-control, fin-de-siècle, prejudicial debate reveals so very much more about contemporary Western fear and irrationalism than it does about Chinese wickedness.

The invasion of the robotic thugs: The attacks on the ‘horrible, ominous, retarded’ Chinese men guarding the Olympic flame are historical prejudice repeated as farce.” By Brendan O’Neill, spiked, April 9, 2009

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is apologizing to those who were disappointed when the Olympic torch relay route was changed Wednesday. However, the mayor isn’t apologizing for his decision.

Faced with thousands of anti-China protesters, San Francisco authorities pulled a last-minute switch during the torch relay yesterday. The late change rerouted the torch away from thousands who had crowded the city’s waterfront to witness the flame’s symbolic journey to the Beijing Games.

San Francisco Officials Defend Torch Decision,” KCBS, April 10, 2008

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