New cells, different bastards, same totalitarianism

BBC - China has received a total of 77 applications to stage protests during the Olympic Games period - but none has been approved. Beijing's public security bureau said 74 applications were "withdrawn", two were "suspended" and one was "vetoed". China was praised by the International Olympic Committee when it said protest areas would be set up for the Olympics. But it appears no application has managed to meet China's strict rules on who can and cannot stage a protest. .... Some would-be protesters even appear to have been arrested after making applications to stage demonstrations.

The Australian - Take the case of the Chinese dissident He Depu. Like Solzhenitsyn, he was a scientist from a humble background who was emboldened to speak his thoughts because of a temporary political thaw, as a result of which he was able to edit a reform-minded magazine, and to participate in the Democracy Wall. Like Solzhenitsyn, he was arrested for penning a handful of relatively innocuous thoughts, on the internet blog of a recently arrested friend. Like Solzhenitsyn he was held for months in isolation without charge, badly beaten (so that he is now almost deaf), and finally sentenced to eight years in a labour camp. .... Some optimistic souls imagined that these Olympic Games might shine a light on China's disgraceful treatment of its political prisoners. IOC president Jacques Rogge himself at least pretended to such sentiments, in an article for the International Herald Tribune last year.

.... However, it seems a copy of Rogge's article made its way into Beijing's No2 Prison. There it found a response from the indomitable He Depu, a response which recently surfaced the West, by the usual circuitous route. He Depu begins by thanking Rogge for his concerns. He outlines in detail the decline in prison conditions in the Olympics lead-up: the lengthening periods of isolation, the further reduced diet and dwindling medical resources. He politely ventures to doubt whether the Olympics really is serving as the "movement for social progress" embodying "the values of humanity' that Rogge had predicted. And he respectfully submits that, since He Depu's own prison is a mere 10km away from the Olympic hurly-burly, Rogge could easily enough test these claims if he wished.

MK - You think the IOC might be a bit concerned now that the fantasy has been blown to pieces? Think again.

The news came as the IOC called the Beijing Olympics a "success", even though the Games are only half-way through. Just before the announcement by the public security bureau, IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies praised China for the smooth running of the Games. Things were going so well that a key meeting between the Chinese Olympic organisers and senior IOC officials had been postponed until Saturday, she said. The Co-ordination Commission usually met every day during the Olympics but at these Games there had been little for them to discuss, Ms Davies said. "It very much reflects the very relaxed and happy position the IOC is in, in terms of how it views the success of these Games," she added.

MK - You see, as long as the beatings, persecutions, organ harvesting etc continues away from the games and out of the view of western cameras, it's all good. Yay for a successful games. I would have said, once the games are over it'll be back to business as usual, but as we can see, even while the games are continuing it's business as usual. They've just relocated, moved HQ, consolidated, restructured, realigned, call it what you will; it's just new cells and different bastards, same totalitarianism.

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