Tuesday, April 08, 2008

San Francisco

The next Olympic torch protest is scheduled for tomorrow (April 9) in San Francisco.

This may be the biggest protest yet despite attempts to hide the route of the relay from those who want to protest (or indeed watch!)

Whatever happens tomorrow or in subsequent cities it is clear a point has been made.

China's record on human rights is known the world over. It cannot be a full part of the international community until it reforms. This is an issue far wider than Tibet and includes rights for all Chinese citizens, the absence of any recognition of wrongs committed in Tiananmen Square, the absence of any serious recognition of the deaths of 70 million people under Mao and the ongoing daily abuses such as the man recently sentenced to 5 years in prison for organising a petition in favour of human rights.

Many people's eyes have been opened or reopened by recent events. While China's power is enormous the genie is out of the bottle, at least outside China. Even China's cheap goods may find things a little harder. After all China is not the only asian country producing cheap goods. Countries such as Vietnam do this and India is an emerging great power that seems to manage economic growth while without feeling the need to carry out state sponsored murder and forced sterilisation of its minority populations.

Here's hoping San Francisco can remind the world a bit more tomorrow........


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