Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Propaganda, proper gander

while the media lavishes praise on millionaire Michael Phelps...

Eight Americans arrested in Bejing
At least eight American blogger-activists and several other foreigners have been detained in Beijing as the government intensifies a crackdown on pro-Tibetan protests in the home stretch of the Olympics, rights groups said on Wednesday.

Students for a Free Tibet earlier said authorities detained five self-styled "citizen journalists" who were in Beijing to promote Tibetan freedom on Tuesday. The New York-based group said activist-artist James Powderly had also been nabbed.

Later on Wednesday, the group said four more protesters, including two Americans and a British national, were also detained after unfurling a Tibetan flag outside the National Stadium, or "Bird's Nest."

The Beijing Olympics have not been dogged by the widespread demonstrations that authorities had feared. Several protesters advocating for Tibet independence have nonetheless managed to breach tight security, in one case hanging a "Free Tibet" banner outside the headquarters of the state broadcaster.

Olympic Prisoners get little notice

Chinese authorities have sentenced two women in their 70s to a year's "re-education through labour" after they applied to protest during the Olympic games, a relative said today.

This week, officials said they had not approved a single permit for a demonstration, despite designating three parks as protest zones.

The International Olympic Committee's communications director said she would look at the women's case, but stressed that the games were "not a panacea for all ills".

Wu Dianyuan, 79, and her neighbour Wang Xiuying, 77, sought to protest about their forced eviction from their homes in 2001. They went to the Beijing Public Security Bureau four times this month to request permission to demonstrate in the new zones — created for the Olympics to counter criticism of the limits to political expression in China.

Their applications were neither granted nor denied, but on their first trip PSB officers interrogated them for 10 hours, Wu's son, Li Xuehui, told the New York-based group Human Rights in China.

On August 17, the two women received an order dated July 30 from Beijing's "re-education through labour commission" sentencing them to one year for "disturbing the public order". It placed restrictions on their movements and warned that if they breached any of the requirements they would be sent to a labour camp. The system does not require formal hearings or allow appeals.

Not to say that I haven't watched a little of the pageantry amid the endless commercials and feel-good pro-US propaganda, and Chinese cheating and judging bias.

But what of our one in less than a dozen out gay jocks? Cutie pie diver Matthew Mitcham is only like 16th best springboard diver in the world, a great accomplishment, but not enough to even get on NBC's broadcast prelims. Oh, well. There's still 10m platform on Friday.

always a gay hug moment here and there, but sadly few real gay athletes coming out.

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