The Summer Olympics of 2008 have brought up several questions that are dear to my heart. They are questions of freedom of speech and the press, the questions of human rights, the questions of religion, government, and international relations. Best illustrating these questions is the recent hackers’ attack and website slowdown of CNN and other international news sources reporting on the unrest in Tibet.
The first question that comes to me from the article referenced above is the angry of bloggers in China against the press of other countries. What reports or articles in particular are viewed as unfair or biased, and for what reasons? Are these accusations valid?
To answer these questions, I turned to the web. This article tells a bit of the story – Jack Cafferty, a CNN commentator made some comments about China that were degrading and inaccurate. Many Chinese people were angry at these comments and CNN as a consequence of these comments. Nancy Pelosi was also criticized, though the article remained unclear on the details why. I also accessed this page, translated by google, for more detail of the reasons behind the protests. However, the translation was not accurate enough to give me much information. I did watch the Youtube video posted on the page, which does show a bit of the riots in Tibet earlier this year. It does little to show what actually happened, however. It is not clear if protests began peacefully, if Han Chinese were a part of the early protests, if police acted as they should have. The only things that can be truly determined are that things escalated, that people were killed or injured, that property was damaged on both sides, and that both Tibetans and Han Chinese are very righteously angry.
The second question is to the rights of the Chinese themselves. Do they, as individual bloggers have the right to question the international press? Should the Chinese government be reigning them in? Do they have the right, or motivation, to question measures by the government in Tibet? Do they have the access to judge? Do foreign reporters have the experience to tell us the truth, to report honestly, if they do not know the history of the region? Can they understand the anger of the people in Tibet or in China who feel so strongly about this issue? Are they better, or worse, at interpreting the situation? I am not sure of the answers to any of these questions, and I do not think they will be able to be answered for some time, if ever. Perhaps with hindsight we will be able to clearly say who is right, or who is wrong. Or maybe we will simply have to say that both sides have their faults, and hope that a peaceful agreement can be arranged.
I leave you with a final comment from another blogger on the danger of being caught in the middle, especially with such anger on both sides. With such hatred, how can those sensible amongst us find our way?