April 08, 2008

Torch arrives in North America

If you're going to San Francisco... The IOC might end the torch's action-packed international tour because of all the protesters.

The torch's global journey was supposed to highlight China's growing economic and political power. But activists opposing China's human rights policies and a recent crackdown on Tibet have been protesting along the torch's 85,000-mile route since the start of the flame's odyssey from Ancient Olympia in Greece to Beijing, host of the 2008 Summer Olympics.

Meanwhile China talks about the freedom of religion it offers in Tibet.

- Since the 1980s, the central government has provided more than 700 million yuan for the renovation of religious sites in Tibet.

- The central government has invested 35 million yuan and spent 16 years arranging and publishing the Tibetan "Tripitaka."

And so on. But what about the number of monks beaten and arrested? And the heavy hand of the Party in the monasteries?

Violence in Tibet won't hurt the country's Shangri-La image, according to the Guardian.

"Actually, there was always a kind of fantasy element to the way a lot of outsiders have viewed the Tibetan movement," said Robbie Barnett, a Tibet specialist at Columbia University.
"In a terrible and tragic way, this actually does say, hey, we're not dealing with monks who can't meditate, this is a really serious social and historical issue that has to be dealt with politically," he said.

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