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Supporters of Beijing Olympics Rally In Chicago, New York

by staff |
May 5, 2008
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People gather in support of 2008 Beijing Olympics
People gather in support of 2008 Beijing Olympics (Crossing Photography)

 

Chicago, IL - 15,000 Chinese and other supporters of the Beijing Olympics rallied in New York, May 4. 300 also gathered in Chicago, one week after 500 rallied here. The organizers called these events with the same purpose: To condemn the lies about China being spread by the U.S. media.

According to CNN and FOX News, China is a controversial place to hold the Olympics. These news agencies are attacking China on behalf of the Dalai Lama and the U.S.-funded movement for Tibetan independence. A small group of independence supporters launched protests in Tibet in March to coincide with the start of the relay to carry the Olympic torch to Beijing. Their protests quickly turned violent, with Tibetan separatists attacking shops owned by ethnic Han and Muslim Chinese. Included among the ten people that died during those riots were five young women victims in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, who died in a fire started by the separatists.

In response, over the past six weeks, more than 80 rallies have been held worldwide by Chinese living overseas. This wave of activism is bringing together Chinese from Hong Kong, Taiwan and the mainland, including Tibet, as well as Chinese Americans. The rallies feature the flag of the People’s Republic of China, patriotic songs, including the national anthem and speeches exposing the truth of Tibet before liberation. When the ‘god king’ was in power in Tibet, millions of people there lived as serfs or slaves with no rights. One of the speakers in Chicago, a young woman named Xiaojing Tian, explained that in those years, while the ruling monks and landlords were wealthy, “The life expectancy for most people was 35 years. Today the life expectancy of Tibetans is 67.”

Kunlin Wei, an organizer of the protest in Chicago, noted that May 4 is the, “anniversary of the 1919 Chinese student protests against Western interference in China.” The rally coincided with the Olympic torch beginning its last leg, a three-month run across all of China’s provinces. The actor Jackie Chan helped carry the torch in tropical Hainan Island in the South China Sea today.

Protesters were especially angry with CNN announcer Jack Cafferty. Referring to the Chinese authorities who put a stop to the rioting in Lhasa, he said, “I think they’re basically the same bunch of goons and thugs they’ve been for the last 50 years.” The rally in Chicago made a special point of calling for Cafferty to be fired and for CNN to issue a real apology.

Joe Iosbaker, a Chicago anti-war activist, spoke at the rally, blasting those who are opposing the Olympics in China. Members of the crowd joined with him when he quoted the famous Chinese revolutionary Mao Zedong on the issue of right wing reactionaries: “Make trouble, fail; make trouble again; fail again . . . till their doom,” said Mao.

Xiaojing Tian said that there were still 96 days until the start of the Olympics. Kunlin Wei said he expected there to be more rallies as there is a western campaign to attack China. “We are proud to host the Olympics, to show the world what China has done. All Chinese are uniting. We will stand up to the media distortions.”

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