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My Shanghai Diary—III: Why Sorrow?

(Based on the writer’s visit to Shanghai from May 6 to 9,2008, for a discussion on the “Beijing Olympics & Security” )

But, why the sorrow?

2. Because of what is projected as the failure of the international community to realise that the traditions, the splendour and the joys of the Olympics are not the heritage of just one country, but of the world as whole. If the Beijing Olympic games are tarnished, it is not just China’s image which would be tarnished. It is the image of the international sporting community as a whole that would be tarnished.

3. It is said that China expected that the international community as a whole would have been happy that China, which has demonstrated how a developing country can reach hitherto unimaginable economic heights within three decades, has been awarded what the Chinese regard as the well-deserved right to host an Olympics and would have whole-heartedly co-operated with China and helped it in making a magnificent success of the Games.

4. China expected too that considering that this is the second Olympics after the 9/11 terrorist strikes by Al Qaeda in US homeland—the first being the Athens Olympics of 2004— the international community would have realised the importance of ensuring that the terrorists or political radicals did not succeed in disrupting the Olympics and would have extended to China all advice and assistance it needed to ensure the security of the Games.

5. Instead of doing so, for the last one year, the Dalai Lama’s set-up, the TYC, the Tibetan diaspora, Western human rights groups and other non-governmental organisations have been creating difficulties under some pretext or the other such as the Chinese assistance to the Government of the Sudan, the alleged suppression of the Tibetans, the alleged lack of democracy and human rights violations in China etc.

6. It is claimed that when the Athens Olympics were held the entire NATO under the US leadership extended whatever assistance the Greek authorities wanted for ensuring the security of the Games.

7. It is alleged that similar co-operation and assistance have not been forthcoming for the Beijing Olympics. It is also alleged that Western human rights groups have been exercising pressure on their Governments not to transfer the latest post-9/11 physical security equipment and technologies to China for use during the Beijing Olympics on the ground that these equipment and technologies could be misused after the Olympics to suppress those sections of the Chinese population asking for their rights.

8. The hope is expressed that the Government of India would extend not only oral support to the successful holding of the Olympics, but also concrete support through actions such as controlling the activities of the violence-prone elements in the TYC, keeping a watch on their activities and preventing them from travelling outside till the Games are over.

9. The sorrow is mixed with a quiet determination to see that the Beijing Olympics are a spectacular success despite all the difficulties that are allegedly sought to be created for China by its ill-wishers.This determination is shared by all sections of the Government and the population. Making a spectacular success of the Olympics is the best way of teaching a lesson to the ill-wishers of China. So, it is said. (10-5-08) Continued in My Shanghai Diary-IV: Suspicions and Ground Reality

(The writer, Mr.B.Raman, is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presentrly, Director, Institute For Topical Studies, Chennai. He is also associated with the Chennai Centre For China Studies. )

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