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Torch Relay Likely to Run Into Problems in China, Too

Posted May. 01, 2008 07:18,   


The Chinese government is on high alert as the Olympic torch relay is about to continue its journey through China beginning tomorrow.

For one, Western civil rights activists might try to sabotage the relay. On the other hand, the Chinese might wage fierce anti-Western demonstrations or campaign against Western products.

A Hong Kong newspaper reported yesterday that the Hong Kong and Macao governments, due to these concerns, had recently refused to allow entry for Western civil rights activists, since the torch relay is scheduled to pass through Hong Kong and Macao for two days, beginning tomorrow.

Hong Kong authorities, for example, rejected entry for Danish sculptor and human rights activist Jens Galschiot. The Hong Kong immigration authorities also refused to allow three non-Tibetan members of Students for Free Tibet into Hong Kong late last month. A senior officer of the Independent Chinese PEN Center was also deported soon after his entry, since the officer had been critical of the Chinese government overseas. Likewise, the Macao government beefed up its surveillance of Falun Gong members.

Meanwhile, Chinese authorities have banned Chinese search engines from providing online search results for the French retailer Carrefour, which has become the target of anti-Western protest in China. Thus, when a person types in Carrefour’s Chinese name on Baidu.com, China’s largest Internet search engine, a warning pops up stating that the search may violate government policy or law. This is an effort by the Chinese government to contain the spreading campaign of Chinese citizens protesting against the French retailer.

On the other hand, the Chinese government organized a variety of events to commemorate the 100 days before the Olympics, yesterday. It hosted a marathon race in the Olympic park, and held a pledge session at the Hall of the People where 6,000 citizens and government workers promised to assist the Olympics with their utmost.

State-run Xinhua news agency reported yesterday that two police officers were gunned down during an attempted arrest of a Tibetan activist, who had been wanted by Chinese authorities for his involvement in the recent demonstrations in Tibet. The activist was also shot to death, said the agency reported.