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On April 9, hundreds of you
-- some as far away as from Chicago, Los Angels and Santa Cruz, joined the Peace Walk for Burma across the San Francisco Golden Gate
bridge and other actions despite being on work day and uneasy commute. You do care about Burma and stood up for her at a time when she
needed you most. Thank you all.
Amid beautiful weather, clear
sky, and kinder wind, bearing peaceful mind and kind heart, the Free Burma
supporters gathered and marched peacefully across Golden Gate Bridge to
relive the memories of last September saffron peaceful marchers in Burma. Even a
Wheelchair-bound women (who worked for Mayor) joined the walk to show her support
for Monks, nuns and the people of Burma. What a way to open an important day, and
in fact, with this great walk completed successful, we the Burma supporters had already had our day even
before the torch relay began.
After the walk, many of us did proceed to
protest at the torch relay closing designated location. While most of us are
walking on the Bridge, some of us were at the locations near McCovey Cove to
protest for Burma. Both groups
met and protested near the Justin Herman plaza. Our day ended with a march to
the City Hall along Market street chanting slogans; and then a rally and protest at
the City Hall steps. We really had a long day then.
Due to your support and hard
work and good team work by the organizers, we have noticed the significant
progress in mentioning Burma-China connection in the
Olympic torch protest news. Pased below please find the coverage for April 9
Burma actions. And here are some highlights:
A couple of local stations
aired the peace walks; and national networks also carried it
Among others, CNN
photographer was on site taking pictures and there of those made it into the
Radio Free Asia allowed us
to broadcast live of the Peace Walk into Burma as it was happening.
Voice Of America also cover
the events in detailed
A reporter from Salon.com
trailed the Burma protesters and produced a featured cover story about our
Saw significant progress in
mentioning Burma explicitly by high-profile news agencies including AP, USA
Today, BBC, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal and
others in their coverage about Olympic protests.
Bush, Pelosi, other leaders
are now consistently mentioning Burma along with Tibetan and Darfur as
issues China has been heavily citied
Photos and videos are on Flicker and many other news reports including CNN.
Videos Burma Peace Walk are
posted on YouTube (believed to be taken from the air probably from
Helicopter that we saw)
However, In their call for Bush to to
boycott the opening ceremony of Beijing Olympic games, Senator Clinton and Obama
and McCain did not mention Burma at all. Therefore we need to do a lot of work in
highlighting China's support to Burma's dictator and the suffering of 50 millions due to Chinese arms, trade and
veto at the UNSC).
Nothing has changed in
Burma and she still needs you to help free her from the brutal dictatorship.
Local TV Stations News Video of Burma Peace Walk: (National NetWork also aired
Burma April 9 Torch Protest Featured Coverage:
YouTube Video of
Peace Walk taken from the Air
CNN.com Photo Collection:
Flicker: Peace Walk for
Other coverage where Burma was
Some of the coverage before April 9
NY Times: Olympic Official Calls
Protests a ‘Crisis’
BEIJING — China faced rare
criticism of its human rights record from the head of
the International Olympics Committee on Thursday, even
as calls for a boycott of the opening ceremony of the
Games grew louder in Europe and the United States.
Pelosi On the San Francisco Olympic Torch Relay
The president of the Olympic
Jacques Rogge, called on the authorities in Beijing
to respect their “moral engagement” to improve human
rights in the months leading up to the Games and to
provide the news media with greater access to the
country. He also described the protests that have dogged
the international Olympics torch relay as a “crisis” for
Though Mr. Rogge
predicted the Games would still be a success, his
comments were a sharp departure from previous statements
in which he avoided any mention of politics. Beijing
quickly rejected his remarks and said they amounted to
meddling in its internal affairs.
increased on world leaders to signal their opposition to
China’s policies in
Tibet and its close relations with the government of
Sudan by skipping the opening ceremony of the Games. The
European Parliament urged leaders of its 27 member
nations to consider a boycott of the ceremony unless
China opens a dialogue with the
Dalai Lama, the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet.
In New York, Secretary
Ban Ki-moon of the
United Nations informed China that he would not
attend the ceremony, a spokeswoman said. An official in
Mr. Ban’s office said that he had travel commitments in
Europe and Latin America and that he was already
scheduled to be in China in July, shortly before the
China’s human rights
policies and the Olympics have become a contentious
issue in the race for president in the United States,
where the three remaining candidates from both parties
have called on President Bush, who has plans to attend
the Olympics, to skip the opening event.
John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee,
said he would not attend the opening ceremony if he were
president, echoing a statement by Senator
Hillary Rodham Clinton earlier this week. Senator
Barack Obama suggested that Mr. Bush should wait to
make a final decision, but leave a boycott “firmly on
Preparations for the
Games were rocked last month when Tibetans staged
violent protests against Chinese rule and security
forces cracked down on monks and other supporters of the
exiled Dalai Lama in parts of Western China. The clashes
set off sympathy protests and calls around the world for
the boycott. Demonstrators turned the 21-city torch
relay into a public relations fiasco for Beijing and the
The Dalai Lama, in Japan
on Thursday, told reporters no one should try to silence
the demonstrators protesting Chinese rule in Tibet, and
he said, “We are not anti-Chinese.” He added, “Right
from the beginning, we supported the Olympic Games.”
Top officials in China
have claimed that the Tibetan protests and the
international protests are part of a plot to disrupt the
Olympics orchestrated by the Dalai Lama, who lives in
India. They have called him a splittist and a terrorist
whose goal is to separate Tibet from China.
On Thursday, officials
also said they had uncovered a plot by Islamic
terrorists in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region to
disrupt the Games by kidnapping foreign journalists,
athletes and spectators.
The police said they
arrested 35 people and confiscated explosives and
detonators belonging to a Uighur jihadist group based in
Urumqi, the capital of Xinjiang. In the past, officials
have announced the discovery of such plots without
providing much evidence. Last month, they claimed to
have foiled a plan to hijack an airplane and blow up a
While China has faced
violent attacks from Muslim groups, unflinching social
controls have prevented the emergence of a sustained
terrorist threat in the country. Some analysts have
suggested that widely publicized discoveries of weapons
caches and terrorist plots are part of a larger effort
to present domestic unrest as a form of international
terrorism that the world should help China suppress.
Speaking before a two-day
meeting of the Olympic committee’s executive board in
Beijing, Mr. Rogge condemned protesters who have hounded
torch bearers in several countries. He said that
skirmishes during torch processions in Athens, London,
Paris and San Francisco amounted to a crisis, but
insisted that they would not derail the six-continent
pageant leading up to the Games.
“There is no scenario of
interrupting or bringing the torch back to Beijing,” he
Even so, he also called
on China to honor its pledges to improve human rights
and to give foreign journalists unfettered access to all
parts of the country.
“We will do our best to
have this be realized,” he said of a recent Chinese
regulation that guarantees reporters the right to travel
to all parts of the country, including Tibet.
Mr. Rogge said he met
with Prime Minister
Wen Jiabao of China for an hour on Wednesday, but he
would not reveal details of their conversation. Mr.
Rogge has long avoided criticizing China, saying that
pressing the government on Tibet and other issues was
likely to backfire.
“China will close itself
off from the rest of the world, which, don’t forget, it
has done for some 2,000 years,” he said, somewhat
exaggerating history, in an interview broadcast
Wednesday in his native Belgium.
The Chinese government
reacted sharply to Mr. Rogge’s criticism. “I believe
I.O.C. officials support the Beijing Olympics and
adherence to the Olympic charter of not bringing in any
irrelevant political factors,” said Jiang Yu, a Foreign
Olympic committee members
have been taken aback by the scope and ferocity of the
protests, which are marring what has traditionally been
a festive event involving 20,000 torch bearers. Although
the protests in San Francisco were not as disruptive as
in London and Paris, the torch’s sole North American
visit was a disappointment to thousands of spectators
after the relay route was changed at the last minute.
The committee members who
gathered at a hotel in central Beijing offered harsh
words for demonstrators who used the relay to publicize
issues ranging from Tibetan religious freedom to
environmental concerns. Gunilla Lindberg, a vice
president of the committee, likened some of the more
aggressive protesters to terrorists and said they had
emboldened committee members to keep the relay going.
“We will never give into
violence,” Ms. Lindberg said. “These are not the
friendly demonstrators for a free Tibet, but
professional demonstrators, the ones who show up at
G-8 conferences to be seen and fight.”
Denis Oswald, a committee
member from Switzerland, said those who thought that
interrupting the torch relay or the Games would push
China to improve its human rights record were
wrongheaded and naïve. He noted that it took Europe
several centuries to become truly democratic and said
that it was unwise to expect China to do the same in a
“We have to give them
time, and as long as they’re moving in the right
direction we should be patient,” he said. He added that
those who disrupt the relay “do not respect the freedom
of people who want to enjoy it.”
In announcing the
disruption of what they described as a pair of terrorist
plots, Chinese officials from the Ministry of Public
Security said they had arrested leaders of the East
Turkestan Islamic Movement.
The authorities said they
had seized 19 explosive devices, almost nine pounds of
explosive material, seven detonators, and “nine kinds of
raw materials to be used for waging a holy war.” They
said the group’s leader had urged his fellow plotters to
use “poisonous meat,” “poisonous gas” and remotely
Giselle Davies, a
spokeswoman for the International Olympic Committee,
said that the group was unaware of the plot and that it
had learned about the arrests only from Chinese
television. Still, she said the committee had full
confidence that the police would guarantee security at
the Games. “We trust very much the authorities will
handle that with the right approach,” she said.
Despite the chaos along
the torch relay route, Mr. Rogge said he expected the
Olympics to proceed without a hitch. He cited the murder
of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 and boycotts in
1976, 1980 and 1984 as far more disruptive and said he
hoped the public would soon focus on the essence of the
Olympics: athletic competition and world unity.
“It is a crisis, there is
no doubt about that, but the I.O.C. has weathered many
bigger storms,” he said.
Asked if he had any
regrets about the Games having been awarded to Beijing,
Mr. Rogge said China’s bid was not only the best among
competing nations, but that he thought it was especially
compelling to hold the Games in a country with a fifth
of the world’s population. “It is very easy with
hindsight to criticize the decision,” he said. “It’s
easy to say now that this was not a wise and sound
The Olympic Charter states that the goal of the
Olympic Games should be to promote "a peaceful society concerned with the
preservation of human dignity." The Chinese government has failed to live up to
the commitments it made before being awarded the Olympic Games to improve its
human rights situation. In fact, there is disturbing new evidence that it is
conducting a broader crackdown on human rights in China and Tibet because of the
For the next four months, the International
Olympic Committee and Chinese officials will parade the Olympic torch through
dozens of countries and even through Tibet. The torch will be met by politicians
and heads-of-state from all over the world along a "journey of harmony." It is
the Chinese government that is making the Olympic torch relay a political event.
Freedom-loving people around the world are
vigorously protesting because of the crackdown in Tibet and Beijing's support
for the regime in Sudan and the military junta in Burma. The people are making a
significant statement that the Olympic ideals of peace and harmony should apply
to all people, including those in Tibet and Darfur.
San Francisco is blessed by a large and vibrant
Chinese-American community. As San Franciscans, we embrace the diversity of our
community and we value the contributions made in every corner of our great city.
We also value free expression, and this week, many will exercise this right by
demonstrating against the Olympic torch. I urge all those who protest to do so
peacefully and respectfully. I commend those who speak out for their commitment
to shining a light on the causes that challenge the conscience of the world.
China condemns Pelosi comments on torch relay
BEIJING, April 9 (Reuters) - China on Wednesday sharply denounced comments by
speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi in support of
anticipated protests at Wednesday's Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.
Pelosi said on Tuesday that she commended those who were expected to protest
along the torch's route in San Francisco on Wednesday, saying they would be
making a "significant statement that the Olympic ideals of peace and harmony
should apply to all people, including those in Tibet and Darfur".
In a statement on the Chinese Foreign Ministry's Web site about Pelosi's
comments, ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu called the torch relay in San Francisco,
its only stop in the United States, a "grand occasion" between the two
"For some members of the U.S. Congress to set aside the Olympic spirit and the
principle that sports should not be politicised, and even to openly encourage
interference with and harm to the San Francisco torch relay, completely lacks
basic morals and conscience," Jiang said.
"We advise those very few in the U.S. Congress (who are doing so) to immediately
stop interfering with and bringing harm to the Olympics and the torch relay,"
she said. (Reporting by Jason Subler; Editing by Giles Elgood)
China Under Olympics Boycott Threat Over Its Human Rights Record
The international community is pressuring China to improve its human rights
record with the threats of boycotting the Olympics' opening ceremony in Beijing
Thursday, Kenya's Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai became the latest to
raise voice against China's iron hand on Tibet, as she announced that she is
pulling out from the Olympic torch relay in which she was due to take part over
the weekend in Tanzania, citing concerns for worldwide human rights, including
Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a resolution urging EU leaders to
boycott the Olympics opening ceremony to be held on August 8 if China fails to
enter into a dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama by
demand coincided with IOC chief Jacques Rogge's call on China to respect its
"moral engagement" to improve human rights ahead of the Games. Addressing a
joint meeting of the Association of National Olympic Committees and the IOC
executive board in Beijing, he said officials should reassure athletes that "the
Chinese government is going to set an example" and that "the world will be
U.S., both the Democratic presidential hopefuls have called on President George
Bush to consider boycotting the Beijing opening ceremony if China does not
improve its human rights record. Additionally, the U.S. House of Representatives
has overwhelmingly passed a motion condemning China's "extreme" response to
recent protests in Tibet.
European Parliament resolution, passed with a large majority, urges EU leaders
to adopt a united stance on Tibet and firmly condemns "the brutal repression" by
China in last month's crackdown on Tibetan protests.
the resolution is not binding on EU foreign policy, together with human rights
campaigners, it is exerting strong pressure on EU governments to take a tougher
line towards China, one of Europe's main trading partners.
collective pressure seems to be working, as leaders of major EU member states
indicate they might stay away.
Wednesday, Prime Minister Gordon Brown clearly put across his message to Beijing
by announcing that he would not be attending the opening ceremonies. However,
according to the Chinese Embassy in London, Brown was never expected to attend
the opening ceremony.
Chancellor Angela Merkel and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper have already
said that they never intended to go to Beijing.
President Nicolas Sarkozy has suggested he might consider boycotting the event
unless China opens a dialogue with the Dalai Lama to find a political solution
to the unrest.
under added pressure on Thursday, when six U.N. human rights experts demanded
that Beijing end its domestic censorship of news about Tibet and allow foreign
journalists unhindered access to the region.
government has been reluctant to allow outsiders to visit Tibet independently
since images of pro-independence protesters clashing with security forces
provoked sharp criticism from human rights groups, with some calling for a
boycott of the Olympic games.
Alston, Ambeyi Ligabo, Asma Jahangir, Hina Jilani, Gay McDougall and Manfred
Nowak, who all act as independent experts for the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights
Council, signed Thursday's statement.
further doubts on Beijing's allergy towards human rights watchdogs, China has
rejected a request by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Louise Arbour,
to visit Tibet in April.
for the High Commissioner's office, Rupert Colville, said on Thursday, "The High
Commissioner had asked to visit but the Chinese authorities said it would not be
convenient at this time."
whole, nations around the world are ruling out a full boycott of the universal
games. But ignoring the opening ceremony en masse would be a potent signal to
embarrass Chinese authorities and express displeasure over their handling of the
anti-government protests in Tibet that turned violent last month.
comments and feedback: contact
call for EU Olympics boycott
By Oana Lungescu
want EU leaders to take a tougher stance over the Olympics
European Parliament has adopted a resolution urging EU leaders to boycott
the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremony.
China to begin a dialogue with the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai
Lama by August.
resolution firmly condemns "the brutal repression" by China in last month's
crackdown on Tibetan protests.
calls for a UN inquiry into the events. Although non-binding, it will increase
pressure on EU leaders to take a tougher stance towards China.
resolution further calls on Beijing to respect its commitments to human and
It comes as
UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown has confirmed he will not attend the opening of
the Olympics on 8 August.
clapped as the resolution was carried with a large majority.
It urges EU
leaders to adopt a united stance on Tibet, including the option of boycotting
the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.
cannot decide EU foreign policy, but together with human rights campaigners, it
is exerting strong pressure on EU governments to take a tougher line towards
China, one of Europe's main trading partners.
collective pressure seems to be working as, one by one, the leaders of the
biggest EU countries indicate they might stay away.
Chancellor Angela Merkel said she never intended to go to Beijing.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, who will chair the EU during the Olympic Games, has
suggested he might consider boycotting the event unless China opens a dialogue
with the Dalai Lama to find a political solution to the unrest.