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China & Tibet

Published May 3, 2008 9:09 AM

Thanks for the WW article including the San Francisco Olympic Torch events. There were so many pro-China people. I was amazed at the huge number of Chinese flags!

But the number of anti-China/pro-Tibet was probably more than the 300 reported. Among the anti-China forces there were south Vietnamese carrying that old colonial yellow flag with the three red stripes in it, too! From what I have seen here in S.F., there are way too many—even one would be too many—so-called “progressives” who are completely wrong on China and Tibet.

And then there were the banners hung on the Golden Gate Bridge. The fact that traffic control was smoothly maintained while they were on the bridge and the media got there so fast that at least one station did an interview with one of the three guys still high up on the bridge structure, it looked to me like some law enforcement knew there would be a pro-Tibet action in advance. Other media did lengthy live video feeds.

When “Stop AIDS Now Or Else” activists carried out the first blockade of the bridge in the late 1980s, they were immediately threatened with being fire-hosed off the bridge. Traffic came to a complete standstill. No bourgeois media were there in time to cover the action. The photos printed, including the one in the New York Times, had to be purchased from the one independent photographer there. The stronger penalties for  uch actions at the Golden Gate Bridge, including “conspiracy,” were put in place after the AIDS action.

The pro-Tibet demonstrators—there were only about six to eight of them—were of course arrested and some spent time in jail. They were initially charged with both felonies and misdemeanors, but the felonies have already been dropped. All the remaining charges may also be quietly dropped, too.

The financial cost of the Olympic Torch run to the City of San Francisco is huge, too. It is mostly for the extra police and for the public transportation impacted. Even though 99.9 percent of the bystanders never got to see the Torch run because it was secretly rerouted way across town, I for one—viewing from the windows of the office building where I was at work—was just happy that so many Chinese people came out, some with great effort, and proudly waved their red flags.

Joan Marquardt
San Francisco
April 23