Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chinese Anti-French Protest In Paris

5,000 Chinese assembled outside the Place de la Republique in Paris to do something they would find much more challenging to do at home: to engage in full-throated protest against the ruling government of the nation they are living within.

The account carried by the website of Paris city paper LeParisien reports that the protestors were especially negative towards the organization "Reporters Without Borders" and its president, Robert Ménard, accusing French journalists of "racism without borders" and "mental terrorism".

Thierry Liu, spokesman for the protestors, explains its objectives in this video interview recorded by the city newspaper Le Parisien [my translation]:

The origin of this protest is very complicated. A group of students, and former students in Paris, who had the initiative to write to the President of the Republic, so far there have been several thousand people who have signed this letter. An open letter. It is not a petition, because the idea is not to say that we are right, but rather to promote understanding between the two peoples.
A boycott is a wall that they are in the process of building. Meanwhile the media, they have played a very negative role in this affair. You speak in France with grand words, like "democracy", "human rights", without understanding what is happening in China, in terms of rights, without knowing that in China we are in the process of trying to build a state of rights. Democracy, human rights... it's true, these are values dear to all, the chinese are not dumb, they also want rights, they also want liberty. The objective is to invite the peoples of the world, including the French, to the Olympic games in Beijing, because the Olympic Games are not only chinese games, they are the games of the world. The Chinese have worked for years, to prepare for these games...

Later in the video a second interview is offered, this time with a French sympathizer to the Chinese students' position [my translation]:

For myself, I feel that politics have nothing to do with the Olympic Games, that is, with sports in general. Each country has its Achilles Heel, France, Belgium, everyone... even the United States...

Strictly speaking, sports have nothing to do with anything except athletic competition. But the Olympic Games.... well, they were supposed to be different.

From the official site of the Olympic Movement, we can read the Olympic Charter, and the first two of the six Fundamental principles of Olympism:
Olympism is a philosophy of life, exalting and combining in a balanced whole the qualities of body, will and mind. Blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy of effort, the educational value of good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles.

The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of man, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
In what way does China respect universal fundamental ethical values, when children under the age of 18 may not legally attend any church? How concerned is China with the preservation of human dignity, when they arrest Christians like 42-year old Li Mei, for such "crimes" as singing hymns and praying for the disabled? Li Mei and 9 other church leaders were sentenced to re-education through labor for 12 to 18 months... repeated beatings and torture caused her to require a hysterectomy.

Instead of helping the cause of human rights in China, the imminent Beijing Olympics seem to be causing the exact opposite result, as the communist party cracks down on potential visible contradictions to the state-defined image of "brotherhood" the government wishes to present to the eyes of the world.

The spokesman at the anti-French rally in Paris lectures us on how "China is building a state of rights", and that we don't know what we're talking about when we speak of human rights abuses in China.

I think he's living in a state of denial... of Olympian proportions.


Anonymous said...

I don't know where u get the idea of minors not being allowed to attend church. I met a group of young monks (10-14 years old, I guess) while traveling in Yunnan, China. Why is it different for Christians?
But then, if there is indeed such a law, it has my full support. Bring minors to religious services is a form of brain washing, and is effectively denying them their religious freedom. When ur an adult, u can choose whatever u believe in.

Cindy, from Hong Kong

maccusgermanis said...


When the little words light up as your cursor moves over them, that is an indication that a "link" has been provided. Such "links" are useful in finding out where a writer has gotten a particular idea. Though, persons in China may need a proxy server to follow some links.

Are you against all instruction prior to adulthood?

Charles Henry said...

Cindy, thanks for writing.

Why is it different for Christians?

I don't know, you tell me. Please read through some of the data collected at the websites I've linked to, if you have the time, and explain where they are wrong.

Christians in North America donate a lot of money to Christian charities in China, in order to lend hope to our brothers and sisters in Christ, to sustain their Faith despite the depredations of your government.

We need to know if the money is being mis-spent.

By the way, a parent bringing their children to Church is usually not at all like you being forced to go to school by the State. You're confusing two things together as one.

They are different experiences.

Ask a Christian for yourself, if you don't believe me.

When ur an adult, u can choose whatever u believe in.

Please express that sentiment to your government, and tell them you believe that in the course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Please tell your government that you believe these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

Crusader said...

Well a minor comfort in this case is probably the fact that the Chinese protestors haven't rioted like the mohammedans in France.

Sure things like the intended insults written on the flag were meant to provoke, but at least cars weren't burnt this time.

Maybe when a lot of the protestors have calmed down they will realize how lucky they are to have the freedom of speech to actually protest against a government in France, while it would be met other results in the People's Republic of China.

BTW is it allowed to demonstrate against the government in the Republic of China (Taiwan)?

I think think the citizens of the Peoples Republic of China should be more worried over the mohammedans in Xinjiang than the Olympics and Tibet.