Did San Fran Kowtow to or Thwart China?

At first, I was pretty angry when I heard that San Francisco rerouted the Olympic torch at the last minute yesterday. I figured that city officials were kowtowing to China by preventing embarrassing protests like those that occurred in London and Paris. I thought maybe they were trying to appease the local Chinese population, or show solidarity with their fellow far-left wingers.

But then I read this story. It chronicles how well China was prepared for the torch stop. They bussed in Chinese people from around California and gave them flags and placards. These people then proceeded to swarm and shout down anyone in the crowd with a Tibetan flag. As C.W. Nevius described it:
Those inside the command center say city officials and Mayor Gavin Newsom watched the spectacle with growing concern. Although there was a brief scuffle with "Team Tibet" supporters around a bus early in the morning, the vast majority of the crowd was flag-waving China supporters. Sending the torch down those streets would have been like providing the Chinese government with a made-for-television commercial to show that hardly anyone in San Francisco - or North America - had any qualms about human rights abuses in China.
So maybe, rather than giving China their way, maybe San Fran moved the torch to prevent the aforementioned spectacle. Between the massive pro-China crowd and the goon squad that has been accompanying the torch around the world, China might just have been able to pull of the propaganda show on American soil that it appears they were going for. Maybe, for the first time ever, I need to give kudos to the city of San Francisco. It seems like this torch relay is bringing liberals and conservatives together like few things do.

I'm borrowing this rant from my brother-in-law, but on a related note, read this description from the NY Times of the thoughts of Chinese students in San Fran:

Hai Ming, 37, a Chinese student of civil engineering at University of California, Davis, about 70 miles east, had come to the torch ceremony on a bus chartered by the Chinese consulate.

Mr. Hai said he disagreed with Tibetan protesters who have flooded San Francisco this week. “I think they are crazy,” he said. “The Chinese people are very peaceful. They wouldn’t do what they are accused of.

As the start of the relay approached, thousands were lining the route, and several scuffles broke out between pro- and anti-China forces. Near Justin Herman Plaza, where the closing ceremony was to have been held, protesters broke through barricades. Outside the stadium, pro-Chinese groups surrounded and taunted a small group of people holding a Tibetan flag, ripping the banner from their hands and chanting “Liar, liar, liar.”

As I understand it, one of the reasons we like to bring international students to America, besides the fact that diversity soooo enriches the collegiate experience, is to teach them about our country and our values. Well, our values aren't rubbing off on the Chinese too well, apparently. Despite the fact that they are out from under the censorship of their native land, they still seem to be in denial about how their government really operates. Do you think any of these students know about Tiananmen Square? Do you think any California universities have dared to tell them about it?


  1. Wow, I didn't hear about THAT on the news this morning. Very interesting article.

  2. I would say that S.F. twarted china.For the life of me I want to know why we are doing business with the civil rights supressionist country.
    Oh,yeh cheep labor,mor profits for the american companies.

  3. Based on the preparations made to have a force of pro-Chinese attend the run through San Fran, and the re-routing of the torch, I would consider that an attempt to thwart China.

    I remember when the torch came through Cache Valley in prep for the Olympics in SLC. It was a flipping cold afternoon in the winter, but so many people came out to line the streets and watch it pass as well as filled the USU Spectrum for the ceremony held there.

    I know the games were just down the road a hundred miles, but I felt more a part of the games from watching the torch go past me then I did while watching them on the tele.

    I'd like to see the torch be able to make it's journey around the globe as planned, hopefully without further incidents like those seen abroad.

    However, I don't think allowing staged pro-China events just to bring the games closer to the people of the world is the answer either.