Thousands of supporters forced OLYMPIC TORCH IN S.F. to change route

Discussion in 'Wall St. News' started by Intelinvestor, Apr 10, 2008.


    THE FIX: Pro-China crowds attempt to stifle dissenters

    For all the talk of protests leading up to the Olympic torch relay, we didn'
    t hear much from the supporters of China.

    We learned why early on Wednesday morning. They planned to take over the

    By 10 a.m. at AT&T Park, where the torch run was supposed to begin, it was
    obvious that the fix was in.

    Thousands of supporters were already there, unloaded from dozens of buses
    parked across from the ball park. (One torch relay insider told me some in
    the crowd had been bused from as far away as Los Angeles.) During the day
    Chronicle reporters were told by some supporters that they had been bused
    into San Francisco from the South Bay, the East Bay and Sacramento by the
    Chinese Consulate and Chinese American groups.

    They were waving thousands of huge, red Chinese flags or holding up
    identical, professional-looking placards that read "Beijing, 2008, torch

    The official word is that the torch route was drastically changed because of
    "public safety," but the crowd at AT&T Park was no threat to the runners.
    In fact, they broke into wild cheers when someone in a torchbearer's track
    suit walked down the street. But mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard might have
    been closer to the truth when he said that the new route let people "enjoy
    the torch rather than political kabuki theater."

    By 1 p.m., the appointed time for the torch runners to begin the relay, the
    crowd had grown even bigger. China supporters far outnumbered any human
    rights protesters, and anyone from the small pockets of "Free Tibet"
    protesters was quickly surrounded by the crowd and shouted down. When a
    Tibet supporter held up a sign, a Chinese supporter would sidle up, the wind
    would catch his flag, and it would obliterate the sign from the view of the

    "We suspected that the Chinese government would want a public relations
    spectacle," said Kate Woznow, campaign coordinator for Students for a Free
    Tibet. "Something that they could broadcast back home."

    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.

    Newsom won't come out and say that, but he did concede that he took the
    decision right down to the final minutes.

    "Literally, at 1 o'clock, we had two choices," he said in a phone
    conversation en route to the closing ceremony at the airport. "We could
    cancel the event or move forward in a different manner. We went to the
    torchbearers themselves, and overwhelmingly they said they supported the

    Taking the torch to the other side of town and skirting the whole enormous
    pro-China crowd at the ballpark might have improved the chances for public
    safety, but it also gave the torch back to San Francisco. Suddenly, it was
    back to the original idea, a run through the streets with a symbol of the
    upcoming Olympic Games, not a carefully planned political charade.

    Because this, apparently, is the Chinese government's idea of free speech.
    They speak freely, and everyone else gets shouted down. Frankly, there is no
    denying that they were well organized. I took a minute to talk to a Tibetan
    protester, Kal Sang, but I was quickly joined by two young men who listened
    to the interview and began to interject derogatory comments.

    "I hope America hears the voice of these people," said one of the
    interrupters, Jun Liu, from San Mateo. "The media pretended they would be
    fair, but they are not just biased, they are extremely biased."

    Sang, a Tibetan from Minnesota, who had done nothing more than stand with a
    friend wearing a "Free Tibet" shirt, was surrounded by critics. A woman
    shouted at her, "You know nothing!" and "Go to Tibet to see for yourself."

    "They put pressure on us," said Sang, who looked like a soccer mom. "They
    try to get us to push them, but we are nonviolent. We are not against the
    Olympics. They should hold the Olympics. But we are speaking for people who
    do not have a voice."

    At that moment, the China supporters seemed to think that they'd carried the
    day. The "Free Tibet" crowd had been harassed to the point that they packed
    up and walked toward the Ferry Building. It appeared that the torch would
    be coming down the street any minute, and the news photos and video would
    feature thousands and thousands of cheering China supporters waving red

    A cocky young man walked past me and read his sign out loud, "Welcome to
    Beijing," he said.

    It was about then that it was announced that the torch was unexpectedly up
    in the Marina district, running through tree-lined neighborhoods past a
    small crowd of ordinary people without a political point to make.

    Just for future reference, China - or for that matter, anyone else: You can
    try to take over, but good luck. This is San Francisco.

    C.W. Nevius' column appears on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. E-mail him at
  2. What was CNN reporting all day long?
    Protesters, protesters and protesters.

    Actually yesterday supporters outnumbered protesters 20:1 .

    CNN is the leader of media Liars.

  3. "I hope America hears the voice of these people," said one of the
    interrupters, Jun Liu, from San Mateo. "The media pretended they would be
    fair, but they are not just biased, they are extremely biased.

  4. Many American TV viewers might think thousands of protesters.

    Yeah, this is the impression you get from U.S. media like CNN etc.

  5. Do media journalists of CNN have any professional ethics?

    No wonder the general public is fed with false information everyday. Amazing!