I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal about how the Chinese government was going to deal with protests during the upcoming Olympic Games. Their solution? Establish three designated protest areas for the antagonists descending on Beijing. Great idea, right? Well, it seems like there's going to be some problems.
First off, the areas aren't anywhere near the Olympic Stadium. Secondly, the protests will be strictly monitored by Beijing police. And finally (my personal favorite), anyone who plans to hold a protest has to petition the government for a protest permit. That's right, a permit! So if you plan on staging an elaborate anti-government sit-down or rally, you have to first get the government to approve the idea. And may I remind you, the government plans to crack down heavily on illegal protests. Awesome!
I'm not really sure what the Chinese government was thinking with this one. Protesters haven't been known to abide by government restrictions, especially when it's the government they're out to pummel. Can you imagine the lone dissident at Tiananmen Square asking for government permission before he went out and stood in front of a row of tanks? You'd think a nation that is fast becoming the foremost economic powerhouse in the modern world would have a government that is slightly more flexible with issues like this.
In conclusion, I'll say that stories like this make me grateful that I live in America. People here are free to say all they want about their government. I'm forever thankful that the Founding Fathers had the wisdom and foresight to uphold such liberties as freedom of speech and freedom of the press. It is an incredible privilege live in a country where I can spout off as much as I want and not end up in jail for my troubles.
Now I will take advantage of this liberty to remind you that I am extremely dissatisfied with the Bush Administration's whole-hearted cooperation with China for the Olympic Games. We condemn other nations that ignore human rights, and then turn around and embrace a country that commits the same injustices. Why is this? Is it because of money, or is it something else? Please tell me your opinion.
I just had an incredible idea. I'm going to fly to Beijing and stage an illegal protest right outside the gates of Olympic Stadium. Who's with me?