Saturday, December 10, 2005

Massacre in China

Reports and pictures are coming out of China of a massacre of reportedly as many as 70 people in Dongzhou, Shanwei. Official Government sources are reporting only two dead yet these pictures would seem to back up independent sources claims that the death toll is far higher.

These killings took place close to Hong Kong on Tuesday as residents were protesting against the construction of a power plant. Official sources say they were throwing bombs at the police and army while eye witnesses are reporting that these were only fireworks.

If the reported death toll is correct it is the worse massacre since Tiananmen Square but this one was away from the western camera crews.

Coming just 3 years before Beijing is due to host the Olympic Games the readiness of the Chinese authorities to still suppress protest by deadly force is a worrying sign. What will happen if such a protest were to break out in Beijing during the high profile international event that is the Olympics? Would innocent foreigners caught up in such a protest be slain as well?

There had been concerns when Beijing was awarded the XXIX Olympiad that their human rights record was still not suitable to host such an event. The events of the last few days, the deadly force, suppression of news and government cover up show that little has changed inwardly in China.

Maybe it is time for the International Olympic Committee to seek an alternative venue capable to hosting the games at very short notice.

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