Saturday, July 26, 2008


Cartoonist Jamie Hewlett and musician Damon Albarn, the creative duo that brought us Gorillaz, have produced this wonderful animated short for the BBC's sports marketing campaign on the Chinese Olympics.

We love the short, and the Gorillaz (I posted a song of theirs just last week) but have mixed feelings about the Chinese Olympics. It's all about money, isn't it? I mean sports?

The USA makes such a fuss about democracy--when it's convenient--but all the wonderful talk about "freedom" conveniently disappears when the big bucks are at stake. Compare how the US has defiantly blockaded Cuba, say, a tiny country 90 miles from Florida (for being communist and for violating human rights), and how it warmly welcomes China (read: communist, un-democratic, violator of human rights) because it's jammed with a billion and a half potential customers. That's a lot of Coke and cigarettes. I know, I'm cranky. It's just sports, after all. Get me a beer and a bowl of chips and I'll gladly shut up.

"The Chinese government should show the global Olympic audience it’s serious about human rights by releasing the Tiananmen detainees. Beijing’s use of Tiananmen Square as a macabre prop for China’s Olympic ‘coming-out-party’ adds insult to injury. "

--Sophie Richardson, Asia advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.

Along with freeing the imprisoned Tienanmen Square protesters, Human Rights Watch urges China to:

  • overturn the 1989 official pronouncement labeling the student movement a “counterrevolutionary rebellion;”

  • publicly recognize that the June 1989 massacre is a deeply divisive source of pain and frustration even within the ranks of the ruling Chinese Communist Party, by providing redress to the victims;
  • cease the harassment, arrest and imprisonment of survivors, family members, and scholars who demand state accountability for Tiananmen abuses; and

  • issue a complete list of those who died or were injured, and those who were imprisoned, as no such lists are publicly available.

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