As the Tibet unrest continues, China “pulls an Obama,” reacting to a well-run opponent with fear and self-defeating insularity:
China rethinks Tiananmen Olympics broadcasts – CNN.com
Like the Olympics, live broadcasts from Tiananmen Square were meant to showcase a friendly, confident China — one that had put behind it the deadly 1989 military assault on democracy demonstrators in the vast plaza that remains a defining image for many foreigners.
“Tiananmen is the face of China, the face of Beijing, so many broadcasters would like to do live or recorded coverage of the square,” said Yosuke Fujiwara, the head of broadcast relations for the Beijing Olympic Broadcasting Co., or BOB, a joint-venture between Beijing Olympic organizers and an IOC subsidiary. BOB coordinates and provides technical services for the TV networks with rights to broadcast the Olympics, such as NBC.
Earlier this week, however, officials with the Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee, or BOCOG, told executives at BOB that the live shots were canceled, according to three people familiar with the matter who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
“We learned that standup positions would be canceled,” one of these people said. “No explanation was given for the change.”
It’s obvious what China fears: some protestors will be videotaped being roughed-up on live international television. But Tiananmen is the largest city square in the world, in one of the world’s largest cities. Any brutality or protests in Tiananmen during the Olympics will be videotaped and will be broadcast to the world: this just guarantees that the footage will be grainy, and all the more disturbing.
Besides any westerners who may cause trouble, China’s showing her weakness and will attract attention from Tibetans, Uighers, and Falun Gong. This is a dangerous mix of very different protest strategies, that (combined with Communist media paralysis) will help embarrass that country.