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July 30th, 2008
01:51 PM ET

Would you want to go to Beijing Olympics?

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Boatmen sail a replica of an ancient wooden ship on the Yangtze River to mark the upcoming 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.(PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

How would you like to attend the Olympics starting next week in Beijing? Before you answer, consider the following:

Foreign-owned hotels are being forced by the Communist Chinese government to install software that can spy on hotel guests. Republican Senator Sam Brownback got a hold of a government document calling on all hotels to use the spyware. If they don't agree to monitor their guests' web history, searches, etc., the hotels could face "severe retaliation" – including financial penalties, losing Internet access or losing their license to operate a hotel in China.

There are reports that 22 Chinese gold medalists have been purged from the team, some of them allegedly for "political" reasons.

Ten days ahead of the start of the games, Amnesty International is out with a report that says the human rights situation in China has gotten progressively worse. They claim China is using the Olympics as an excuse to crack down on dissents.

Amnesty says the government has locked up activists, kicked people out of their homes, required some demonstrators to report to the police every week, and detained journalists and bloggers. There is a report today that the Chinese government will block access to certain sites on the Internet as well. Amnesty also says the use of so-called "re-education through labor" camps and beatings in prison have increased.

China says the Amnesty report is unfair and biased.

No banners or whistles will be allowed. No flags of non-participating countries can be displayed. No gambling. No sit ins or demonstrations, no soft drink containers, musical instruments, cameras or radios. No drunkenness or streaking. And dog meat has been ordered removed from all official Olympic restaurants. You can still get a Fido burger, though, at those quaint little out-of-the-way places. And don't forget your gas mask, the air can be pretty foul.

Here’s my question to you: If you had the chance, would you want to go to the Olympics in Beijing?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Beijing Olympics
July 28th, 2008
03:59 PM ET

Mistake to award Olympic Games to China?

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Beijing's National Stadium, which is nicknamed 'Bird Nest', covered with smog. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP PHOTO)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:
The air in Beijing is heavy with a whole lot more than anticipation in advance of the Summer Olympic Games which begin in less than 2 weeks. Pollution in China's capital is reaching dangerous levels.

Chinese state media reports that if the air quality doesn't improve, they could pull up to 90% of the cars off the road in Beijing and shut down more factories. This comes after an air pollution control plan implemented over a week ago – it included pulling half of the city's 3 million vehicles off the roads, closing factories in and around Beijing and halting most construction. So far it hasn't worked.

For the last 5 days, Beijing's air pollution index has failed to meet the standard for "good" air quality, with visibility reduced to several hundred yards. Just the kind of stuff you want your athletes breathing.

More than 10,000 athletes and hundreds of thousands of spectators are expected for the games. Some teams, including our own, are offering optional breathing masks for their athletes.

And pollution isn't the only issue plaguing the Beijing games. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is warning China not to use Olympic security as an excuse to crack down on legitimate dissent. Chinese officials have made several terror-related arrests and insist that the Olympics are threatened by terrorists. But some are concerned China – which hasn't presented much evidence in these crackdowns – is just going after people who disagree with them. Most experts say the threat from terrorists is low.

And then there are the free-speech activists and those focused on Tibet and Darfur who have gone after China ahead of the summer games.
Here’s my question to you: In light of pollution in Beijing among other issues, was it a mistake to award the Olympic Games to China?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Beijing Olympics
April 10th, 2008
05:24 PM ET

Future of Olympic torch tour?

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Protestors wave Tibetan flags while an athlete runs with Beijing Olympics torch, on April 7, 2008 in Paris. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

A "crisis" is how the president of the International Olympic Committee describes the protests that have surrounded the torch relay.

But Jacques Rogge insists the torch relay will go on – despite protests in London, Paris and San Francisco which have focused on China's human rights record, its crackdown on Tibet and its close relationship with Sudan. He says the IOC has weathered many bigger storms, like the murder of the Israeli athletes in Munich in 1972 and the boycotts in 1976, 1980 and 1984.

However, Rogge says the committee will reconsider holding this kind of international relay for future Olympic Games.

He also called on China to honor its pledges to improve human rights and give foreign journalists unfettered access – a rare critique of the Communist country coming from the IOC. China shot right back, saying the committee should keep its nose out of its internal politics.

The torch has now arrived in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where there will be a relay tomorrow. It then moves on to 14 more cities in Africa and Asia before returning to China in August.

One IOC member has suggested that the p.r. nightmare that followed the flame this year may make it the last time for an international relay.

Here’s my question to you: In light of what’s happened in London, Paris and San Francisco, how should officials handle the remainder of the Olympic torch tour?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Beijing Olympics • Uncategorized
April 8th, 2008
04:59 PM ET

Mistake to award China Olympic Games?

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Demonstrators protesting China's human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch tie Tibetan flags and two banners to the cables of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, Monday. Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our Viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Controversy sprinkled with violence and ill will is accompanying the Olympic torch as it makes its way across what is supposed to be a 23-city international tour designed to build interest and good will for the summer Olympics.

Stops in London and Paris produced large-scale demonstrations by people protesting China's human rights record. The torch has now made its way to San Francisco, where the flame is being kept in an undisclosed location for security reasons. Possibly Dick Cheney's house.

Yesterday – protesters there scaled the Golden Gate Bridge and tied a Tibetan flag and two banners calling for a "free Tibet”. There's a 6-mile relay planned in San Francisco tomorrow, but already one runner dropped out because of safety concerns.

Meanwhile, the President of the International Olympic Committee tells the A.P. that the group's board will discuss Friday whether to end the international part of the Beijing Olympic torch relay because of all these protests.

Beijing organizers have said the month-long international relay won't be stopped. In fact, the vice president of the Chinese organizing committee insisted the Olympic torch has been quote, "warmly welcomed by the local people" in each city. Communist China's version of Baghdad Bob.

Here at home, there have been growing calls for President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the games. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown is the only head of state to join with Mr. Bush and announce he'll attend. Several world leaders have decided to skip the ceremony and many others remain undecided.

Of course, this whole scenario might have been prevented ages ago if the IOC had listened to those who argued against awarding the Olympic Games to China in the first place because of their human rights record.

Here’s my question to you: Did the International Olympic Committee make a mistake awarding the summer games to China?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Beijing Olympics
April 1st, 2008
05:38 PM ET

Should President Bush boycott Olympics opening ceremonies?

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Olympic torch lighting ceremony, Monday, March 31, 2008, at Tiananmen Square in Beijing, China. (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The list of names is growing - That being the number of nations calling for a boycott of this summer's Olympic Games in China. The calls come after what is being called the most violent anti-Chinese protests since 1989 occurred in Tibet two weeks ago.

Tibetan exiles say as many as one hundred forty people were killed. The Chinese government says the numbers are much lower than that.

House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who just returned from a visit with the Dalai Lama, is the latest to suggest the United States join the boycott. She told ABC News that President Bush should consider boycotting the opening ceremonies of the games, saying quote, "I think boycotting the opening ceremony, which really gives respect to the Chinese government, is something that should be kept on the table. I think the president might want to rethink this later, depending on what other heads of state do." unquote. She did not, however, go as far as to call on the United States to boycott the Olympics altogether. The White House says the games should be about the athletes, not about politics, and President Bush says he plans to attend the opening ceremonies.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown also remains committed to attending.

But German Chancellor Angela Merkel announced last week that she will skip the games entirely. French President Nicholas Sarkozy has suggested a boycott of the opening ceremony. Poland's prime minister has also announced a boycott, as well as the president of the Czech Republic.

In addition to boycotts, protesters are already showing up wherever the Olympic torch goes on its pre-olympic journey across the continents. One of those stops happens to be in Nancy Pelosi's home district of San Francisco.

Here’s my question to you: Should President Bush reconsider and boycott the opening ceremonies at the Summer Olympics in China?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Beijing Olympics
March 25th, 2008
05:52 PM ET

What will it take for world to boycott Beijing Olympics?

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Nepalese policemen arrest a Tibetan monk protester in exile during an anti-Chinese demonstration in front of the consular section of the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu on March 25, 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

There's a small but growing chorus of voices that's telling the Chinese government to knock it off.

Latest reports are Chinese police opened fire on hundreds of monks and nuns in an effort to quell demonstrations by Tibetans in parts of China. Witnesses say one monk and a farmer were killed and about a dozen people were wounded.

The government in exile of the Dalai Lama in India says the overall death toll has risen to 140; the Chinese government says it's lower. Of course, there's no way to verify these numbers because there's no such thing as a free press in China and foreign journalists are being barred from any areas where there has been unrest.

The president of the European Parliament has said European countries should not rule out threatening China with an Olympic boycott if violence continues in Tibet. Shooting monks and nuns is not a good way to make friends in the global community.

So far, the only response from President Bush is that he plans to attend the opening ceremonies in Beijing, saying the Olympics are about the athletes and not about politics.

When it comes to the United States, the politics are: we are in debt to China up to our eyeballs. Money borrowed to finance President Bush's war in Iraq and the stimulus package. And it might be hard to keep borrowing billions from the Chinese if the U.S. called them out for being nothing more than barbaric savages in their treatment of one of the most peaceful people on earth, the Tibetans.

Here’s my question to you: How bad does China's crackdown on Tibet have to get for the world to boycott the Olympics?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Beijing Olympics • China • Tibet
March 17th, 2008
05:45 PM ET

Boycotting the Olympics because of China’s crackdown on Tibet?

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A burning car sits on a street in the Tibetan capital Lhasa after violent protests broke out on March 14, 2008. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

China has been hoping to boost its image in the eyes of the world as it gets ready to host the Summer Olympics in Beijing, but the Chinese government's crackdown on protesters in Tibet is not helping.

What began a week ago as mostly peaceful protests by monks has spiraled into violent clashes, with Tibetans attacking the Chinese and burning their businesses. The Chinese government is now vowing to protect its territory and issued a midnight deadline that's now passed for protesters to either surrender or face harsh consequences.

There are reports of Chinese authorities parading handcuffed Tibetan prisoners in the capital of Lhasa. Chinese police are going house-to-house checking id cards and residence permits. The Chinese government puts the death toll at 16, with dozens injured. But the Dalai Lama's exiled government says 80 people have been killed.

Meanwhile, the protests that started in Tibet have spilled into three neighboring provinces and even to Beijing. And sympathy protests are also going on around the world.

China insists the violence won't harm the upcoming Olympic games. The U.S. has called on China to show restraint.

However, it’s getting support from who else but Russia – another beacon of human rights. The Russian government says it hopes China will take "all necessary measures to stop illegal actions." It adds that any efforts to boycott the Olympics are "unacceptable."

Olympic officials also say they are opposed to a boycott because of the violence in Tibet.

Here’s my question to you: Should countries boycott the Olympic Games in light of China's crackdown on protesters in Tibet?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

FULL POST


Filed under: Beijing Olympics • China • Tibet