Tibet Will Be Free (the SFT Blog!)

WELCOME TO THE STUDENTS FOR A FREE TIBET BLOG--------> This is the weblog of the SFT Headquarters. Here you can peek into the minds (not to mention actions, events, trainings, brainstorms, parties...) of the SFT staff, board members, volunteers, friends and fellow activists. Tibet will be free.

We've Moved:

Tibet Will Be Free has moved off of this site because Blogger is owned by Google. Visit the new TIBET WILL BE FREE at blog.studentsforafreetibet.org

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

World Bank and Wolfensohn

If you listen (its not in the text summary) to the "All Things Considered" NPR story on James Wolfensohn (today's his last day at the World Bank) at the link below, you'll hear a reference to "two young men who climbed the World Bank to protest China" and how Wolfensohn ended up having a "vigorous debate" with them. This, of course, is referencing our successful action and campaign against the World Bank a few years back!

All Things Considered Story and Audio Link

So long, Wolfensohn, and hello Wolfowitz. Ugh.

"Sugar Free Tibet" Made in China

Here at the SFT office, we've noticed this oddity for awhile now, but it finally just got some wider coverage on Boing Boing.

The cleverly named "Sugar Free Tibet" mints made by Oral Fixations are packaged in tins that are made in China. In our book, that unfortunately cancels out their good intention of donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the Tibetan struggle.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

More Equivocations from Kristof

For the third column on China in a row, Nicholas Kristof has disappointed me. I can't say that I understand where the force is in Kristof's latest glass-is-half-full column on China. Kristof, a man with a vocal propensity for moral clarity, has again ho'ed and hummed over the repression of free speech in China.

The authorities have arrested a growing number of Web dissidents. But there just aren't enough police to control the Internet, and when sites are banned, Chinese get around them with proxy servers.

Kristof rightly thinks the growing number of blogs that critique the Chinese government and Communist Party represents progress towards greater access to information. But what troubles me is Kristof's blithe acceptance of the fact that people in China are being regularly arrested for their thoughts and beliefs. Kristof barely bats an eye when one of his own posts on a Chinese blog calling for free elections is censored:

I tried my own experiment, posting comments on Internet chat rooms. In a Chinese-language chat room on Sohu.com, I called for multiparty elections and said, "If Chinese on the other side of the Taiwan Strait can choose their leaders, why can't we choose our leaders?" That went on the site automatically, like all other messages. But after 10 minutes, the censor spotted it and removed it.

Then I toned it down: "Under the Communist Party's great leadership, China has changed tremendously. I wonder if in 20 years the party will introduce competing parties, because that could benefit us greatly." That stayed up for all to see, even though any Chinese would read it as an implicit call for a multiparty system.

I just don't understand how a columnist for the NY Times can take being censored so lightly. He admits journalists are being jailed for their writings, he has his own opinions deleted from a Chinese website, and yet he is comfortable saying things are getting better? It's absurd and it's irresponsible because it promotes passivism in the face of oppression. If Kristof cares so much about the future of free speech in China, he would be better served not to point out to the Chinese government that they shouldn't be giving people broadband access if they don't want dissent.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Kristof (NY Times) on China

Nicholas D. Kristof, of the New York Times, says New York City could go the way of Kaifeng, China, if the U.S. doesn't make some bold changes. His lessons learned from the mistakes made by a once great Chinese city are:

-Implement sound economic policies
-Sustain technological advantages
-Be environmentally conscious
-Remain intellectually curious

My question is, has China learned these lessons, or are they doomed to repeat their mistakes in places like Shanghai and Beijing?

Watch the flash movie or read the article

Monday, May 16, 2005

Follow the Chinese Blogosphere

At the Personal Democracy Forum conference today, I attended a session entitled "Lessons from the International Stage: England, Canada, Iran and the Middle East". Rebecca MacKinnon (her blog is at RConversation.com) was the moderator of the discussion. Through her I found two great links.

First, on her blog today, she wrote some good news about Harvard's Nieman Center's China Troubles:

"Harvard's Nieman Foundation has canceled plans to sponsor a week long training session for Chinese officials who will be handling media for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. The cancellation came after several Nieman alumni raised concerns that: 1) training officials in what is essentially p.r. goes beyond the Nieman mandate (mainly a program for accomplished mid-career journalists who are selected to spend a year at Harvard, taking classes, receiving training, and reflecting on their craft); and 2) the Chinese government is no big friend of free speech, and thus there were concerns that the Nieman training would help them refine their lying techniques. For articles on the whole hoopla, see the New York Times, a Boston Globe Op-Ed and news article, and a Washington Post article."

Second, she pointed out a great site called "Global Voices Online", which summarizes whats being discussed in international blogs, and provides a China category. The hot topic right now are the anti-Japan protests, but I'm sure this is a great place to monitor Tibet and Beijing 2008 discussion, as well.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

EU & China Arms Talks

In the category of "Oh great, that's what we needed," the European Union is considering lifting its arms embargo to China. The EU had postponed lifting the embargo earlier this year after the US lobbied heavily to keep the embargo in place. You know you're living in screwy times when the Bush administration is actively fighting against a weapons sale, while Europe is considering opening new economic doors for their arms manufacturers in the face of a twenty year old call for China to respect human rights. Hopefully this deal won't get done during the remaining six weeks of Luxembourg's presidency of the EU and the British, whose newly reelected Tony Blair will next assume the presidency, will continue to hold on to demands for China to make real progress with respect to human rights.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Prescient cartoon

CLICK HERE for a larger version...