The majority of protesters in South Korea were not demonstrating against China due to what was happening in Tibet, as it was the main root of the demonstrations in other parts of the world. Instead, the Anti-Beijing protesters demonstrated because of the harsh treatment North Korean defectors were treated by China. It gives off the indication that South Korea is protesting for its own reasons.
The issue of the treatment by the Chinese government of North Korean refugees could be added upon the list of things that looms over China as it is set to host the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, this coming August. Other issues include China’s record of human rights, Darfur, and Tibet. The treatment of North Korean refugees could be linked to the issue of human rights.
This gives off the inevitability that the 2008 Olympics will be highly political. China has been trying to keep the games and the politics separate from one another. It looks to be a simple feat in writing. But, it is a different story when in actual application.
One North Korean defector named Son Jong Hoon, who is 45 years old, attempted self-immolation. This was a means to stop the Olympic Torch relay in South Korea. He tried to campaign to keep his brother from being executed in North Korea. But, it failed. However, his plan was foiled by the police.
But, the Anti-Beijing sentiment had energized Chinese from across the world showing their loyalty to the country. Many of those that participated in the torch relay said that they did not understand what was wrong. The demonstrators were counteracted by a larger group of counter-demonstrators comprised of Chinese students. This mirrors what previous happened in Canberra, Australia.
In Canberra, there was a large wave of Chinese students waving Chinese flags. Those flags greatly outnumbered the Australian flags. Also, the same thing had happened in Japan where protesters were outnumbered by Chinese students.
However, South Korea is the only location so far where there have been protests in regards to China’s treatment of North Korean refugees.
In the case of the Chinese students in South Korea, they have said that the Olympics are not a platform for political issues. However, the Olympics being used as a political platform is highly inevitable.
Two South Koreans chosen for the torch relay dropped out due to what is going on in Tibet.
Hollywood Actor Richard Gere, a convert to Buddhism and a supporter of Tibet, said that he would be boycotting the games.
China has been under harsh criticism about its crackdown in Tibet. Many figures across the world have voiced their dissatisfaction of such crackdowns. While in Paris, France, meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, presumed US GOP nominee Senator John McCain of Arizona said that such actions by China is unacceptable of a world power. US Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said that the world was watching over China’s shoulder.
Hollywood Director Steven Spielberg resigned his post as a creative adviser to the Olympics in Beijing. He had cited the violence in Darfur as his reason for resigning. Spielberg said that China is not doing enough to end the violence in Darfur.
Back in 2007, curing the CNN Democratic Debates, New Mexico Governor and former Democratic presidential hopeful Bill Richardson explained that China is Sudan’s number one buyer of oil. He explained that as a result, China has economic control over the country. Richardson had given the suggestion that the United States threaten to boycott the Olympics as a means to pressure China to do more about Darfur.
Now, the treatment of North Korean refugees could be added to the list of issues that could potentially spell out a PR nightmare for the Olympic Games in Beijing, China.