Five Americans were detained in Beijing on August 19th, after displaying an LED banner with the words “Free Tibet” spelled out in both English and Chinese.

Amy Johnson, Sam Corbin, Liza Smith, Jacob Blumenfeld, and Lauren Valle were detained near midnight. Their whereabouts are currently unknown.

Personally, I’d say this has been one of the most entertaining and historical (in terms of world records set) Olympics in recent history. But the context in which it is being held is highly irregular, that a country with such a terrible history of human rights violations was awarded the games over nations like Canada and France.

When a country with China’s history earns the honour of hosting the most important and spectacular sporting event in the world, they should expect protest and public displays of displeasure.

Prior to the games, expecting some trouble, the Chinese government made impromptu protests illegal, requiring all potential protesters to register beforehand.

China has received over 77 applications since the first of the month, having yet to approve one. Many journalists are applying to stage protests only to test the extent of the limitations on freedom of expression and assembly in China. So far the answer has been pretty obvious.

Some beg to differ though. CBC reporter Sook-Yin Lee put freedom in China to the test, sipping canned beer in front of a guard in Tiananmen square. She earned no reaction from him.

I don’t think it really proves anything, but I guess it makes sense that in a country where internet freedom is a national threat, guards ignore the smaller things; like public drinking.

I really do love the show that’s being put on, these Olympic Games have been wonderfully entertaining and the stadiums are truly one of a kind. The only thing ruining the ambiance of the event, is the audience’s knowledge that as soon as these games are over, China’s political reputation will again make negative headlines.

Sad isn’t it?

About The Author

Sachin Seth is the Blast Magazine world news reporter. He writes the Terra blog. You can visit his website at or follow him on twitter @sachinseth

2 Responses

  1. Manuel

    I think where the Olympics go to next, won’t be about political icons of democracy (i know that they started in Greece), but about which Country can best represent Athletic Diversity.

    All this’ hold hands’, imo, isn’t what it should be about. IT’S A COMPETITION. Not a drum circle, while singing kumbaya.

    Sachin you’re so right that they DID bring it upon themselves the SCRUTINY of the entire world when they choose to be nominated, and won.

    But since everyone is content with kumbaya, and drumcircle multi-cultural diversity and RESPECT, I think protesters should RESPECT the wishes of the ENTIRE WORLD, and just quiet down(not that they’ve made headline [aside from the torch ambushes]) for these few weeks to respect to any host country’s opposition of their democratic views.

    Besides, even protesters could use a brake, and take off their sneakers*, caps*, signs*, pens*, pencils*. They always have the internet to spread their message. And you don’t need a permit for that.

    *Made in China


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