Huangfu Ping On Tibet
(Caijing; backed up at My1510.cn) Do Not Be Afraid of Floating Clouds Shield Your View. By Huangfu Ping. April 30, 2008. [Background on the author is given in Ming Pao Interviews Huangfu Ping]
[Note: Huangfu Ping is the penname of a former <Liberation Daily> commentator and <People's Daily> deputy editor-in-chief. He became renowned under the penname of Hunagfu Ping with a series of articles in support of the reforms.]
The Sacred Flame Has Scorched Two Cultures
April 30 is 100 days from the Beijing Olympics countdown.
From the ceremony in which the Olympic flame was lit in Greece on March 30, this has not been a peaceful month. The Olympic torch went from London, Paris, San Francisco to New Dehli, Canberra, Seoul. It was greeted warmly by the local citizens and the overseas Chinese immigrants and students. But it was also subjected to protests by people who are dissatisfied with how the Chinese government is handling the Tibet issue. In order to ensure that the torch was relayed smoothly, the local police were forced to keep the routes secret, changed the routes without notice, shortened the routes, temporarily put out the flames and arrested protestors. All the way through, there were repeated clashes between the overseas Chinese immigrants and students versus the supporters of Tibet independence. The Olympic flame which was to symbolize peace and unity became a source of hurt between the Chinese cultures of Han and Tibet in an unexpected manner.
It was the hope of the Chinese people to host the Olympics for almost a century. Finally, just as the Olympics are about to take place in our capital, we are faced with these embarrassing situations. We had made two emotionally charged applications to host the Olympics and we thought that we would finally get our chance to show the rise of our people in a peaceful and prosperous time. We did not anticipate that the Olympics would be like an astronomical telescope that magnifies all the unsatisfactory flaws. In our subconscious, we were expecting the world to be awed by the modern construction projects for the Beijing Olympics so that the Chinese everywhere can feel proud. But we did not realize that the people, the mass media and the NGO's of the world (including some with political powers) would use the Olympics to criticize our government's governing and administrative styles as well as expect that we would make clear changes with respect democracy, human rights and rule of law during the Olympic period.
The two sets of expectations inside and outside China collided, and created the embarrassing situations during the Olympic torch relay. The opportunities and challenges of the Olympics are two sides of the same coin.
The Olympics Represent The Longing Of The Chinese People To Join The World
Beijing is hosting the Olympics, Shanghai will be hosting the World Expo, China has entered the WTO, opened to the outside world, joined the United Nations peacekeeping force, and so on. These actions show the earnest desire of the Chinese people to join the mainstream world culture, and such is the solemn promise of the Chinese government towards the international community. There is no need to change the direction of our forward progress, especially not because of external pressure and internal anxiety.
When the reforms first began, Deng Xiaoping visited Japan and the United States, and led the grand nation of China out of the self-imposed isolation during the era of Mao Zedong. In Japan, Deng Xiaoping visited a Japanese automobile factory and saw the new production line which could produce 99 times as many vehicles as the Chinese Changchun Number One Factory. He sighed: "Now I understand what modernization means." In Houston (USA), Deng went to the rodeo show and accepted a cowboy hat from a horse rider and he put the hat on his head. That moment in which the leader of a Communist country gladly received an icon of American culture was defined by the media as the symbol to show that China was opening up.
After the Cold War ended, the world became more diversified. Although the residues of Cold War ideas continue to interfere, the Chinese people did not miss the opportunity to open up to the outside world in a systematic manner.
Before the third generation Chinese Communist leader Jiang Zemin left the politics, he was invited to visit American president George W. Bush at his Crawford (TX) ranch. This laid the foundation for the strategic partnership between China and the United States.
The effort by China to join the WTO was met with western hostility and internal worries. Zhu Rongji had no fear of being cursed out when he went to visit the United States. Later in Beijing, he personally discussed the final seven remaining tough problems with the Americans. According to the chief Chinese negotiator Long Yongtu, the Americans went through the first three problems and Zhu Rongji always had the same answer: "I accept." Long Yongtu got concerned and kept passing notes to Zhu. Then Zhu pounded on his table and said: "Long Yongtu, stop passing me notes!" When the fourth problem came up, Zhu Rongji said: "You should make some concessions in the last four problems. If you do so, we can sign immediately." The Americans coonferred anxiously for five minutes on their own and accepted the Chinese terms. Thus, the last obstacle for China to join the WTO was removed in one stroke.
Former Vice-Premier Wu Yi was in charge of foreign trade and she actively promoted the integration of thee Chinese economy into the world economy. She was systematic and reasonable in dealing with international trade disputes. In the discussion of intellectual property rights with the United States, the Americans said: "We are negotiating with thieves." Wu Yi retorted: "And we are negotiating with robbers. Please take a good look at the exhibits in your museums and count how many were robbed from China." Former American trade negotiator Charlene Barshefsky praised Wu Yi as "an outstanding representative of the Chinese people" on the eve of Wu's retirement. Wu only said plainly: "I am a salesperson. I am selling my motherland, China."
China does not interfere with the market economy. Before the reforms began, 99.96% of the workers belong to public enterprises. Today, the non-public economy (including private capital, Hong Kong capital, Taiwan capital and foreign capital) account for two-thirds of the Chinese economy. China did not interfere with new high technology. China has the second largest Internet population in the world (221 million) and the largest mobile phone population (539 million). Even as China is getting on track in economy and technology, it is also making huge efforts on the political system, social management and cultural exchange. The Chinese Communists has publicly announced that they have the rule of law and democracy as their goals, expand civil participation in politics, implement democracy within the party, oppose corruption and reform the administrative system.
From the people to the government, China supported and loved the Beijing Olympics because it represents a fervent longing and sincere effort to stand up culturally and to exchange with the rest of the world on an equal footing. China has implemented its reforms for a full 30 years. The Chinese used practical action to end Hegel's reflection: "China is an exception beyond all other exceptions. Logic does not apply in China." For the Chinese people, the Beijing Olympics will be a great opportunity. To use the explanation from the Chinese television documentary <River Elergy> from the 1980's:
Through thousands of years, the blue waves of the Pacific Ocean have been silently calling out to this ancient tribe of people who have been sleeping on the mainland ...
We are moving from translucency to openness.
We are moving from being sealed off to becoming open.
After thousands of years of solitude, the Yellow River can finally see the deep blue ocean.
Western Cultural Hegemony Creates Blowback From Chinese Citizens
Regrettably, the sincerity and honesty of China towards the world civilization is often misinterpreted by the deeply biased western media, the western governments and even some western citizens. Such cultural prejudices, political arrogance and military strikes can easily remind the young Chinese people about the century of shame since the Opium War.
The Tibet problem that created such a stir internationally this time was related to the separatism that was once stirred up by the British imperialists. The British army invade Yadong and Jiangzi and the Tibetan army rose up to resist and defend their homeland. The 13th Dalai Lama had joined with the British to oppose the Qing dynasty and ended up being exiled to India. In the end, he recognized his mistake and returned to Lhasa under the rule of the central government. He rejected the McMahon Line draw up by the British. In modern history, China was subjected to internal and external problems, and the Tibetans and the Hans both shared the woes of the Chinese nation in the face of western hegemony. Our hearts were filled with anger, sorrow, shame and grievance. The Tibetan people were courageous and their leaders understood their cause was righteous. They formed an important part of the force of the Chinse people and caused to political forces that had devious designs on Chinese territory to pause.
Over this past month, we were startled to see the political prejudices against the 59 years of New China, the slights against the 168 years of the culture of the Chinese people since the Opium War, and the rejection of the 30 years of reform and peaceful rise of China. On occasions, things took on the symptoms of hysteria. An example is the CNN host Jack Cafferty calling the Chinese people "thugs and goons" and calling products made in China "trash."
I understand the young Chinese people who gather to protest outside the Carrefour hypermarts in certain cities, but I do not approve of the boycott action. China is a member of WTO, and calling for boycotts of foreign products and producers is not a smart move. We must be wary about the influence of narrow-minded nationalism and populism on these young people. The government must also take steps to prevent the deterioration of the investment climate in China. But I must also remind the western world to understand and respect the historical sense of tragedy of the Chinese people and the blowback against certain western media for their clumsy belittlement of China during the Olympic torch relay. Wherever there is action, there is reaction. The western world should think hard about that.
Many young Chinese people cannot forgive certain western media and NGO's because they made subjectively edited and partial interpretations about the truth of the riots in Lhasa and other areas where Tibetans congregate as well as the rich and complex relationship between the Han and Tibetan peoples. During the March 14 Lhasa riot, the Han people were violently attacked, looted and robbed by a small number of Tibetans, but the western media characterized the Tibetans as large-scale victims. The central government had lavished money to support the economic development of Tibet, it imported people with skills and talents from the inland, it funded basic education, it made modern technology accessible and it built the railroad to Tibet. These efforts may not all be perfect, but isn't it not even minimally fair and balanced to describe all these efforts as deliberately attempts to destroy the existing Tibetan culture? Do the westerns want the Tibetan to live permanently in a society with no transportation infrastructure, no access to information and have livelihoods based upon hunting and gathering? Do the Tibetans have to stay frozen in time and space so that the westerns can enjoy the aesthetic view of the sacred land of the snowy mountains?
Many young Chinese people cannot forgive certain western media and NGO's of their sarcastic comments about the enthusiasm of the Chinese people and their government in welcoming the Olympics. As hosts, we are still somewhat unfamiliar and awkward with international customs with respect to certain organizational details for the Olympics. Thus, we sometimes do silly things. But this event represents an attempt by the Chinese people to interact with world civilization, which includes dialogue with western cultures. Our sincerity and our various efforts have been blocked up and disrupted by certain westerners. But it would be unwise for us to be intolerant to everybody.
We Must Be Wary About Intolerance Of The Outside World
Even as we protest against the western cultural hegemony and resist the possible political plots, we need to examine ourselves humbly. The Olympics is like the WTO. It helps the Chinese people to share in the universal culture and it also expresses what the international community wants from China. This does not reflect solely the will of China. There is no free ride in the international system of relationships. The Olympic spirit emphasizes the tolerance and surpassing of cultural divides. Everybody is supposed to act as world citizens to see and understand different cultural backgrounds and values, and learn to live harmoniously together in a diversified environment. The wall of alienation between eastern and western cultures requires both the east and west to work together to demolish it. So which part of how we do things, and how we communicate and express ourselves with the international community needs to be improved?
China has shown intolerance of outsiders in the past. In 1972, Premier Zhou Enlai invited the Italian film director Michelangelo Antonioni to make the documentary <Chung Kuo>. Antonioni avoided the political proselytization of the Cultural Revolution and turned his camera on the normal lives and mental states of ordinary Chinese people instead. He was pilloried. <People's Daily> received orders to publish the commentary <Malicious Intent, Disgusting Method> to denounce <Chung Kuo> as an "anti-Chinese movie." After Jiang Qing and the Gang of Four fell, the Foreign Ministry acknowledged in a document that this affair "created bad influence among foreigners." When the Chinese Minister of Culture visited Italy, he made a special visit to apologize to Antonioni.
In contemporary Chinese history, there were some heart-breaking misunderstanding and condemnations of people who were the first to look at the outside world. The first Chinese diplomat was Guo Songdao. When Guo served as the consul to England and France, he was vilified by the Chinese government officials as "a Chinese traitor and a turncoat official." His book <Memoirs of a Diplomat in the West> was destroyed. After Guo resigned on grounds of poor health and returned home, his house was plastered with abusive big-character posters written by neighbors.
Today, we are expressing the national interests of China and the dignity of the Chinese in a firm and powerful manner. We also need to cultivate and maintain a cultural mentality that includes and tolerates diversity. We need to present our positions rationally as well as treat different voices seriously. When the paralympic torch bearer Jin Jing used her body to defend the Olympic torch, we can shower her with high praises; when she opposed the Carrefour boycott, we should not treat her as an enemy. We have adequate justification in protesting against the inaccurate reporting and malicious commentaries in some of the western media. But the western media will continue to use "colored lens" to look at the Chinese reality over the long term. The rectification requires long-term exchange, including the provision of explanations and counter-arguments as well as the acceptance of scrutiny by people from other cultures. The western world is a cultural environment in which open access to information and freedom of speech are basic values, and those malicious and hostile reports form only one part of the voices there. We can express our dissatisfaction, but we cannot expect that kind of voice to disappear completely forever.
In an environment with diverse opinions, news reports on these opinions are balanced generally speaking. We only need to increase the appeal of the China position. News reporting is a fluid process. Due to information blockage and cultural alienation, the news reports become inaccurate. The follow-up on the incident is supplemented and corrected by later reports. In a country which is about to host the Olympics, there is no need for its people to become immensely hostile to the foreign mainstream media on account of certain inaccurate and malicious reports. Behind these mainstream media lies certain public opinions in their home countries. The divergence between public opinions in one county and those of another require dialogue to resolve.
Another important factor in the increase of East-West alienation is the lag of East-West information. We should continue to lift the transparent of internal Chinese information and respect the right of the Chinese people to be informed. In suddenly breaking incidents or mass incidents that involve ethnic and religious issues, the information should be released honestly, sincerely and openly in a timely manner. The sky will not fall down as a result. We cannot rely on the system of media control within China to work for overseas propagandizing. We need to do media public relations in an environment of multi-culturalism, including media management during public relations crises. During the March 14 riots in Lhasa, the reports issued by the sole foreign reporter (James Miles of The Economist) confirmed the veracity of the press release of the government of the Tibet Autonomous Rule Region -- namely, the police were self-restrained at the riot scenes. This shows that not all foreign correspondents are politically biased and hostile.
China needs social stability and public power needs an appropriate authority to maintain social stability. But this public power necessarily has to be completely transparent. Transparency and openness are the best ways to handle a crisis. I agree with the attitude of State Council Information Office deputy director Cai Mingzhao's position after the Lhasa riots: The Chinese government will not be angered by outside condemnations and it will not ban the athletes' blogs that contain negative opinions; the Olympics should be an opportunity for the global media to look at China from a different angle.
We should be able to recognize that a successful Olympics depends not just on economic and sports power, but more importantly on political, cultural, social and people quality power. It is a delusion to be able to dominate the world through economic progress and sports gold medals alone.
High Humanistic Qualities Are Required To Deal With Ethnic and Religious Issues
The issues of Tibet, Xinjiang and Taiwan involve the core interests of China, namely national sovereignty and territorial integrity. This is the grand premise. Under this grand premise, there are many detailed issues, such as issues about ethnicity, religion, society and history. All these require concrete and detailed analysis.
Those Chinese people who want peaceful development are obviously incompatible with the small number of violent Tibetan independence advocates. This is about the grand principles of righteousness for the nation. But there are still lingering estrangements, misunderstandings and misgivings between the Tibetan and Han people over time, even though these are not grand principles of righteousness. Therefore, patient communication is required to reach a consensus. Politically and economically, the Han people have been the leading ethnic group. As such, they need to have the courage to admit their weaknesses and inadequacies, especially with respect to reflecting on the damage that they have historically caused the Tibetan people. During the three years of famine due to The Great Leap Forward, the Tibetan people also starved alongside the Han people. The fat residues and wheat chaffs previously used to feed the cattle, horses and mules were sought out and fought over by Tibetans to eat for themselves. During the madness of the Cultural Revolution, the monasteries in the areas with high concentrations of Tibetans were assaulted, scrolls were destroyed, monks and nuns were forced to become secular and some Tibetan people were so poor that they did not even own bowls. The 10th Panchen Lama sent an angry 70,000-word-long letter to Mao Zedong, and was sent to the Qincheng Prison during those crazy times in which black and white were reversed.
We have adequate reason to say that when the reforms began, Hu Yaobong was earnestly concerned about the Tibetan compatriots and the central government invested in building Tibetan infrastructure. Of every 10 RMB in the Tibetan government budget, 9 RMB came from the central government budget. In 2007, the average GDP per capita was 12,000 RMB in Tibet, which is higher than many provinces and cities in the inland. Free education was implemented in Tibet earlier than in the rest of China. The urban Tibetans have full medical coverage, while the rural farmers receive 100 RMB per annum in medical assistance (even though this amount is still quite low). The central government invested huge amounts of money to restore and maintain the Potala Palace, the Norbulinka Monastery and the Sakya Monastery, it organized a team to publish <The Great Treasury Scriptures> in Tibetan and it restored <The Epic of King Gesar>. These achievements can be seen by the Han and the Tibetan peoples, and they cannot be denied.
But we must also recognize that the injection of wealth into Tibet is not equivalent to the injection of happiness. The Tibetan people are a group with a rich spiritual life, so that any support and assistance to Tibet must be materialistic as well as spiritual. We must pay attention to the spiritual needs of the Tibetan people and their Tibetan Buddhist religion, we must respect their culture and customs, we must love and protect the ecology of Tibet, we must stop overgrazing of the grasslands, we must stop indiscriminate deforestation and we must prevent the slaughter of rare animal species.
With respect to the Dalai Lama, we will firmly reiterate our political position that we oppose Tibetan independence and we oppose violence. At the same time, we need to be good at communicating and commenting at the level of spiritual culture. The Dalai Lama is adept at packaging demands that involve political interests as the defense of a certain form of spiritual purity. To simply apply political labels to the Dalai Lama such as calling him "a jackal wearing a monk's robe and a demon with a human face and the heart of a beast" is not going to smear him or bring him down. Instead, it will only leave an impression for the international community about crass boorishness and an unwillingness to engage in dialogue.
We must acknowledge that there had to be certain social problems during the economic development of Tibet, such as the relationship between the base cadres and the masses and how the mainland entrepreneurs and the local Tibetans can create wealth together. We also need more flexible social administrative systems and ethnic autonomous-rule systems to ensure that social problems do not get politicized. Wise leaders are always good at separating political and ideological problems and reduce things to specific individual social problems to be solved one at a time. They do not label the various demands from various interest groups as "political plots" "with ulterior motives" and let these demands coalesce into politicized problems that explode together. Therefore, the relevant leaders in charge of the Tibet issue must break away from the traditional political thinking and deal with the unique social, ethnic and religious problems in Tibet in a pragmatic way.
The Han and the Tibetan peoples share some admired historical figures such as Confucius, Guang Yu and Lord Bao. There were continuous friendly exchanges, compliments, tributes, unions and presents between the Han and the Tibetans. The Jokhang Temple has a stele in front to document the alliance between the Tang Dynasty and the Tibetan Kingdom, with an uncle-nephew relationship. Princess Wencheng of the Tang Dynasty was married to King Songtsen Gampo of the Tibetan Kingdom. The People's Liberation Army was stationed in Tibet during the early years of the liberation and brought in the advanced scientific technology and cultural achievements. Tibetan Buddhism was widely popular in the inland. The Yonghe Palace in Beijing, the Summer Garden in Beijing, the White Pagoda Temple, the Taer Temple in Qinghai, the Dazhao Temple in Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), the Wutai Mountain in Shanxi province and the Ling Yin Temple in Hangzhou city all incorporate Tibetan-style architecture, statues and murals. The land reforms in Tibet raised the social standing of the farmers and herders. The social foundation of Han-Tibetan relationship has not basically changed, and we should have confidence in harmony between the Han and the Tibetans.
I agree with the view of the Phoenix TV commentator: The central government officials in charge of minority and religious affairs need to be highly trained in ethnic studies and anthropology so that they get enter the inner worlds of the Tibetan people. They need to be so familiar with Tibetan culture to the point that they become avid fans. The Emperor Qianlong took remedial lessons in the Tibetan language for the purpose of meeting with the 6th Panchen Lama. I suggest that the government should raise its own stance higher. On one hand, it must continue to serve as the keeper of social order. On the other hand, it should play a more active role as a social mediator to resolve the estrangement, misunderstandings and conflicts between the two great ethnic groups of the big Chinese family. At the same time, they can also serve as the mediator between the spiritual leader Dalai Lama of Tibet and the more radically violent elements (such as the Tibet Youth Congress). Here, I am reminded of the words of the Emperor Kangxi: "When a emperor reigns, there is a natural logic that does not require taking risks. The way to defend the borders of the kingdom is to be benevolent and make sure that the people are happy. When the people are content they love their nation and the borders will be secured." That was a perceptive summary of the historical experience in ruling Tibet!
Face The World With A Plain Demeanor
Tibet is situated in the middle of the three ancient civilizations based upon the Yellow River, the Two Rivers and the Indian Rivers. The Brahmaputra Yarlung Zangbu River is the crack that opened when the Eurasian and Indian plates collided. The Qingzang Plateau is the roof of the world and the Brahmaputra Yarlung River which stands three times as high as the Taishan Mountain above sea level should not be the cause of alienation between different civilizations.
The Chinese Ambassador to the United Kingdom Fu Ying wrote in the <Sunday Telegraph>, "I am concerned that mutual perceptions between the people of China and the West are quickly drifting in opposite directions." "... simply a sincere heart was not enough to ensure China's smooth integration with the world. The wall that stands in China's way to the world is thick." The Olympic torch relay is only the prelude to the Olympics. The next focus will be on Beijing. During the Olymipcs, various athletes, judges, tourists, NGO's and government leaders will come to Beijing and necessarily bring with them certain different values and angles for social criticism. The Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee has repeatedly ask for the Olympics not to be politicized. They hoped that the Beijing Olympics can avoid being confounded by the issues of Tibet, human rights and so on. But we cannot require that all the foreigners coming to Beijing should do so only for the sports. Furthermore, we cannot require that they observe things and reach the same judgments as we do. How shall we treat the voices which differ from ours? This will be a test for us about how to join in globalization.
Obviously, the government should quickly withdraw from the role of omnipotent government. When we face the international community, we cannot expect all the statements to come from the same angle and the same position. The central government is concerned about national unity and social order. The Beijing municipal government is concerned about security, traffic and preventing terrorism. The Beijing Olympics Organizing Committee is concerned about the normal operations of the Olympics without interference.
At the same time, we could try marketizing the media, the NGO, the Internet "opinion leaders" and the broad masses to become the principal opinion makers. We could encourage them to make independent reporting and comments on the Tibet issue as well as the Beijing Olympics. They can have voices that are different from the government positions. In recently years, at the Xiamen PX project and the southern snow disasters, the Internet civic reporters went personally to take photos and publish first-hand eyewitness reporters to supplement the official media. During the Lhasa riots, if the Lhasa residents, victims and toursits can express their own experiences and feelings freely so that the world can understand the truth about the riots and voices of the Chinese people, the benefits should outweigh the drawbacks. As for issues such as the improvement of the economy and human rights in Tibet, the advances in ethnic policies, the cultural impact during the process of modernization of Tibet, the misunderstanding, hostility and their dissolution between the Han and the Tibetans are more effective for civilians than government officials to assess. The transparency of information and diversity of opinions is a good way to dispel hostilities.
In 1999, Sino-western relationships were in turmoil. In May, our embassy in Serbia was bombed. In December, the WTO Sino-American bilateral agreement was signed. It took more than six months to turn around the crisis. There are only 100 days left from the Olympic torch relay storm in the west to the opening of the Olympics. Time is even more urgent! The comforting thing is that decent people inside and outside of China are working hard to dilute the unpleasantness and create harmony for the forthcoming festivities.
From the center of the storm over the Olympic torch relay in Paris, the French Senate President Christian Poncelet arrived in Shanghai on April 21. As soon as he landed, he went immediately to visit the paralymic torch bearer Jin Jing who was assaulted in Paris by demonstrators. The Senate President brought a personal letter from French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The letter expressed "extreme uneasiness" over the "intolerable attack." It also said that incident "does not reflect the feelings of the French people towards the Chinese people" and "it is understandable that the Chinese people would feel hurt." In the emotionally volatile France, the politicians are cooling down and considering how to slow down the angry emotions coming from China.
Chinese Vice-Premier Xi Jinping met with the NBC Olympics coverage president Dick Ebersole recently. At a time when the Chinese media and the people are condemning CNN and questioning the seriously inaccurate coverage of the Lhasa riot as well as hostility against China, Vice-Premier Xi expressed his "gratitude" towards NBC for its Olympics coverage. Xi hoped that the various media groups can "work together" to bring the Olympics to the world. This is an unusual expression of opinion. We must actively find ways to communicate with the international media, encourage fair and accurate reporting, and reduce the mutual demonization and hostility.
The Chinese government stated through the Xinhua Agency that it intends to meet with the private envoy of the Dalai Lama. The classical approach in the theory of social movements is to win over the moderates and isolate the radicals. This was how the United States deal with Al Fatah and Hamas, and this is worth our trying. We can urge the Dalai Lama to use his own influence to restrain the violent activities of the Tibetan radicals, which befits his status as a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize. The Dalai Lama should also do things (including towards Tibetans) that are helpful to the peaceful rise of China.
In truth, the Chinese government has worked very hard to create an open environment that corresponds to the Olympics. Respecting the Olympic custom, the Chinese government lifted the restrictions on foreign correspondents as of January 1, 2007. The foreign correspondents do not need to apply to conduct interviews outside of their stationed cities; they "only need the consent of the interviewed organization and the individuals." Certain previously inaccessible websites such as Wikipedia, Voice of America and even Playboy can now be visited. At the Olympic sites, it is possible to purchase foreign newspapers and magazine. The Chinese Ministry of Culture has extended invitations around the world to more than 260 excellent shows and almost 160 art exhibits from more than 80 countries around the world to appear in Beijing before the opening of the Olympics.
China is rising peacefully. China exports consumer electronics, shoes and textile products. China is also trying to "export" ideas, values and lifestyles, as well as the composed and serious attitudes of a grand nation. The Olympic spirit is part of the human universal values, and it is basically identical to the notion of human rights to express diverse opinions. Certain noises may appear around the open ceremony, but this is part of the culture of the Olympics. There is no need to say that the Olympics is sacrosanct and inviolable and then accuse others of violating the Olympic spirit at every turn. We must not rashly accuse people of being anti-Olympics.
The Olympics host city, the government of the host country and its people should behave in a mature and civilized manner based upon rationality and rule of law. They should create a harmonious and open speech atmosphere for dissenting opinions and thus become a member of the international community worthy of respect. To use a slogan from the other side of the Taiwan Strait: "I set off with gratitude, and I begin my work with humility." We will use this attitude to resolve the inharmonious factors in society, such as the differences, estrangements, misunderstandings and historical grievances between the rich and the poor, between the urban and rural areas and between ethnic groups. During the process of hosting these Olympics, there are bound to be some failings and inadequacies. But as Premier Wen Jiabao said earnestly at the press conference during the Two Congresses, "The Chinese people are earnest in wanting to have a good Olympics. I believe that our 1.3 billion people will face the world with smiles, and the world will also smile back at China."
In the year 2008, science is developed and the economy is globalized. There will no longer be the Crusades of the Middle Ages, or the Boxers and the Alliance of the Armies of the Eight Nations during the late Qing period. The Beijing Olympics placed a sincere heart in the palms of the Chinese people and the peoples of the world in the hope of spreading understanding, respect and love, because the slogan of the Beijing Olympics is:
"One world, one dream!