Huge rally in New York in support of Beijing Olympics

May 5th, 2008 - 2:31 pm ICT by admin  

Xinhua
New York, May 5 (Xinhua) Nearly 10,000 Chinese students, scholars and Chinese Americans held a peaceful rally here to support the Beijing Olympics and denounce attempts to sabotage the sporting event. With both Chinese and American national colours and the Beijing Olympics banners, the students from New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, Massachusetts and other neighbouring states, chanted slogans such as “Join the Beijing Olympics, feel a real China” and “Free Olympics from Politics” Sunday.

The rally, first initiated by a group of Chinese American students, won widespread support among Chinese communities around the US.

During the rally at Foley Square in lower Manhattan, the Beijing Association of New York hired two small airplanes flying streamers that read “Go to 2008 Beijing Olympics” and “CNN, Cafferty, Shut up!”

The second streamer was a response to CNN news commentator Jack Cafferty’s derogative description of Chinese as “goons and thugs” April 9 in a news programme covering the Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.

In addition to the Beijing Association of New York, a dozen other organisations of Chinese Americans were also present at Sunday’s rally.

“We live in one world, a world for peace, stability and harmony. We pursue one dream, a dream of peace and development,” said George Hua, president of the New York Association for Peaceful Unification of China.

“Beijing welcomes all with smiles and warmth,” Hua said. “Join us in Beijing, and enjoy the Games!”

Imbued in a festive aura, the rally featured live performance of the Chinese national anthem, popular Chinese songs and Olympic songs, with the big crowd chanting the chorus.

Sunday’s rally was one of a string of similar actions taken by the Chinese community around the world following violent disruptions of the overseas legs of the Olympic torch relay, and the distorted coverage of the March 14 Lhasa riots by some Western media outlets.

“There is no way we’re going to sit still when a small number of extremists try to hijack the Olympic Games for their own political agenda,” said Xu Ming, a Beijing University graduate on an MBA programme at Duke University.

“There is no way we keep silent when the so-called ‘activists’ viciously attack our torch-bearer in a wheelchair,” Xu said.

“Just like any other country in the world, China is not perfect. We welcome criticism, not hostility; we welcome human rights, but not disrespect; we love freedom, but not anarchy; we seek out truth, but we don’t appreciate media distortion,” he said.

An exhibition on Tibet’s past and present was held on the sidelines of the rally.

One placard showed that the infant mortality rate in Tibet dropped from 430 per 1,000 in 1951 to only 35 per 1,000 in 2006 and the region’s average life expectancy had increased from 35 to 67 years.

The number of Tibetans enjoying primary education rose from two percent in 1951 to 98 percent in 2006.

“It is the cohesiveness of the Chinese nation and the dedication of all China that contributed to the transition of Tibet from an underdeveloped region to one that develops in synch with the whole country,” said Huang Yue, a Tsinghua University graduate on an MBA programme at Duke.

The rally also attracted the attention of people from non-Chinese communities.

“I love today’s event. I really support China, I support the Olympics,” said Joachim Stroh of Germany.

On Cafferty’s comments about China, Stroh said: “It’s horrible. It’s really, really bad for CNN. (It) puts things in such a wrong light, wrong context, he really needs to do a lot more to take his words back, not only apologise, but take some action.

“I think CNN should take some action and do something about those unbelievable (comments).”

Raffaele Abbate, an Italian who works as a managing director at Oxora.com, said he has “told everyone in our company that we can’t all go by what the media said”.

“We need to know the facts. We need to know the history. We need to know what’s really going on,” he said.

Abbate also condemned the “silly attacks” on the Olympic torch, “which has nothing to do with politics, it’s only got to do with the spirit of the games”.
Xinhua

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