IOC/You Tube censor Tibet protest footage

// 14 August 2008

Following IOC demands, You Tube have pulled a clip showing footage of a Free Tibet protest because …. it contained imagery including the five-rings Olympic logo, and therefore was an infringement of copyright.

So much for the goal of the Olympic movement being:

to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth through sport practised without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.

isn’t it brilliant how they’re upholding that by… well, prioritising the value of their logo over the publicising of legitimate protest against human rights violations? I sort of feel like that doesn’t sit so well with their stated aims.

For a spot on and hilarious commentary on this, see a new YouTube video below… as long as it is allowed to be up.

Comments From You

Renee // Posted 14 August 2008 at 1:54 am

Of course they are going to take that approach because the Olympics is supposed to be beyond politics but nothing is removed from politics. If it is an event meant to create solidarity and to acknowledge the humanity of others than supporting the liberation of Tibet without encouraging the return of a lamacracy is indeed a legitimate goal. Would it be better if the world just ignored the tiny nation because China is so powerful?

tom hulley // Posted 14 August 2008 at 8:19 am

Unfortunately both racist and sexist therefore marring its intended resistance to oppression. How can a feminist website accept ‘cunt’ as meaning a worthless or unpleasant person?

I suspect many in the West know little about China. It would be more telling if Americans and Brits stopped voting in their own oppressors and stopped denying or ignoring the consistent abuse of human rights by the people they have elected. Then criticise China!

Bryce // Posted 14 August 2008 at 9:13 am

The truth is that the Dalai Lama is a very sexist oppressive dictator. Has there every been a female Dalai Lama, no and there never will be. As a matter of fact the Lamaist religion has the same problem Catholicism has with older monks abusing little boys. Not the Dalai Lama though he probably keeps various women as his concubines. It shocks me that a bunch of feminists who object so harshly to religious leaders in the United States imposing their beliefs on us want Tibet to yet again be ruled by a male only theocracy. The Dalai Lama is a smooth character, he knows how to put the charm on those hippie women. When in San Francisco he supports gay rights, back in Tibet he says homosexuality is an unnatural sin. While speaking in Seattle to try to drum up support for his separatist campaign he is a “man of Peace” but back in Tibet he takes millions of dollars from the CIA to train a guerrilla army to bomb and kill Chinese. His so called peaceful protests in Lhasa resulted in Han Chinese store owners being burned alive in their businesses along with their families. As a Mongolian American I feel I have a duty to tell the truth about what the Dalai Lama did to our country. Four hundred years ago Mongolia’s religion was called Tengerism It believed that the sky was our father the Earth our mother. The holy people of this religion, called Shamans can be male or female. The most powerful were often female they could do magic that men couldn’t and were better at listening to the spirit world. When Lamaism became the dominant religion of Mongolia these powerful female leaders were considered a threat. Thousands were killed. In 1921 mongolia had a revolution ending years of religious oppression. Though Communism has many flaws it does strive to create equality between men and women and now there are more women in college than men. Anyways what I am trying to say is don’ t believe everything the mainstream media says. The fact that Bush and the Dalai Lama are such good friends should be a tip off.

Lynne Miles // Posted 14 August 2008 at 9:52 am

@ Tom – on ‘cunt’ – I don’t find it offensive particularly and think that the more we use it, the less it will have a ‘mystique’ about it as The Worst Word Ever (which, if anything, is the sexist part). Actually, I kinda love the word!

On racist – I didn’t read anything racist into it. Can you clarify what you found racist?

@Tom/Bryce – my point in posting this wasn’t really to discuss the politics of Tibet, but the politics of the IOC suppressing coverage of political protest because it involves use of their logo (which of course is not to suggest that you can’t discuss it – just that I wasn’t!)

tom hulley // Posted 14 August 2008 at 10:32 am

Sorry, Lynne, I will try to clarify.

I think the clip is racist because of its blanket condemnation of China and by implication all things Chinese. (Why is the wall a symbol of oppression?) The ‘get out clause’ of nothing against the people of China resembles ‘I am not a racist but’.

I do not find ‘cunt’ at all the offensive but reject the way it is used to mean ‘bad’.

Of course, I appreciate your intention of showing the hypocrisy of the IOC. The clip is not the best vehicle for this though.

Unfortunately much of the campaigning against the Olympics looks like an excuse to demonise the Chinese. I am not well informed on Tibet, unlike Bryce, but still feel that people should start campaigning against oppression at home.

In England, people are forever condemning Islam, with little understanding, or criticising East Europeans but there is often a stony silence about the abuses done by the UK.

Lynne Miles // Posted 14 August 2008 at 10:45 am

I do take your point on that, and we’ve had this discussion a week or two ago about treading the fine line between criticising a government’s policy and criticising the people en masse. I’m sorry if you feel this is on the wrong side of the line. I didn’t initially, but am not dismissing what you say… more thinking around the issue…

On the specific imagery, I took the wall thing as illustrating the ‘first against the wall’ lyric (obviously a reference to revolution, overthrow of government etc). Like you say, I’m not aware of any particular reason the Great Wall of China should be a symbol of oppression in the way that the Berlin wall was. My takeaway impressions of the video, though, were of images of oppression as opposed to generic images of China and the Chinese (I had forgotten about the wall bit). And, you know, gay porn.

Whilst we’re on the subject, how’s this for some breathtakingly racist Olympics/China stuff?

Soirore // Posted 14 August 2008 at 11:20 am

Although the spirit of the olympics is supposed to be about creating a peaceful and better world it is a hugely money driven too. I remember once a company who did design work for the olympic group and they were denied use of the rings as well. It’s all about profit and that rubbish really. Also lets not forget the lack of support shown in Munich in 1972 when the political murder of athletes was not enough to stop the games. This proved for me that the games are not about friendship across nations but retaining the status quo of global politics.

Also, Bryce I take your point as someone whose country has suffered but not everything you say is the “truth” but your opinion as someone who, understandably, is not too keen on tibet and the dalai lama.

Do not pretend that China as communist is promoting equality between men and women as this is patently untrue. There is a significant over population of young men due in part to the single child policy and people not wanting daughters. There are also other issues but I don’t want to get into another “china blaming” argument. Simply there is not one political system in the world, that I’m aware of, that actually promotes equality and is not in some way patriarchal.

passer by // Posted 14 August 2008 at 11:53 am

A couple of things Tom. Firstly I completely agree with you on cunt. At first I though you were totally overreacting but I re-read your post and I have to take your point, this negative connotation of cunt is completely unacceptable. Furthermore I think by understanding this we become obliged to extend your argument to it’s natural conclusion and outlaw all pejorative use of genital expletives. Not longer should anyone have to endure the genderist onslaught of nob, twat, dick, cock, cunt, bell-end, prick, schlong – not to mention scrote. They demean us all.

From now on we should try to use only gender neutral swears like arse, asshole and maybe fuckshitter when we’re trying to insult the people and organisations we don’t like.

Secondly… People can and DO campaign against opression at home AND abroad. They are not mutually exclusive. And come on, we are not NEARLY as oppressed as the Chinese, it’s pretty insulting to them to suggest we’re as hard done by here in the UK. I was all against SOCPA and the protest exclusion zone in London but China’s exclusion zone is the ENTIRE COUNTRY. By my reckoning that’s considerably worse isn’t it?


butterflywings // Posted 14 August 2008 at 12:04 pm

What Bryce says about the Dalai Lama is utter misinformed rubbish.

I advise posters just to ignore it.

And like Soirore says, as if any system in the world is *not* patriarchal! They all are. Certainly all religions are misogynist. Yeah it is true there has not been a female lama, but name one world religion that has women leaders? Name one world religion that accepts homosexuality?

Anyway – it’s not about saying the Dalai Lama is perfect and a saint. There may be some naive hippie types who believe that, I am not one of them. He is a human being. Not a perfect one, but pretty good – he does believe in peace and has not to my knowledge said anything sexist or homophobic, unlike, oh, the Pope, most Archbishops, some noted imams and rabbis…

Anyway I don’t really want to get into which religion is least prejudiced debates.

The point is that even if the Dalai Lama is just another religious leader, and even if you personally are an atheist and don’t agree with religion – people still have the right to their beliefs and to practice their religion. That is what China is not allowing them and that is the problem, along with numerous human rights abuses like, er, imprisoning people for “splittism” i.e. daring to disagree with the government.

I’ve said it before on the other thread, as Lynne pointed out – but there is a difference between criticism of the policies of the Chinese government and just plain China-bashing racism.

I can understand that people do not take kindly to criticism of their country, but if it’s not meant personally, and not aimed at the individual citizens but at government policy, why take it personally? I wouldn’t.

While I fully accept that our own govt. and (more so) the US has failings, and probably just about every government of every country in the world does…I don’t accept that we cannot criticise other countries’ human rights abuses unless we are perfect and whiter than white ourselves. That’s like saying someone who once shoplifted some sweets as a kid cannot condemn a murderer.

Bryce // Posted 18 December 2008 at 6:12 am

Well I am not an atheist i stated my religious beliefs, Tengerism, where Blue Father Sky Tenger in Mongolian and mother Earth Enje in Mongolian are the gods and there are many other spirits. Perhaps you should have read my whole post butterflywings before you criticized it. or were you to busy buzzing around looking for flowers, just kidding I like yuor name by the way but seriously it is a religion where women are leaders as well as men. There is no pope of Tengerism but there is an official Shaman Association which has many female leaders in it. it it true that China is not perfect on gender equality or equality in general especially for its minorities and should do more to preserve peoples rights to be educated in their native language and culture and practice what religion they choose. But the Dalai Lama is a throwback to centuries past. He is part of a very oppressive noble class and wants independance from China so he can rule. Supporting the Dalai Lama is sort of like saying we should undo the French Revolution and put Louis XIV’s descendants back on the throne. Or King George III back in charge of America. Or returning the Pope to sort of a super king of Western Civilization. Impractical and suprising coming from so many highly educated liberal leftist antiwar environmentalist and hippy folks, yes i am a part of this group myself. What my Chinese friend very funnily asked was “how many of these fools can even find Tibet on a map”. Did you see that video on youtube where a Chinese girl in France who is in a wheelchair was carrying the torch when some protesters tried to beat her up, outrageous there is a lot of anti Chinese racism and when Mongolians start saying to go easy on the Chinese then people have gone too far Also why did the Dalai Lama come to Seattle,Where I live, in the United States during the riots in Tibet he claims to not be involved in. To tell us all te be nice and do nice stuff for each other. As if we hadn’t heard that before. Why didn’t he go to Jamaica or France or Nigeria or even Canada. Cuz those nations arent military superpowers. Bush and the Lama are chums the Dalai Lama gives Bush’s war a pass he just doesn’t bring it up. What probably bothers me the most about the Dalai Lama is when people put him up there on a pedestal with Gandhi Mother Teresa Dr King Nelson Mandela. Tell me what the hell did the Dalai Lama do to deserve that kind of respect. He was born, born into a life of luxury and power. He is a smart smart man trying to hold onto his power, and he is using a lot of well meaning people by toying with their emotions and distracting them from the important issues like what are we gonna do about this Iraq War and this awful bailout how can we rebuild our shattered economy and be a friend not an enemy to the world

Butterflywings // Posted 19 December 2008 at 4:21 pm


Sorry if I was rude about your post.

Thanks re: the name, although I don’t think butterflies buzz :-)

However, I have to disagree with your demonisation of the Dalai Lama.

He wasn’t born into privelege, but is the child of farmers; the Dalai Lama is chosen by monks as a baby; a bit random maybe, but certainly not inherited class privelege. Your comparison to royalty/ feudalism is therefore unfair.

Why shouldn’t the Dalai Lama go to the US during the riots? He’s not a ‘chum’ of Bush in particular, he meets world leaders to try to advance Tibet’s cause, that’s his job.

He can’t go to Tibet anyway, he’s exiled. So it makes no difference where he was; and he was certainly not involved in the riots which he condemned.

I am not saying the Dalai Lama is perfect or a hero, where did I say that? – he does say some wise things re: peace and international relations (your claim that he is giving war a pass is laughable).

He does support equal rights for gay people and gender equality.

And I can find Tibet on a map. :-)

I know you are not an atheist. As I said, *most* religion is to some degree inherently sexist, but if Tengerism has women leaders, great.

Essentially, the point is not: what would the Dalai Lama do if he was in power? That isn’t going to happen, anyway. He himself is now asking only for autonomy, not complete self-rule. How that would work, who can tell, but it wouldn’t be, as you claim, ‘undoing the French revolution and putting Louis XIV’s descendants back on the throne’. More like the Russian revolution, where communism overthrew a royal family and turned out to be despots a la Stalin. Getting rid of Stalin didn’t mean a return to a monarchy.

Of course it would seem like a throwback, Tibet was invaded by China in 1950 so we haven’t had a chance to see how the Dalai Lamas would have modernised.

The point is the right of the Tibetan people to self-determination. As you say, to their own culture (which is emphatically *not* in any way Chinese) and at least, to freedom from oppression.

Currently, it’s the Chinese who are the oppressors. The Tibetan people cannot practice their religion freely, and are not free to express political views or demonstrate without being tortured.

You can’t try to paint the Chinese as great liberators from evil oppressive feudal Buddhist Lamas. The scenario you imagine will never happen as the Chinese won’t allow Tibet complete freedom, but IF the Tibetan leaders were as bad, THEN that is a separate problem.

Two wrongs don’t make a right.

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