2008 Beijing Olympic Games

Three official protest zones for Olympics

ritan_park.jpg
A pleasant place for a protest

From Xinhua, via Sina.com, in translation:

Special protest zones for Olympics

The Beijing Olympics News Center today gacve a press conference titled 'Peaceful Olympics Beijing Security Work'. BOCOG's Security Department head Liu Shaowu said that Beijing had already set up special demonstration zones for protesters to express themselves.

According to Liu Shaowu's explanation, the special protest zones for self expression are in Fengtai District's World Park, Haidian District's Zizhuyuan park, and Chaoyang District's Ritan Park all of which are quite close the Olympics competition areas and city center.

During the 1995 U.N. Women's Conference in Beijing, the city government set up similar protest zones. But in 1995, those zones were in Huairou, way outside the city.

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There are currently 26 Comments for Three official protest zones for Olympics.

Comments on Three official protest zones for Olympics

well, interesting. But the question remains: what will happen to someone who has been protesting on behalf of lets say Fаlungong, and then leaves the zone. Will he/she be arrested immediately? or at least being photographed by security?
Have there been no questions about this at the press conference?

Did anybody use them for the 1995 U.N. Women's Conference ?

Sean:

Yes, several delegates used them, but they looked rather sad parading around a small, fenced-off patch of ground miles away from anywhere.

Great. Now all the fake Tibetans, FLGs, Migrant Workers, and NGOs can go and protest.

Fengtai's World Park is the ideal place to designate as a protest zone because of its relative isolation and the fact that it's literally an amusement park, but I'm really surprised by the inclusion of Ritan and Zizhuyuan parks.
I know that Zizhuyuan (Purple Bamboo Park) was the site of a regular English Corner that was held every Sunday for a long time, even during a brief period in 1989 when an attempt was made by the government to ban it:

Here's a short article from Reuters published on December 4, 1989:
100 Chinese Defy a Ban
About 100 Chinese today defied a Government ban on ''English Corner,'' a glade in a Beijing park where people have gathered for years to practice English-language skills with foreigners. Cordons sealed off the glade, in the Purple Bamboo Park, which has served as a Sunday venue, and official notices nearby proclaimed that ''English Corner has been withdrawn.'' But defiant students and workers said they would continue to hold the conversation sessions until they are forcibly driven away.

If I was in town I'd definitely be applying for a permit to protest the commercialisation of the games and the publication of medals tables, turning what should be a purely sporting occasion into a pissing match of competing nationalisms.

I would be more interested in knowing if Chinese petitioners from the provinces would be able to stage protests at Ritan Park after completing the permit process. I would love to see the Sichuan Mianzhu PTA go up against China's PLA within shouting distance of the embassy district.
Unfortunately there were no intelligent reporters at the press conference given by Liu Shaowu and instead we get questions like this brilliant one an Australia press punter:
"Can Chinese or foreigners carry on parades or protest activities at Wangfujing or down Chang An Boulevard?"
拜托您Jeremy, you've got to go to one of these Olympic press conferences with your yellow hard hat and ask some much better questions. We, the loyal readers of Danwei, beg you!

Jim,

Agreed. And on that account, it's time for some Chinese to practice (organized) counter protests now, lest the confrontation between (fake) Tibetans and Han Chinese during the Olympics become ugly.

@ Jim,

You really want to organize counter protests? You must be joking. Do you feel threatened by a handful of protestors who will be under heavy police surveillance in a cordoned off area? Seems to me that you are trying to provoke trouble and make things ugly. Anyways I'm glad to see Beijing is giving a place where those who want to voice their dissent can be heard and seen. That is a sign of maturity.

I am going to protest the existance of such places.

Actually, almost every Olympics held in the past few decades has featured one of these areas. This isn't just a Chinese invention, in fact, it's a nod to the IOC.

What are you babbling on about Dan? I said nothing of the sort, you numpty.

Jeff, I beg to differ. The Chinese INVENTED designated protest spots 5,000 years ago!!! Long live the motherland!!!

US out of Iraq!! Free Hawaii! Free Puerto Rico!! Monroe Doctrine is foundation of American Genocide! Remember Wounded Knee! US >50% of world wide defense spending!

There are all kinds of protests that could get staged in these places.

as far as I know James, you can already walk down any street in the US and stage such protests without fear of being locked up or without being forced to stand in a pig pen in ritan park. so, kind of pointless comment

This is classic. From the Wall Street Journal:

Beijing Games officials said they didn't know if demonstrators in the designated protest areas would also need permits and referred questions to the city government and police. Neither responded to requests for comment.

Oh, trying to copy "free speech zones" aren't we....

The real mofos are gonna protest outside, trust me.

Note, I'm not a real mofo, so damnit no need to track me on your list. And no I'm not going to be at the Olympics. The Olympics is a fucking joke.

One world one dream... Of continuing spinning this thing into the abyss. Fight the one world (elite) and their sick and twisted dreams...

scmp today says nobody will actually get into the protest pens anyway, quoting a beijing official, as the paper work and rubber stamp process is too complicated.

Mike,

I don't know where you come from but here in the US we need a permit to hold a protest or a rally. No insurance? Sorry, you can't hold your rally.

You forgot to mention that you need an allowance to protest in these zones, and since the protesters with the most sensitive agendas are likely to be neglected, these zones can hardly be regarded as a sign of maturity for China. It is rather a way to show the outside world "look at us, we allow protesters".

I totally agree with Karl; a clever ploy to pacify the IOC and obtain spectacular headlines in global newspapers. "Look at us! We created not one, not two, but THREE protest zones for the Olympics!"
I have since probed further into the protest pen particulars, and it is specifically written that Chinese citizens from outside Beijing will not be allowed to apply. This means the petitioners who were sent back to the provinces are not invited back to Beijing to picnic in Ritan Park.
Indeed it's so difficult to gain permission to protest that one could compare it to announcing a daily free lunch at Zhongnanhai's government cafeteria during the month of August. You are all welcome to apply for that too, but the bureaucratic red tape will not only cover your mouth but bind your hands and feet as well!

I've got an update on the provincial petitioners' Peking plight. They are now being welcomed through the front door of the central government complaints office, and then escorted out the back door into buses waiting to take them back to the provinces.

Here's the Radio Free Asia article detailing this classic mousetrap operation:
Beijing_Rounds_Up_Its_Unwanted

Foreigners reading this article should be wary of being waved into any Beijing offices welcoming applications for the three Olympic protest zones, as they might suddenly find themselves on a shuttle to Capital Airport's departures terminal.

Remember the 100 flowers campaign? Like Nike likes to say, just do it man. Forget the permits, I got you backs protesters. Just do it! Fuck shit up (non-violently of course).


It will be interesting to see just who protests at these Olympics and for which causes. It's estimated 1-1.5 million Beijing residents lost their homes to Olympic construction and its unclear how many where justly compensated. A host of other issues might also be addressed, lets hope the media follows it all closely and doesn't conveniently "overlook" any particular group. Any groups advocating charging the Bush regime with war crimes has my vote!

att: Stephan Larose

the ones critizing Bush will probably not having a problem getting any permit either..

not saying I'm a Bush fan at all.

Here's an update on the 3 official Olympic protest zones from an Australian correspondent in Beijing. Note that taxi drivers are being told to report on passengers who go there, including their conversations, and that representatives of Sichuan tofu school parents were prevented from boarding a flight to Beijing from Chengdu.

The_Australian

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