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Cub Scout splittists

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Dangerous subversive element

We can always count on China. Just when the place seems filled with normal people going about their happy business, the government reminds us that its paranoia reaches every aspect of our lives.

Take the baseball game in Beijing last Saturday. It was the first in China between two American pro teams, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Diego Padres. Even though the contest was an exhibition, it was historic. Baseball is America's national pastime because it's a link between generations and a touchstone of the nation's culture. That baseball wants to extend to China, that China welcomes the game, and that 12,000 baseball fans could gather in a stadium on a lovely spring day, are all signs of harmony under heaven.

One especially excited group was Cub Scout Pack 3944, which is comprised mostly of Beijing-resident American kids under the age of 10. About fifty of them arrived at the game in blue uniforms bedecked with American flags and merit badges, accompanied by their den mothers and scout masters. The night before, they'd learned that the Dodgers had invited them onto the field after the game to meet the players.

But just before the game, the Haidian district police barred the scouts from the field. Why? Because thousands of kilometers away, in the Himalayas, monks and others in Tîbet had launched protests against Chinese rule. The government apparently feared that the young Americans would use their moment on the grassy infield to agitate for Tîbetan independence. This fear that a pack of cub scouts would politicize a baseball game drove the government to politicize the event more effectively than any Tîbetan splittist could hope for, and disappointed a group of bright-eyed kids in the process.

Don't worry too much about the Cub Scouts – they had a grand time anyway, and the Dodgers dispatched a couple of players into the stands afterward to sign autographs. But it's worth considering the thoughts that went through the heads of the Haidian district police.

Your correspondent suspects they ran something like this: Tîbet is in turmoil. Foreigners support Tîbet. Foreigners want to embarrass China. If foreigners embarrass China on our watch, we'll lose our jobs. So we'd better assume the worst of these foreigners, even if that means taking some fun out of the game.

For those of you who thought China could pull off a great Olympics, the exhibition on Saturday was cause for pause.

There are currently 37 Comments for Cub Scout splittists.

Comments on Cub Scout splittists

Korean fans of the pitcher Park Chan-Ho were also prevented from meeting him after the game to get autographs, and the Koreans sitting behind me on Saturday were forced to remove a sign with Korean lettering on it that presumably was Park's name. Chinese skittish much?

Yahoo article

I also met an American guy who had some trouble with a sign that said "#1 LA Fan."

More about his story here

Was also at the game and saw part of the hassle between the Scout master and the Haidan cops outside the stands. Fortunately, perhaps, it was causing such a ruckus on an otherwise calm afternoon that I think the cops backed off because of the attention it was drawing.

Knee jerk reactions are common here. A few years I participated in a mountainbike competition in west Beijing. 2-3 days before the event the China Cycling Association decided that the distances of all the events needed to be halved. Why? Because the week before someone had died running the Beijing marathon and they didn't want any negative publicity if someone died while cycling. A runner dies during the marathon so we have to shorten a completely unrelated cycling event ... pathetic.

I too am becoming less confident about their ability to host a successful Olympics.

How do we know Tibet is the reason for keeping the scouts off the field. Could it be something else equally stupid, or did the police specifically cite the Tibet turmoil?

It is sickening. They always manage to mismanage something so harmless and trivial. Just a bunch of neanderthal thugs in suits and greased black hair, these Chinese "leaders".

By the way, are any of you hip on any 411 on why Yahoo is FUBAR today?? Thanks.

sorry,I don't understand your last sentence.
do you mean the baseball exhibition was cancelled by the government?

When you write "This fear that a pack of cub scouts would politicize a baseball game drove the government to politicize the event more effectively than any Tîbetan splittist could hope for" ...

You are spot on.

You have to wonder at the logic.

Perhaps suspicious Haidian security officials thought the American Dodgers fan's sign (#1 LA FAN) was possibly a political message of support for "Lhasa Anarchy"

Simply disgusting. They are little kids, just little American kids who got a chance to meet the Dodgers. F*ck man, what can you about this kind of thing? They're just kids, and you do this...

could you show us the evidence on the reason why the police do so. is that really because of what you post here, or just your individual opinion.

anyway, every country has some problem, but, we will show guys a wonderful olympic games, welcome to Beijing, see you guys in August.

CNN International, viewable here in Beijing, keeps cycling every half hour or so to coverage of the Tibet protests, whereupon the TV goes blank, then comes back on right when CNN moves on to covering the McCartney-Mills divorce.

Well, remember that it is possible CIA spies are everywhere. And in fact they ARE everywhere, perhaps even among you guys...

Some people never understand what the Olympics is about - they care too much about their own fucking problem and have to rant with every opportunity they've got. By politicizing the Olympics or any sports event, those retards sink to the same low as the Arabs in 1972's Munich.

i never watch CNN for learning English. because CNN ofthen try to lead us in a wrong meaning and also its aggressive attitude on Chinese problem.

whatever, try to love this country, though it needs time to catch up with the modern world,
we are trying our best to make big progress.

Parker--I sort of agree with you. Western media is quite biased, and unfairly so at times. But the only sign of a truly modern country is a press that is not controlled by the state. I don't mean that a free press makes a country modern, but that a country can't be considered modern without one, as biased as that media often is.

What would really be nice is if there were more dialogue taking place between Chinese and Westerners on the role media ought to play (something the upcoming Danwei forum will address, I assume) in a society, because clearly we tend to disagree on this issue, even though those differences have neither been tacitly defined and nor thoroughly discussed across cultures. Recent events in Tibet would be a good entry point into this conversation, if people on both sides could remain civil, that is.

Parker, right on - CNN and pretty much every major American media are nothing more than the government's spokes channel, they only speak the same nonsense as the White House monkeys do, maybe plus the news of some Hollywood celebs' boob job.

Sadly, pretty much most major media in the world all do the same. My main news source now has to be the Daily Show and NPR - the National Public Radio.

ahhhh the PRC was just trying to enforce some good sense in the kids...they were shoulda been waiting to meet the Pads.

Nobody needs to try to embarrass or discredit the Chinese authorities, they do too good a job of it all by themselves. This is juuust about the most ridiculous case I've heard of yet, though.

this just goes to show that the tibet situation is probably much more dire than anyone is admitting...

Paranoia. Inferiority complex. Sad. Stupid. Sickening. Chairman Mao would not have been pleased. The day the Chinese become not so sensitive about face and give a rat's ass about the foreigners is the day "China truly stands up".

Now I see how there will be lots of records broken in the coming Games: All distances will be halved !!!

"Well, remember that it is possible CIA spies are everywhere. And in fact they ARE everywhere, perhaps even among you guys..."

Is this an expression of cold war mentality ? Well done.

"Some people never understand what the Olympics is about - they care too much about their own fucking problem and have to rant with every opportunity they've got. By politicizing the Olympics or any sports event, those retards sink to the same low as the Arabs in 1972's Munich."

Yes, prime example is the Chinese Foreign Ministry, not the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee, announced who is coming to the games. And it is not about sports personalities coming, it is another bunch of politicians. Disgusting to the extreme.

Why did the Beijing Olympic people mention human rights and environment in their bit to get the games. That's politicizing to the nth degree. These Beijing people should really understand what Olympics is all about: settling scores between Greek states in a sports field instead of fighting it out on the battlefield !!!

All nations should follow the example of China about Olympics. Chinese action during the 1980 Moscow Games is the way all nations should emulate. Especially in view of what is happening right now.

Let's not all fly off the handle. What makes you think this was about Tibet? Let's just think it through the way this poster has.

A f*kup has occured in China. Chinese are sensitive about Tibet. So this whole incident must be about Tibet. So we'd better assume the worst of these Chinese, even if that means making something up.

It was a cockup of the first degree to not let the kids meet the players. But let's not blame "China" when it was probably the fault of one idiot.

Well, the opening of my new play "Lethal English" (scheduled for this upcoming weekend in Chengdu) has been postponed because of this same reason :(

What really interesting is, I saw a lot of people, mainly Chinese international student pulling out campaignes on youtube to support China. In their famous website 6park.com, occasionally someone post with a different voice, but because the lack of support, these post went down really quickly.

When they calling westerners who support Tibet independency "ignorant", I often think that these westerners maybe, are not really ignorant, but rather a group of people who has got and believed in a different set of information, e.g. some of them believed that PLA killed 1.2 million Tibetans when they invaded Tibet, which obviousely not true. But they did got this figur out from some main media from the west, namely, BBC, and they trusted it.

Same thing apply to the Chinese people who believe that every westerner are Tibet Independence supporters, they must have made up their mind based on something they knew, right? But what are these things, and who actually told them so?

I think we need to think deeply and seek answers to these questions, and looking for solutions, rather than simply bashing on the internet.

Thanks Xanax. Well said. Cut us some slack on this. Every government has one or two "loose cannons" and the Haidian district policemen are definitely not the brightest bulbs on the tree.... But relating their action to Tibet with no concrete evidence is some knee jerk reaction on the Westerners as far as I am concerned.
Yet we really have to be patient until the rank-and-file members are phased out in the leadership in China. Not to be paranoid is such a privilege of younger generations who grew up in peace time.

"Is this an expression of cold war mentality ? Well done."

It is. Ask CIA if they have ever abandoned that mentality first. I am just kindly reminding you guys.

I am probably going to get beat up and have my lunch money stolen tomorrow BUT as a former Cub Scout, Webelo, and Boy Scout I feel it necessary to correct something.

You said, "About fifty of them arrived at the game in blue uniforms bedecked with American flags and merit badges".

Actually, the "merit" badges don't start until one is at the rank of Tenderfoot once in Boy Scouts. Everything before this is basically given to the youngens' to encourage them. True the Cub Scouts has levels of rank such as: Tiger, Bobcat, Wolf, and Bear before moving onto Webelos but they aren't really based on merit.
Once a young man becomes a Boy Scout then the hard work begins...especially trying to get the Basket Weaving badge...or the Indian Lore badge...whoa was that hard to achieve.

One other thing I failed to mention was that the colors of the uniform signify something...
The blue stands for truth and spirituality, steadfast loyalty, and the sky above.
Maybe it was this that the Cops had a problem with...after all the sky here is Brown. Maybe if UPS was invited all would have been well.

Kids are easy to manipulate.

This game was a big event with lots of media coverage.

All it would take is for one dumb parent, Cub Master or Den Mother to take advantage of the innocence of one of the Cub Scouts in a situation that would have been difficult for Chinese authorities to control, and there could have been another media disaster for China.

Kids wouldn't knowingly do something stupid regarding Tibet, but they can be easily coerced or influenced.

Look at what Björk did.

I understand why the Police did what they did.

I agree with Eurotrash. If I were the police in that situation I would have split a few cub scout heads with my baton just to make sure we didn't have any china haters ruining the fun for everyone else. safety first I say

Speaking of splitting a few heads as Mike said...

The French Foreign Minister said this: "he not is open to a boycott of the Beijing Olympics' opening ceremonies, saying Wednesday that some economic decisions must be made "at the expense of human rights.""

As disgusting as that is (the reality of the situation) it is the policy of most businesses and countries from around the world when dealing with these "issues". Not to congratulate him---because this view is obviously very screwed---but at least this guy is admitting it.

This is an expectable reaction. Remember all the stories about protesters being granted access to "free speech zones" or "free speech jail cells" during President Bush's first 6 years as president when showing up for his speeches? I'm sure it still happens.

Indeed China had a free speech zone set up in Beijing during the UN World Congress of Women back in 1995. It was actually a mud pit located on an athletic field at a high school in Huairou county. Perhaps that same venue will be recycled for TV network live shots since Tiananmen Square is now forbidden.

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