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November 14, 2005 8:35 PM   Subscribe

BOCOG announced their official Olympic mascots recently. One of them is based on the Tibetan Antelope. Students for a Free Tibet don't like the idea.
posted by tellurian (56 comments total)

 


Jackie Chan commands you to DESTROY
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:45 PM on November 14, 2005


Awesome:

posted by thecjm at 8:48 PM on November 14, 2005


The mascots are cute, but am I the only one slightly creeped out by the "One World. One Dream." slogan?
posted by brundlefly at 8:49 PM on November 14, 2005


This is exceptionally retarded. Every second you spend protesting about a butt-ugly Olympic mascot is one less protesting about things that acutally affect anyone.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 8:50 PM on November 14, 2005


Olympic mascots have to suck. It's an IOC rule or something.

I can only see the first link, everything else is blocked. Surprise. I guess I should just stick to reading China Daily.

I wonder what Princess Renji thinks of this.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:51 PM on November 14, 2005


brundlefly: what's even creepier is seeing is seeing it everywhere, every day.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 8:56 PM on November 14, 2005


These are the EXACT same bastard images that have been giving my kids nightmares for a week straight! Damn them all to hell!!!
posted by snsranch at 8:58 PM on November 14, 2005


This came up on the site Social Design Notes a couple days ago.
posted by chunking express at 8:59 PM on November 14, 2005


The PRC has just as much right to rule Tibet as it does the rest of the country - zero.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:01 PM on November 14, 2005



posted by kyleg at 9:04 PM on November 14, 2005


PRC numerical right to rule = 2,250,000, not zero.
posted by thecjm at 9:05 PM on November 14, 2005



It's a fun new game! Help Yingying escape shame and exploitation in Beijing. You weave through snarled traffic and ineptly planned intersections as you pedal your way out of the city. Cross the 6th Ringroad and your home free. Just watch out for angry cabbies and drunk exchange students on scooters!

Seriously, someone who knows flash should make this game.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:08 PM on November 14, 2005


"In a transparent effort to convince the world that Tibet is a part of China"
ummm i guess this person isn't aware that tibet was part of china since the 7th century and only stopped being part of china in the early 50's. tibet wasn't even buddhist untill china and nepal married up with Songtsen Gampo.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 9:08 PM on November 14, 2005


your=you're doh.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:09 PM on November 14, 2005



posted by Pretty_Generic at 9:25 PM on November 14, 2005


"We're No Monks"
posted by homunculus at 9:25 PM on November 14, 2005


Nice, PG. I'm pretty sure my family has one of those tucked away somewhere.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 9:33 PM on November 14, 2005


what's even creepier is seeing is seeing it everywhere, every day.

*looks at [expletive deleted]'s profile*

I can see how it would be....
posted by brundlefly at 9:34 PM on November 14, 2005


P_G, what the hell is that?

I thought they were kinda cute, until I scrolled down to XQUZYPHYR's pic. Now I'm going to have nightmares.
posted by kosher_jenny at 9:36 PM on November 14, 2005


Science at the Crossroads, By Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama
posted by homunculus at 9:37 PM on November 14, 2005


If there's one thing that China will respond to, it's public opinion.

Say, weren't there similarly ineffective protests against the 2000 Olympics' use of aborigine art? Why yes, yes there were.
posted by dhartung at 9:37 PM on November 14, 2005


I gotta admit I don't know why people want the Olympics hosted in their cities. I understand why gov'ts want them and businesses, but every time Toronto bids and loses, I cheer. It would be a friggin nightmare to have it here. Ick.
posted by dobbs at 9:45 PM on November 14, 2005


Tryptophan-5ht - Tibet may have been part of the Chinese empire, you could make the same claim about Korea. But Tibetan people are definitely not Chinese either ethnically or culturally. Under any doctrine of self determination the PRC has no right to govern Tibet.
posted by afu at 9:47 PM on November 14, 2005 [1 favorite]


Not that this is what this thread is about, but I cry every time Toronto loses an Olympics. This city needs a massive public transit overhaul, and the only way we'll ever get the money out of the government is if there's some massive public event to justify it - Olympics, World's Fair, whatever. As if getting 3 million people to work every day without destroying the environment is an insufficient justification.
posted by jacquilynne at 9:51 PM on November 14, 2005


i guess this person isn't aware that tibet was part of china since the 7th century and only stopped being part of china in the early 50's.

This sounds like yak shit to me. Hardly enough time to develop such a distinct culture. Supporting links, please?
posted by homunculus at 9:52 PM on November 14, 2005


Olympic mascots have to suck. It's an IOC rule or something.

Enter Fatso the Fat-Arsed Wombat! (image here)
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on November 14, 2005


This sounds like yak shit to me.

I think Tryptophan meant 7 centuries ago, not 7th century, according to the Wikipedia, anyway. Not sure why them being independent 50 or 1000 years in the past is all that relevant, though. Isn't what they want now more important?

As for the antelope mascot, can't it just as easily be viewed as a gesture of support toward Tibet?
posted by event at 10:11 PM on November 14, 2005


As for the antelope mascot, can't it just as easily be viewed as a gesture of support toward Tibet?

Support for Tibet? How? Support for Tibetan independence? Absolutely not. Support for Tibet being part of China? Well, yeah. That's the objection.
posted by brundlefly at 10:31 PM on November 14, 2005


afu : ...Tibetan people are definitely not Chinese either ethnically or culturally. Under any doctrine of self determination the PRC has no right to govern Tibet.

...so the remainder of China is a homogeneous monoculture?

Ethical and cultural self-determination is a noble goal, but I can't think of a single state that's ever gotten it right. No more reason to pillory the PRC over Tibet than the US over the rural south. Aside from splintering every established state into a million pieces, how would you seek to resolve this issue? Or is there something about Tibet that is special?
posted by cadastral at 10:31 PM on November 14, 2005


afu & event - 56% of the population were serfs when china rolled in. serfs were raped beaten tortured killed and sold at will. One monastary alone owned 25,000 serfs.

china sucks and all, but give me fledgling capitalism and shoddy human rights over a plot of land and a despotic feudal lord ANY DAY.

bear in mind, most of what you know about what happened in the tibet during the late 50s came from the guy who had to give up a life of luxury and slave owning. is it any wonder he's sore about it?
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 10:41 PM on November 14, 2005


So when do the people with "Free Tibet" stickers on the backs of their Volvos do something besides whine to other westerners?


posted by Mayor Curley at 6:17 AM on November 15, 2005


Olympic mascots have to suck. It's an IOC rule or something.

They had such an opportunity, too.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:32 AM on November 15, 2005


I'm going to have to come in at least 50% with Tryptophan-5ht on his one. Most of what we hear on Tibet comes from one side, the exiled former power structure of the country.

Now, I'm sure the Dali Lama is a great guy, but I accord him the same respect that I accord his Holiness the Pope or the Arch-Mullah of Canterberistan-- I figure they're as reliable as any other cracker who's ever fancied themselves better than the rest of us.

All I know is that China replaced an authoritarian theocracy that seems to parallel 1th century Europe pretty well with a 20th century authoritarian communist-ocracy (sorry, can't think of a better word) that at least had basic ideas of human rights (ironic, huh?) and the need for things like electricity, plumbing, educations, etc.

So yeah, maybe China's not perfect. But neither were we (that's the US, for me), and I don't see any "free tibet" folks fronting any serious plans to cede back the parts of the US that we invaded to the aboriginal inhabitants (at last count, that was all of the US)... so yeah....

I'll stop short of "fuck tibet" tho, because people I know who I trust say it's pretty cool.
posted by illovich at 6:32 AM on November 15, 2005 [1 favorite]


I agree with the Free Tibet folks that the Chinese oppression of Tibet is a Bad Thing. However, I share Tryptophan-5ht and illovich's annoyance at the whitewashing of Tibet's past. The invasion of Tibet wasn't the enslaving of a people. It was merely an exchange of one kind of tyranny for another. The pre-Chinese Tibetan government was not nice, nor were it's people free. It was a theocratic government that kept its population as dark age peasants. Torture was common. You essentially had a Monty-Python esque land where the Budhist clergy were the masters, and everyone else lived in filth, ignorance, and poverty. The Dalai Lama may say nice things now, but when his predecessors had actual power, they didn't do nice things, and I've never heard the current Dalai Lama acknowledge that. I'd feel better about the Free Tibet'ers if they acknowledged the truth about the Tibetan government in exile.
posted by unreason at 6:55 AM on November 15, 2005


"Arch-Mullah of Canterberistan"
That is fucking priceless.

Illovich, the problem with saying something like that is that China is a whole fucking lot further from perfect than the United States, and I'm not too crazy about the US either.

Tibet wasn't exactly a paragon of freedom and equality before "liberation", but the Dalai Lama has admitted as much, and has recognized that a liberal democracy is the right form of government for Tibet.

Tibet deserves self determination not just because they have a distinct culture and history, but because of the gross abuse of human rights under this regime. The same is true for the Uighur in Xinjiang, and other minorities in China who's rights are trampled. Even China pretends to acknowledge the rights of these minorities to self determination, as seen by the lipservice "autonomous zones" of Tibet, Xinjiang and Inner Mongolia, among others. These places are essentially in the same state as the former Soviet republics were before the collapse of the USSR. That today we are so eager to ignore all this as trade with China becomes the next big thing is a real disgrace.

I could reference what Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International say about China and Tibet, or China in general...but oh wait, their websites are all blocked. I wonder why that is? Is it because the west has been fooled by that devious Dalai Lama into thinking that China has mistreated Tibet, or that it's rule in Tibet is anything less than legitimate?

That must be the case. I guess I have China's tough stance on Internet crime to thank for shielding me from Amnesty International's vicious and dangerous lies.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:32 AM on November 15, 2005


The Dalai Lama may say nice things now, but when his predecessors had actual power, they didn't do nice things, and I've never heard the current Dalai Lama acknowledge that.

Except the Dalai Lama has acknowledged that.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:33 AM on November 15, 2005


Except the Dalai Lama has acknowledged that.

Oh, ok. I didn't know that. Still wouldn't trust his priesthood to run my country though. Do you have a link, by any chance?
posted by unreason at 7:35 AM on November 15, 2005


Oh, and to nip this in the bud: yes, I am a total hypocrite for condemning China, and the willingness of democracies to overlook their human rights abuses, while simulatneously living and working in China.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:36 AM on November 15, 2005


No, I don't have a link, because everything about Tibet not comming from Xinhua is fucking blocked. And only an Internet criminal would think that Tibet is anything less than a perfectly legitimate part of China.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2005


The fact that China is hosting the olympics is (further) proof that the IOC (and most of world) doesn't give a flying-fuck about human rights.
This, while not surprising given the current state of mind of the world's richest countries, is much, much scarier than any moronic mascot.
posted by signal at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2005


What unreason said. Most of the articles I've read talking with Tibetans in Tibet suggest that what is wanted is a local cultural autonomy that is neither theocracy, or the PRC. To his credit, I think the Dalai Lama has given up on theocracy, and in some interviews has even stepped back on political autonomy, focusing instead on just cultural preservation.

I don't consider the "not-niceness" of the previous government, to excuse or justify the cultural genocide attempted by the current government.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:38 AM on November 15, 2005


This is going to be another Berlin Olympics. You can just feel it.

I taught a junior high class today, and today's chapter was all about how great the Beijing Olympics are going to be, and how China will show the world just how strong it is. The slogans are everywhere, of course. And no drive to work is complete without seeing the massive facilities being built everywhere.

During the class discussion about the olympics, most of what I heard from the students were the typical jingoistic nationalist sentiment stirred up constantly by the press here.

Although some of my students demonstrate a great deal of independent thought. When I asked about the problems with hosting the Olympics, one student brought up Montreal 1976 as a reason why Beijing shouldn't be hosting the Olympics.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 7:50 AM on November 15, 2005


No, I don't have a link, because everything about Tibet not comming from Xinhua is fucking blocked.

Sorry, I forgot you're behind the Great Firewall of China. I don't doubt your statement, I was just curious to hear what he said.

The fact that China is hosting the olympics is (further) proof that the IOC (and most of world) doesn't give a flying-fuck about human rights.

Not surprising, considering who they gave the olympics to in '36...
posted by unreason at 7:52 AM on November 15, 2005


For what it's worth, I've spent a little time in Tibet, talking to actual Tibetans. They sure think their country was independent before 1950, insofar as modern categories like "independent state" applied anywhere in pre-1950 Asia.

Perhaps Tryptophan-5ht knows better, but it's quite difficult to find a Tibetan who thinks that the pre-Chinese Tibetan government was a tyrannical feudal system. On the contrary, pretty much any Tibetan you talk to in Tibet will tell you they want their Dalai Lama back.

The DL has acknowledged the governments before his weren't great, and they weren't. But I think it's at least worth considering what actual Tibetans think of the question. That information is available, if you care.

It's simply not true that everything we know comes from the exiled Tibetan government. There are plenty of people who've gone to Tibetan and seen for themselves the conditions there today, and plenty of historians who have nothing to do with the govt-in-exile who've looked at the pre-1950 situation.

In any event, doesn't it seem odd to argue that (a) there was no independent Tibetan government before 1950, and (b) the Tibetan government before 1950 was evil?
posted by Polonius at 10:09 AM on November 15, 2005



posted by caution live frogs at 10:29 AM on November 15, 2005


Westerners for the revival of an oppressive feudal theocracy! Man, I need to hire Free Tibet's PR team for my own shit.

--insert overdone typical lesser of two evils argument here
--insert overdone typical if the tibet of the 50s even exists anymore after decades of assilimation

Does anyone really care about Tibet anymore? Taiwan seems to be a much larger issue, not to mention all of Africa, and a good part of the middle east. But those places don't have a lovable media-savvy religious leader with legions of wealthy westerners to promote him and his pet cause on TV, newspapers, and web boards. The Dali Lama is like the Rev. Moon you can feel good about liking.
posted by skallas at 10:33 AM on November 15, 2005


Thanks Polonius. I've heard many people who've been to Tibet say this, and I wanted to reiterate, but I didn't want to just post hearsay.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 10:41 AM on November 15, 2005


[expletive deleted], can you go through proxy servers or get shit via email or does that mean you get arrested and, like, beheaded or what?
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:44 AM on November 15, 2005


On a slightly different tack, one of the criticisms of China's involvement in Tibet has been the environmental devastation that the PRC has apparently wrought.

Thus, the Tibetan Antelope seems to find itself on the endangered list:

Extensive global media coverage during 1999 and 2000 alerted the public to the critical status of the Tibetan antelope (Pantholops hodgsonii). This magnificent animal is being relentlessly hunted for its wool, known as "shahtoosh." Unless consumer demand for shahtoosh can be eliminated, the species may be forced to the brink of extinction.

(which is not necessarily to say that the PRC is wholly responsible)

Wikipedia link here
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:04 PM on November 15, 2005


Everything [expletive deleted] said.
posted by tellurian at 2:08 PM on November 15, 2005


The beaver is Amik from the 1976 Montreal Summer Games.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:16 PM on November 15, 2005


journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: "When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion." (19)

Theocratic despotism had been the rule for generations. An English visitor to Tibet in 1895, Dr. A. L. Waddell, wrote that the Tibetan people were under the "intolerable tyranny of monks" and the devil superstitions they had fashioned to terrorize the people. In 1904 Perceval Landon described the Dalai Lama's rule as "an engine of oppression" and "a barrier to all human improvement." At about that time, another English traveler, Captain W.F.T. O'Connor, observed that "the great landowners and the priests . . . exercise each in their own dominion a despotic power from which there is no appeal," while the people are "oppressed by the most monstrous growth of monasticism and priest-craft the world has ever seen." Tibetan rulers, like those of Europe during the Middle Ages, "forged innumerable weapons of servitude, invented degrading legends and stimulated a spirit of superstition" among the common people. (23)

In 1937, another visitor, Spencer Chapman, wrote, "The Lamaist monk does not spend his time in ministering to the people or educating them, nor do laymen take part in or even attend the monastery services. The beggar beside the road is nothing to the monk. Knowledge is the jealously guarded prerogative of the monasteries and is used to increase their influence and wealth." (24)

link
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:27 PM on November 15, 2005


also, China only really claims suzerainty over Tibet. Tibetans don't pay taxes and can have as many children as they like etc. Think costa rica to the US. Its really not so bad. *

*from my sister in law who has been to Tibet and moved here from mainland china out of disgust with china and communism. It really says something if she will side with China on ANY issue.
posted by Tryptophan-5ht at 4:34 PM on November 15, 2005


Optimus Chyme, I've tried proxies, and they never seem to work. I don't know why. They say they're working, but the sites remain blocked to me. I get errors with any proxy program when I try to reach those sites.

Theocratic despotism had been the rule for generations.

The extent of this is certainly debatable. In any case, I fail to see how China has treated Tibet any better. And whatever the situation of Tibet before "liberation", the treatment Tibetans have been subjected to by the PRC is still disgusting. I would point you to what human rights groups have to say about China and Tibet, but of course, no one in China can see that, or anything about human rights. It may not be a realistic goal given the current situation, but Tibetans and Uighurs, among others, deserve the right to self determination. Fuck the PRC.

ERROR: 2005-11-16 15:27:22
service: Redirect Service (HTTP:81)
target: http://www.amnesty.org/
error: Unable to initiate tunnel.

I'm usually not one to hurl ad hominems, but your sister in law's opinion on the matter sounds suspiciously like the mix of regurgitated propaganda and Han chauvinism I get almost every time I mention Tibet or Xinjiang here.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:42 PM on November 15, 2005


Hey, look, Tibet before 1950 wasn't great in a lot of ways. The monasteries used to fight wars against each other, literally. It was anything but nonviolent, and not particularly peaceful.

But it was at least a meritocracy -- the Chinese propagandists don't generally mention that anyone could become one of these monks that were "oppressing" everybody, and most males spent at least a little time in the monastery. Open-enrollment tyranny, I suppose.

And forgive me, Tryptophan-5ht, if I'm not impressed with what British imperialists thought of Tibetan Buddhism. As I recall, they weren't terribly impressed with indigenous cultures generally. (And isn't this a weird argument for a supposed anti-imperialist like Michael Parenti to make? He's on a quest to demonstrate that "Religions have had a close relationship not only to violence but to economic exploitation," I suppose.)

Sure, it looked exploitative to them -- when I was there, I was rather alarmed at how much money poor Tibetans tended to leave on shrines. To Western eyes, it looks barbaric to give so much money to little statutes of foreign gods. But that's our hang-up, not theirs.

As for your sister-in-law, she's certainly entitled to her opinion. I tend to suspect she didn't wander around on her own much -- in my experience, it never takes long before you're approached by a Tibetan begging for news of the Dalai Lama. (Or the "Dali Lama," his surrealist cousin, per skallas and illovich.)

I tend to base my judgment on the simple fact that so many Tibetans continue to flee Tibet, across terrifying mountain passes at great risk -- if things are so great there, why risk your life? The Indian refugee camps are not great places to live; the thrill of Richard Gere's occasional visits wears off pretty quickly, I promise.

The fact is, some injustices are famous for a reason.
posted by Polonius at 1:53 PM on November 16, 2005


Uh. Can we please get the Olympics in Houston. We could also seriously use a public transportation overhaul. Can we say hurricane evacuation disaster? How can so many people "leaving" not move anywhere?

On a lighter note I think that my favorite olympic sport's mascots are cute:


Caption for image
posted by tamujudo at 7:32 PM on November 16, 2005


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